The Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves wants to debate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the politician recently made comments that the Satanic Temple would not be allowed to participate in a new state chaplain program signed into law last week.

Greaves believes that DeSantis' comments would constitute a form of discrimination that could result in a losing legal battle if the Satanic Temple chose to pursue it. But, while speaking with Fox News Digital, Greaves did go as far as suggesting that he the governor talk it out in a public debate about religious freedom and the Satanic Temple's federally recognized status as a religious organization.

About Florida's New Chaplain Program

The bill, passed last week in Florida and signed into law by DeSantis, allows school districts to adopt a volunteer school chaplain service. As Fox News Digital reports, each school would have the option to allow for a volunteer school chaplain to provide services and programs for students.

Schools that participate would be required to inform all parents of the services being provided and would also require written permission for their children to receive or participate in the services.

What DeSantis Said About the Satanic Temple Participating

When asked about whether or not the Satanic Temple would be allowed to have a representative serve as a public school chaplain, DeSantis commented, "Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program, that, somehow, you're going to have satanists running around in all our schools. We're not playing those games in Florida."

He went on to add, "That is not a religion. That is not qualified to be able to participate in this. So, we're going to be using common sense when it comes to this. You don't have to worry about it."

What the Satanic Temple Thought of DeSantis' Comments

The Satanic Temple, which was officially recognized as a religion by the U.S. government in 2019, let it be known as the bill was making its way through the legislative process that if any of their members were banned from being school chaplains, a legal battle could be brought.

"This should be of significant concern to anybody, regardless of their own religious views,"Greaves said. "Worse, in signing HB 931 into law, the governor simply announced, from the podium at a press conference, that Satanists were to be considered unqualified for the school chaplaincy program while citing no legal theory to support his view."

He went on to suggest that by signing the bill into law, Satanic chaplains would be allowed into schools as the Satanic Temple is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt church.

READ MORE: Satanic Temple Wants to Perform at State Capitol Buildings That Have Hosted Christian Nationalists

"If FL’s Republican administration deliberately excludes the group from the state’s new school chaplain program, that would constitute the kind of discrimination that would likely fail in court," Greaves posted.

Satanic Temple Issues Public Debate Challenge to Gov. DeSantis

So far, the Satanic Temple has not pushed for a legal clarification on their eligibility, but they have challenged Gov. DeSantis to a public debate. Executive director of operations, Rachel Chambliss, sent an invite to the governor to participate in a public debate with Greaves in which they discuss the Satanic Temple federally recognized status as a religious organization.

"In light of Governor DeSantis’ recent remarks concerning our involvement in Florida’s new School Chaplain program, we find ourselves in respectful disagreement," Chambliss wrote. "We believe that a public debate would provide an excellent platform to thoroughly discuss the principles of religious freedom in America."

While Greaves stated that he felt the governor's comments on the Satanic Temple's eligibility to provide services were "erroneous," he also added that he felt the comments were made with political intent.

"If I am correct, and DeSantis is merely engaging in empty grandstanding with a complete disregard for the intelligence of the people of Florida, he will surely ignore this challenge," Greaves added.

This is not the first time Greaves has challenged DeSantis to a public debate. Back in December 2023, Greaves once again challenged the Florida governor after he was critical of the group's recognized status as a tax-exempt religious group.

"I think he knows better," said Greaves to Fox News. "I would be happy to debate him at any point, but I do think he is being a pathetic little coward when he calls us – when he tries to use us as a ploy to appeal to a mob of people who just don’t understand what somebody like him very well should understand and should convey to the public instead of riling up fears and animosity between different people."

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