Satanists plan rally in support of Florida governor
The Satanic Temple is planning a rally outside of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office to support his bill allowing students to pray at school events.
Senate Bill 98 gives students “sole discretion in determining whether an inspirational message is to be delivered” at a school assembly — including religious prayers. Scott has long advocated for students to be able to pray at school events, but he wasn’t expecting Satanists to jump on the opportunity.
To celebrate the governor’s signing of the bill, Satanists will rally outside of his office on Jan. 25 to show their support for Scott’s decision, as well as to promote their own beliefs.
“You don’t build up your membership unless people know about you,” Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told the Palm Beach Post. “So this allows us to get our message out in public. We’re hoping it will reduce the stigmatism.”
Neil Bricke, founder of the Satanic Temple, will travel from his home in New York to Florida to speak at the rally.
“New York is a pretty good place for Satanism. Florida is too,” Greaves told ABC News. Currently, the Satanic Temple is “more or less an online community”, but its members are trying to bring their places of worship to US cities.
“Though we have far to go before public education leads to a mainstream embrace of our Satanic religion, we feel that our own public ‘coming out’ will go a long way toward raising the consciousness of the populace … and the social environment has never yet been better prepared for the welcoming of the Satanic era.”
Gov. Scott is an evangelical Christian who supports prayer in schools and has therefore always supported Senate Bill 98, which was sponsored by Sen. Gary Siplin. The bill was subject of heated opposition in early 2012, with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League and Americans United claiming it would alienate students whose religions are in the minority.
Gov. Scott did not expect the Satanic minority to publicly thank him for the legislation and hold a rally outside of his office, but told ABC News that every group has a right to express themselves.
The Satanic Temple does not know how many people will attend the Jan. 25 rally, since most of its followers have expressed online interest and could be located anywhere in the world. But one thing is clear: they want the Republican governor to know the effect the new legislation is having on their community.
“Satanists are happy to show their support of Rick Scott who — particularly with SB 98 — has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school,” the Temple said in a press release announcing the rally.