If Gov. Rick Scott is worried about slumping poll numbers, he might take comfort in knowing that his support is growing with at least one demographic.
Satanists “from all over Florida” will gather at the State Capitol on Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. to applaud Scott’s backing of SB 98, according to a news release by a group called The Satanic Temple.
Scott signed the bill in March that allows school districts to create policies allowing students to deliver “inspirational messages” at public events. The bill sparked controversy among groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who said it was wrong to subject students to coercive prayer.
But according to Lucien Greaves, the spokesman for The Satanic Temple, Scott showed courage in signing the bill that now allows all religious groups to spread their message.
“This is not a hoax,” said Greaves, who also goes by “Overlord”. “This is for real.”
He said more than 100 members of his group, clad in black robes, will attend.
“We feel it will be a great satanic coming out,” Greaves said.
Asked if he thought Scott, a staunch Christian conservative, had intended for groups like his to take advantage of the new law, Greaves replied: “We take him at his word. It promotes religious freedom of all types.”
Greaves, 30, lives in Cambridge, Mass. He wouldn’t say what he does.
“I’m kind of nervous,” Greaves said. “I’m not sure what the reaction to this would be.”
Asked how he heard about the Florida law, he said it was brought to his attention by the founder of The Satanic Temple, Neil Bricke, who lives in New York City. Asked how Bricke knew about it, Greaves said he would try to reach him.
In a news release, Bricke is quoted as saying: “The Satanic Temple embraces the free expression of religion, and 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.”
Greaves said the group was formed last year and seeks to raise awareness of “their compassion-based religion, which has traditionally been grossly misunderstood and maligned.”
It doesn’t counter Christianity, Greaves said. Rather, the Temple believes God created Satan to preside over the universe as “his proxy.” For those who are curious, here’s the website: www.thesatanictemple.com.
Greaves wouldn’t say how many members The Satanic Temple has.
But he did say “we have a lot of members down there.”
And by “down there”, Greaves said when asked, he meant Florida.