Oklahoma House Votes to Add Chaplains to Schools, Gaining Support from The Satanic Temple

A story with the headline “Satanic Temple” looks like it might be a break from the grind, you know you are in the midst of a miserable news cycle.

When I wanted to become a priest, I prayed for patients and their families, but the majority of my discussions weren’t spiritual or religious.

People have a lot of time in a hospital to think. The most important thing I did in “ministry” was to listen to their concerns.

This is probably why the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 36, authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-33rd District). It would allow chaplains to work in all public schools in Oklahoma.

Tulsa World reported on Rep. Kevin West (R-54th District), who compared the bill to the practice of having chaplains available for members of the Military.

The bill allows districts to hire or volunteer chaplains who meet certain criteria.

1. A leader of a group such as a minister or rabbi, an imam or cleric, or a lay leader.

2. A Chaplain must have the morals, intellect, and emotions necessary to serve.

3. Students must be allowed to practice their religion freely.

Background check and proselytizing is prohibited.

Rep. Mickey Dollens of the D-93rd District referred to the bill as a way to introduce other ideologies to schools, such as Dominionism or the New Apostolic Reformation.

Rep. John Waldon (D-77th district) said: “The fastest and most effective way to destroy the value of religious freedom in Oklahoma is to cloak it in the coercive power of the state.” History tells us that when you give state power to religion, both of you degrade.

The statement on the Temple’s website stated:

Rachel Chambliss, the executive director of TST Operations, is a federally recognized religion. The Satanic Temple has demonstrated its commitment to religious plurality. TST is willing to adapt to the legislative environment. While we would prefer states to invest in licensed counselors over unlicensed religious help for students, TST will still work with them. “We are committed to offering compassionate guidance to students who visit our office. Listening to them and providing support will allow them to make positive life changes.”

Chambliss highlighted that SB 36 offers an unprecedented opportunity to TST’s Satanic Ministers. She said the bill was endorsed by 54 House Representatives. We expect a large amount of political support to ensure TST Satanic Chaplains are given equal opportunities to participate in this program.

The Satanic Temple has been mentioned frequently in other states when discussing school chaplains. Utah lawmakers rejected a school chaplain’s bill earlier this year due to TST’s involvement. Florida’s Ron DeSantis recently claimed that Satanic Chaplains would be banned from taking part in the new program in his state.

The Temple holds that Satan does not represent a supreme being and that superstition must be separated from religion. It also believes that Satan represents “an eternal rebellion against arbitrary authority.” This is explained in more detail on the FAQ and About pages.

While TST’s choice may not be popular with readers, it is a product of a pluralistic culture, and it has every right to do so. In the last sentence, TST states that the Utah State Legislature rejected a similar bill after the Temple showed interest.