A new Florida law could make some religions feel unwelcome, and things might get messy. 

What’s a religion?

It’s a question we have to deal with a lot, and one that Florida state officials are contending with right now… and it isn’t going well.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed on Thursday a bill that would allow religious chaplains to volunteer their counseling and support services to children in public schools. The effort is one that has already been enacted, controversially, in places like Texas. There are currently 13 other states with similar bills awaiting passage, including:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah

Supporters of these controversial school chaplain bills cite epidemics of mental health problems like anxiety and depression among young people as reasons why all hands – even overtly religious ones – need to be put to work. One of the primary groups championing this effort is the National School Chaplain Association (NSCA) – which itself is a subsidiary of a group called “Mission Generation”.

On its website, NSCA describes itself as a ‘Christian chaplain ministry,’ and one video posted by Mission Generation asserts that “there is a fantastic opportunity to bring God’s word to millions of children through public and private schools,” arguing that schools are “the largest network of children on the planet.”

Gov. DeSantis, for his part, believes that “There [are] some students who need some soulcraft, and that can make all the difference in the world.”

Should Clergy Be Counseling Kids?

However, many are opposed to the efforts to insert religious chaplains into public school environments, including groups like the ACLU (who have sued over the issue), and even groups of religious leaders who acknowledge that their peers are not qualified to provide these services. 

While in Texas, these chaplains are required to pass a background check, there are no requirements there – or in many of the other school chaplain bills – that would require these volunteers to meet any of the educational or mental health training standards of school counselors.

The Florida bill similarly requires background checks. It also requires that a parent consent to the chaplain meeting with their child prior to that meeting taking place. It also does not require school districts to adopt the program allowing chaplain volunteers, but does allow them to make the decision to create these programs within their own districts.

Minority Religions Fight Back

That isn’t enough for some folks, though, who fear that the effort is a thinly veiled one to insert Christianity into public education. 

Already, Satanic activists have pledged that they will insert their ministers into schools as a form of protest against the minister. Gov. DeSantis pledged during a press conference at the bill’s signing that he would block these efforts. 

“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, he said. “We aren’t playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion. That is not qualifying to be able to participate in this.”

Not all Florida leaders are on the same page on this issue. One state senator, Erin Grall (who sponsored the bill) has already indicated her concern that the road the Governor seems to be taking here is one that will lead to issues.

“...as soon as we get in the middle of defining what is religion and what is not, and whether or not someone can be available to be on a list, we start to run into constitutional problems.”  

It should be noted that, much like the Universal Life Church, the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Catholic Church, and the Lutheran Church, the Satanic Church is a recognized religion under the First Amendment of the Constitution. 

In fact, several ordained Universal Life Church ministers in Florida have also openly offered to provide their services in Florida’s schools.

It remains unclear how the governor plan to block ministers of whom they don’t approve, which could include Satanic ministers, ULC ministers, or ministers of any other religious denomination that he does not consider a religion… but it will almost certainly result in an enormous Constitutional battle.  

What is your reaction? 

147 comments

  1. Chris's Avatar Chris

    One more example of the Evangelical coalition ignoring the First Amendment to push their agenda on the rest of us. They apparently don't even know what the religion they claim to follow actually teaches. They simply use it as a weapon to control people they don't like.

    1. Michele Bloomquist's Avatar Michele Bloomquist

      If clergy are volunteering their services it is up to the individuals to seek or reject their offer. I don’t see this as an attempt to control anyone. It is simply an offer to help if one chooses to take advantage of it.

      1. Chris's Avatar Chris

        If clergy is volunteering to speak to children, that's fine. It's not forcing the children to speak to the clergy. When the state determines who is and who is not allowed to speak to children regardless of qualifications it becomes a problem. I would not want someone from an opposite belief from me proselytizing to my children, and certainly wouldn't want my children being made to listen to them. And that is what Florida is wanting to do.

        I don't believe any religion has any place in public school. Certainly not mandated. However, I will be curious to see which clergy is allowed to be available. Will it be a broad spectrum of beliefs or will it be only one religion, with all others being excluded?

        1. Zekester's Avatar Zekester

          One problem with that. Children are young and impressionable. They're taught to listen to and respect adults. They don't know who and who not to listen to. The nature of Christianity is proselytizing everyone they come in contact with. Therefore, it stands to reason these "counselors" are going to be proselytizing children. Possibly without knowledge or consent of their parents. Just saying......

          1. Chris's Avatar Chris

            Which is why I'm not in favor of this. I don't trust DeSantis, I don't trust the evangelicals, I don't trust anyone who believes they have the right o force their beliefs onto others.

            1. Starlet D Bowles's Avatar Starlet D Bowles

              But with what I replied to I do not believe anyone should push any belief system on children. So this could be a sticky situation,like you said you don't trust Desantis ,I don't either.

        2. Starlet D Bowles's Avatar Starlet D Bowles

          I am curious as well Chris, I now live in Florida and moved here from Ohio, my child is now 26 years old and I have no grandchildren. I would like to add I was abused severely by my ex husband and another person I was with abused me both raped me. This has been over 27 years ago. I was also molested when I was very young by my mother's son ( I never call him a sibling or say his name) For a very long time I have been wanting to be an ear to listen to kids and adults. It took me over 7 years to leave the toxic relationship and the main reason was because I had a child & promised myself & my new born son I would never ever go back to that lifestyle. Then that it,I never went back. Well he never even once bought him even a birthday card or anything. For that reason when my husband and I got married in 2002 that I'm still happily married to went to court & our son has his and my last name legally. Our son knows everything and has his own mind & it has always been up to him to call him Dad. For all these reasons I believe I could help and even if I could help 1 male or female leave or never get into a toxic relationship then I would be happy. Thank you for reading my story. Sorry it was so long,but I wanted to say I hope any religion which I rather call spirituality can go to a school and help

      2. Bond Wright's Avatar Bond Wright

        Ms. Bloomquist: With all due respect.....Nonsense. If that were true then there would be democractically offered all religions counselors: pagan, moslem, jewish, etc. etc.). This is specifically Christian. Christianity has a long, long history of an agenda to shove this religion down the throats of others--including murder. All one has to do is look it up. This violates our Constitution--plain and simple--and should not be supported. Our children are not fodder for your brainwashing.

    2. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

      They don't even realize what they are doing. They have all drank from the wine of Babylon and wonder after the beast. That is why we are told Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. This is when this nation through her laws makes an image to the first beast.

    3. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Says WHO? Its not a requirement they are a volunteer group. Makes no difference if there is a death of a co-worker or as just recently happened a third grader was crushed by a truck and chaplains and grief councillors were brought into the school for the classmates.

      And you have a problem with that? I noticed you tried to use the 1st Amendment which clearly does not say ANYTHING about your mythical separation of church and state.

      1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

        Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the "separation of church and state." However, some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of "blue laws" is not prohibited. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person's practice of their religion.The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It prohibits any laws that establish a national religion, impede the free exercise of religion, abridge the freedom of speech, infringe upon the freedom of the press, interfere with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibit citizens from petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted into the Bill of Rights in 1791. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Ok hows about you EDUCATE yourself. The Constitution was ratified in 1787. The very FIRST mention of this myth of yours was 15 years later in 1802. By then the ONLY way you could add or remove something from the Constitution is by a constitutional amendment, NOT be a stupid letter from the President to his baptist detractors in New England. As such there is NO such thing as Separation of Church and State.

          Now the SCOTUS can say what they want but under Article 3 (powers of the Judiciary) it does not and never has given the courts the ability nor authority to interpret anything and the 10th Amendment clearly states that unless an authority or power has been SPECIFICALLY granted to the Government or the Courts then they do not have it and never have had it. So their decision on this matter is worth about as much constitutionally as a bucket of warm spit!

          And the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with this nor can it be used as a defense as none of these issues you try and claim are "rights" nor privileges. and this argument has been shot down by the SCOTUS in the Newdow decisions. And that was in 2003 WELL before the court started leaning to the right.

          You really should know what you are talking about BEFORE you start talking

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            Again, Daniel, your ability to LOUDLY proclaim things to be true or factually does not make them so.

            We've gone over this so many times but you still can't seem to understand the meaning of the First Amendment and what it provides Americans, in particular the free exercise of religion and the prevention of laws that would promote one religion over the other which provides for the separation of church and state, or the job of a Judge, which is to interpret the law and apply it to cases brought before them.

            You don't know what you're talking about so please just do us all a favor and stop talking.

            1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              How can I not be truthful when I have taken all of this from the Constitution and federal law. I guess you seem to have a problem with the Constitution and Federal law and education or else you would not be complaining now then would you

      2. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

        If it is not made mandatory and other council is offered with them then fine. Educational buildings are government buildings so as long as it isn't something that is paid by the school system or forced upon the student body then I have no objection as long as other options are also offered equally. To avoid conflict though it would be a lot wiser to let people know what local churches have grief counseling and give them a choice on going if they wish.

        1. Bond Wright's Avatar Bond Wright

          Ms. Fry: What do you think are the chances that Pagan counselling will be offered in the spirit of fairness?

      3. Zekester's Avatar Zekester

        "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" copied and pasted from the US Constitution

      4. Chris's Avatar Chris

        Danny, I never said anything about separation of church and state. You're putting words in my mouth to give yourself something to argue against. I specified the 1st Amendment because it states that the government cannot show preference to any one religion over another, nor can it prohibit the free exercise of any religion. By putting religious clergy, quite possibly unqualified for the task, in positions of "guidance," in public schools they are promoting one specific religion. I would be willing to bet no Pagan clergy, not Satanic Temple clergy, no Muslim clergy will be allowed a post. I know I certainly wouldn't wany my children being forced to listen to some religious extremist put in position by an extremist government. I don't care what the religion is. It has no place in public schools.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          And if you had bothered to read my post you would know it was not speaking to so. So why are you so upset?

      5. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

        Comment removed by user.

  1. Timothy C Stone's Avatar Timothy C Stone

    This one is pretty easy. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! If parents think their children need religious counseling take them to church.

  1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

    And let's send public school sport coaches into churches to advise parishioners!

    1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      Counselors from the LGBT+ churches are a good source of ministers and deacons for the schools. How much is the pay per student?

  1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

    Florida is becoming more and more of a rogue state due to Herr Rick "Diablo" DeSantis, who thinks that he can ignore the parts of U.S. Constitution that he doesn't like. Maybe it's time to start pulling federal monies out of the Evangelical Homophobic Kingdom of Florida.

    1. Lion on the Beach's Avatar Lion on the Beach

      Always amazed at people who don't reside in the state of Florida always seem to go to the "Herr" card when discussing the Govenor and threaten monetary exclusions. Your anger limits your future learning capacity on so many levels.

      1. Chadandy's Avatar Chadandy

        Government and political leaders in Florida, like Texas, both overwhelmingly Republican-controlled, publicly rail against “socialist tax and spend” programs while receiving more in federal funding than they pay in taxes. It is the socialist bent to the federalist system that affords their survival. So there is obviously no need for an American to reside in Florida for one to have the right to criticize their policies of state power and control.

        1. Warren Calvin Wall's Avatar Warren Calvin Wall

          It's kind of like television. If you don't like what's on, change the channel. If you don't like the politics in Florida, don't move there. Simple. 🤷‍♂️

          1. Fredrick B Neidhardt's Avatar Fredrick B Neidhardt

            And for those of us that already reside in Florida and don't like to see theocratic rule? Should we simply move away? Why? Why should we taxpayers have to leave our state when some clown in office thinks he knows better? Are you advocating that anything the governor says is fine? If people don't like it, just don't live there?

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    I am opposed to anyone but trained school counselors to counsel children. If a religious person is willing to be trained and certified then their beliefs should not enter into it.

    As to De Santis, he is another problem that Florida needs to solve.

    1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

      Where do you find a trained counsellor??????? We got one for our daughter when she was speaking of taking her life. Her assessment to us is that we should allow her to do whatever she wants and not interfere.

      1. Mark Edwin Johnson's Avatar Mark Edwin Johnson

        Please continue to seek help for your daughter.

      2. Herb Kopper's Avatar Herb Kopper

        If I can help with your daughter feel free to reach out. I am a father of 4 a granddad, an old marine. Scout master for years and background checked as a sub at the local schools. Children are confused, not hopeless. I don't believe if assisted a you boy or girl should feel there is no future.

  1. Elizabeth D'Onofrio Halladay's Avatar Elizabeth D'Onofrio Halladay

    When will he stop? Florida now has a dictator. He banned books, he took away women's rights to choose, he fights with Disney over the Don't say Gay law, and he won't let teachers teach real history if it has to do with slavery, or anything that he and his cronies want to turn a blind's eye to. He says he's for Israel, but he doesn't agree with their religion. Now, he wants the history of communism to be taught in schools. This has to backfire on him. Our children will realize that they also live under a dictator here in Florida. Also, how do we know that these religious leaders can be trusted with our children? So many have sexually abused them. Just another reason to home school. Teachers are leaving the state in drones, and there is a shortage now. I personally can't wait for him to term out.

    1. Jeanette A Jacobs's Avatar Jeanette A Jacobs

      Governor DeSantis is trying to keep religion in Florida like it always was. I live in Florida and I'm so proud to have a governor that wants to keep the people and our state safe

      1. James Hage's Avatar James Hage

        Bless your heart,. As we say in the south. Ron Desantis might want to read his Bible as all his actions are based on Greed, hatred and a lust for power far above his capabilities. He is using religion as a tool.‘. Look at how he treats immigrants. It is 100% contrary to what the Bible would call him to do. Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

    2. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

      I live in Florida. Your comments have some truth in them. Maybe 10%, but some truth nonetheless. I wish you well in finding your way.

    3. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      I'll bet pound for pound you'll catch more teachers and coaches in the sack with kids than preachers.
      It's really a human condition though. Anywhere you find children you'll find perverts and sickos. My gym coach couldn't keep his eyes off the boys when we showered. We didn't have shower stalls, just a big open shower room.
      Needless to say, mom kept busy writing excuses for me to get out of gym class and the shower. I always had poison ivy during wrestling season, never wrestled a single kid, not once ever. Thanks mom!

      Bad coach! Bad!

    4. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      When he either gets pushed out through public actions or gets voted out. Check with your local government to see what actions the people have to insist a governor is removed sooner rather than voted out. Some states have legal processes that if enough people sign on they can be removed but a fair chunk of people have to be made aware and have to figure out how to work together to get it done.

  1. Dr. Darryl G Dykes's Avatar Dr. Darryl G Dykes

    Counseling? This word needs to be defined. Counseling students without religious beliefs being added (unless the students specifically ask for religious counsel). Religious leaders can be effective counselors with compassion and understanding of students feelings.
    The church and non believers can take counsel from one another

    1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

      The point is to bring back the wall between church and state. Secular counselors belong in public schools, and religious counselors in privately paid for religious schools. Why is that so hard for people to understand? That's how it worked when I grew up, and it worked perfectly fine. You have Jewish and Muslim kids (among others) in public schools, and you want a Christian counselor in there, insinuating that there's something wrong with those kids because they don't worship Jesus Christ as God? We know that's exactly what will occur. It's inevitable. Not in all cases, but it will occur.

      1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

        Sad or hopeful depends on how you look at it, that will not happen. The bible says that separation will be gone! Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

      2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Never was a separation of church and state and never will be unless voted on by congress in a constitutional amendment

        1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

          The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It prohibits any laws that establish a national religion, impede the free exercise of religion, abridge the freedom of speech, infringe upon the freedom of the press, interfere with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibit citizens from petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted into the Bill of Rights in 1791. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.

        2. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

          Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the "separation of church and state." However, some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of "blue laws" is not prohibited.

          1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

            Yes, but it also prohibits religion from gaining footing in government so that no one religion can decide laws for everyone based on that one religion. People forget this part of it which is why there is a religious struggle in congress right now as well.

          2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            Already shot that argument so full of holes that it makes swiss cheese jealous Michael and used the actual constitution to do it

            1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

              Narrator: "No, he didn't"

    2. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

      Darryl -

      "Counseling...the word needs to be defined." Seriously? No, I think not. The word doesn't mean what you want it to mean. Counseling means "to provide guidance to". Without a modifying adjective like "spiritual" preceding the word, I would say that the meaning of "counseling" is pretty damn clear.

      Get a dictionary, and learn how to use it. You don't get to arbitrarily redefine words to suit your convenience, Mr. Orwell.

      Oh, and give my regards to your fellow pigs at the Animal Farm.

    3. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      Do you believe in a Dominionist Theocracy?

  1. Michael Holland's Avatar Michael Holland

    I'd like to know what education these so called counselors have obtained to be able to counsel children. Just because you are affiliated with some church or religious organization doesnt give you the ability or knowledge to be able to counsel anyone!

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    Not in publicly funded schools. It would unconstitutional.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      says who? SCOTUS in this case? Really? Show where in Article 3 where they have the right to "interpret" anything...it does not and never has existed. And then look at the 10th Amendment where it clearly states that "if the government was not SPECIFICALLY granted an authority in the Constitution then they do not have it and never have had it"

      Game set and match, you lose.

      1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

        We all loose when a belief system is imposed on a civil population regardless if it is national or state.

      2. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        A judge's job description is literally to interpret the law and apply it to cases. Game, set, match, you lose again.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Again SHOW US WHERE in Article 3 that the Constitution says that ANY justice has that authority. It does not so how can you claim an authority or power that does not exist and you were never granted?

          Game set and match you lose yet again

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            Okay so where in Article 3 of the Constitution does it say that ANY justice has the authority to decide cases? All that article 3 states is that judicial Power is vested in the Supreme Court and it's lower courts and that it should extend that Power over various types of cases. It doesn't say anything about ruling on cases and those rulings being legal precedent yet you're happy to reference any SCOTUS decision you think supports your beliefs.

            Maybe that doesn't need to be explicitly outlined in the constitution because intelligent people understand that those powers are part of being a Judge. A judge interprets laws and applies them to cases and then rules on the case.

            If you still can't comprehend that, Daniel, maybe you should go back to school.

            1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              Guess you refuse to read the constitution as it clearly states in Article 3 Section 1 that ALL Judicial power is set in the Supreme Court and lower courts from time to time. At NO TIME does it say that they have the authority to interpret anything.

              Section 1

              The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

              Section 2

              The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

              In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

              The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

              Section 3

              Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

              The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

              maybe you should take your own advice and schedule yourself to go back to school starting at 1st Grade?

              1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

                And where in there does it say SCOTUS can decide on cases? It doesn't. Yet because intelligent people understand what a judge's job is, we understand that judges interpret the law and apply it to cases.

              2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Um sorry child but in Article 3 (which you clearly have not bothered to read) It clearly states and I quote

                "Section 1 of Article Three vests the judicial power of the United States in "one supreme Court", as well as "inferior courts" established by Congress."

                Which clearly means to anyone with any sense that the SCOTUS is the one who has judicial authority. And at no time in the Judiciary branch/amendment does it give them the power or authority to "interpret" anything.

                I really think you should go back to school and retake your government classes all over again as you clearly failed the first time.

  1. Burruss Scott Williams's Avatar Burruss Scott Williams

    Who benefits, the students or the religious organization? The comment, "“there is a fantastic opportunity to bring God’s word to millions of children through public and private schools" sound preditory, almost grooming, to me. As a former teacher I was a mandated reporter, I was required to contact the "authorites" if I suspected a situation that may be a threat to the student. Will these religious counselors be required to report?

  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    make a law that clearly states that religion can not and can never be used anywhere, anytime in any place other than the legally registered 'house of worship' in which they perform their superstitions.

    no street panhandling, proselytizing, outreach, meals, clothing, nothing. all religion has to be keep strictly within the building they claim as their church.

    let's get these people off of the street and out of the public's view; out of government, out of schools. it's time to reject the cristo-fascist agenda once and for all

    1. Carolyn S. Madera's Avatar Carolyn S. Madera

      Rev? DR? Father? get off here & get back in your church then, according to your own words.

      1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

        you make no sense

      2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

        Well, Carolyn S. Madera, I vehemently disagree with the opinions expressed here by "Rev. Dr. Father JJ," but I also disagree with you when you tell him to "get back in your church then," implying that this flows logically from what he said.

        This blog is on "The Monastery," which clearly qualifies as a place for religious activity, even if it isn't a "legally registered 'house of worship,'" whatever that might be. "Rev. Dr. Father JJ" doesn't seem to know much about the evolution of churches. Christianity, for example, was first practiced in people's homes... not in the huge "mega-cathedrals" we see today.

  1. Michael Hall's Avatar Michael Hall

    Good on the Satanists, who, if they are Church of Satan parishoners, are atheists, and if they are self-identified Satanists, are simply in a Christian sect. There's no question that we are seeing a huge spike in mental illness. Imaginary sky daddies aren't going to change anything about the situation. Proper counseling might.

    1. Amy Minckler's Avatar Amy Minckler

      People tend to get upset when I mention that, as satan/the devil are christian concepts, that it makes it a christian based denomination just like cathloic, methodist etc.

      1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

        I suppose that would be true, Amy Minckler and Michael Hall, if you got to define the religious beliefs of Satanists.

        But you do not!

        The Satanic Temple, for example, is a non-theistic religion, that explicitly states that it does not believe in any god or supernatural figure, including Satan. TST does not "worship" anything, with the possible exception of rationality. The fifth of the Seven Fundamental Tenets of The Satanic Temple is "Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs."

        TST sees Satan as a literary figure, as presented in John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and other romantic era books. Most Satanists are much more aware that Satan was an invention of Christianity than are most Christians. They are much more likely to have carefully read "the bible" than are most Christians, so many know that the Hebrew scriptures only barely mention Satan or hell, usually in very ambiguous ways.

  1. Stanley Taubman's Avatar Stanley Taubman

    Evangelism (promotion, recruitment, deity centered) is incompatible with core principles of professional counseling (nonjudgmental acceptance, self-determination, person centered). Evangelical clergy can act as if they are behavioral health counselors in schools but they can’t be behavioral counselors in schools.

  1. John W's Avatar John W

    Fully understanding the need for counseling in some youth and adult populations who are having issues dealing with various life issues from youth related growing and adjustment issues to grief counseling and marital / family counseling matters to name a few, these sessions should be kept free of the religious bias of the counselors' beliefs. I personally feel that persons providing mental health and other areas of counseling should be properly trained in the various aspects of actual counseling as opposed to just being ordained by a particular church and thinking that your title qualifies you to provide adequate and substantial positive counseling to those in need. Counseling advice if done improperly is just as dangerous as if no counseling was done at all. I have witnessed it all too many times in the years I was in the military both in peacetime and in combat situations in addition to experiencing biased based counseling in both the civilian and military sectors in my own life. Some may not like what I have posted, but this has been my actual life experience. In a religious setting as in life, one can be a listener of a person's problems and that, is all that some people need to receive in that they need an ear to listen to them or a friendly person to talk to to help them. But for more serious issues, professionally trained individuals are needed, imo.

  1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

    The public school my kids go to already does this. The church has a building on land adjacent to the school. Kids can elect to go get bible lessons or talk to the preacher. Having access to good sound time tested wisdom is crucial for a child's development.

    The school so far hasn't been touched by the woke hive mind. They never shut down during covid beyond the initial panic. Class resumed in the fall and masks were dropped as soon as they could be. Their development wasn't hindered in the slightest.

    When they play football everyone stands for that beautiful red white and blue as the veterans raise her. I personally don't like football but it's kinda nice to see kids being taught to respect the flag so many men and women give their life for.

    It's a good thing while it lasts. Thank God for Jesus and thank God for smart school board members.

    1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

      Keep your god away from my children.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        and keep your unconstitutional statements out of rational dicussions

        1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

          Only if you do the same.

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            You started it I am reply to you using the Constitution, I and no one else knows where you are obtaining your error filled information from

            1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

              "Keep your god away from my children."

              Please tell the class what is unconstitutional about that statement?

              1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Carson v. Makin US Supreme Court, where they told maine that they could not refuse to give federal tax nor state tax monies to religious schools.

                Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) where the SCOTUS yet AGAIN said that it was unconstitutional for a government to force one religion on children.

                https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html where the Department of Education has rules that clearly say that while a teacher cannot lead a prayer or religious service, that does not mean that they leave their 1st Amendment rights at the front door.

                lets not forget that the Washington State football coach was not only given his job back and made whole (meaning all raises and benefits and promotions that he would have received anyway) but the SCOTUS ALREADY warned that school district and the state NOT to ever try this again.

                And Cantwell v Conn which makes it a federal felony for a state to bar religious actions in a school

                Or Wisconsin v Yoder where the SCOTUS said that you cant force the Amish to send their kids to school after the age of 14 as that would violate their religion

                Employment Division v Smith

                The Religious Freedom Restoration Act 1993

                Burwell v Hobby Lobby where SCOTUS said that Hobby Lobby CAN fire someone for not following the companys religious policy

                I can go on and on and on and continue showing you that your belief is nothing more then your belief and is not based in fat or reality, so if you wish all you need to do is ask for more

              2. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

                You just provided SCOTUS cases where they found that the government cannot force a religion on children.

                None of the cases you provided supports your belief that "Keep your god away from my children" is an unconstitutional statement, because it's not.

              3. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Ok since you asked to be embarrassed

                https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/21-418_i425.pdf

                https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-1088_dbfi.pdf

                https://www.oyez.org/cases/1961/468 in this case the SCOTUS stated the student could not be forced to recite a state issued prayer, BUT they DID rule that a Student could do a prayer on their own.

                In carson v mankin the SCOTUS ruled that state MUST give the same public monies to private and religious schools as they do public schools.

                Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) IN which yet again, the teacher cannot start a prayer in the classroom, BUT the student can recite a prayer if they so choose and do it on their own

                And you want more? ok the 1983 decision Mueller v Allen

                1985 Augilar v Fenton

                1985 Grand Rapids v Ball

                1986 Witters v Washington State Department for the Blind

                1993 Zobrest v Catilina

                2000 Mitchel v Helms

                2020 Espinoza v Montana Dept of Revenue

                And this is just a very small serving of SCOTUS decisions that refute your view. So are you embarrassed enough or do you want more decisions?

    2. Chadandy's Avatar Chadandy

      Absolutely nobody served or died for a flag. Setting aside for the moment that most Americans who serve in the military cite economic reasons for enlisting, we fight to protect American democratic ideals, one of which, according to our own Founding Fathers, was that the Church ought not be involved in the public sphere. It is exhausting listening to ignorant conservatives talk about what our Founding Fathers meant while ignoring their actual writings.

      1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

        I did Chad, now what?

      2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        Chad, I think you might have that backwards. The government was not to be involved in church (religious) matters not that religion has no place in public (government) matters. To wit, the second paragraph of the declaration of Independence reads "[w]e hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ...." This a religious idea that informed the writer(s) of the document. Clearly a case where the church was involved in the public sphere.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Can witches council in schools? If not, then we can't allow this.

    1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

      Agreed, M.M.

      And what about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc.? Which god, which religion? Maybe one "counselor" from each religion, sect, cult and coven for a balanced opinion? An auditorium full of counselors! Pick your fave!

      (then go to class and learn to spell)

  1. Nathaniel Joseph Merritt's Avatar Nathaniel Joseph Merritt

    I get so got-damned tired of fundiots and their underhanded unconstitutional ways that I don't know if I should ship or scream.

    1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

      I have no idea what you're talking about. Could you clarify, please?

  1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

    If a preacher wants to be a counselor, under this new Florida law, they don't need to meet any of the requirements that non-preachers need to meet. If the current law that spells out the requirements for counselors has no merit, why does it now and why did it ever exist? What was the original reasoning as to why they needed to meet these requirements and what is the reasoning as to why one group of people (church affiliated) don't need to meet any of these requirements? That has not been answered and it will probably not be addressed.

    To become a school counselor in Florida, you need to meet the following requirements (unless your come from certain religious communities under the new law. Then all you need is a background check.)

    1. Education: You need to have a master’s or higher degree with a graduate major in guidance and counseling or school counseling¹⁴.
    2. Internship: Your education must include a minimum of six-hundred (600) clock hours of supervised internship serving school-aged students in a prekindergarten, an elementary, or a secondary school setting¹.
    3. Additional Coursework (Plan Two): If your graduate major is in counseling other than guidance and counseling or school counseling, you need at least nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit to include areas such as student appraisal and evaluation methods, college and career planning, principles of a comprehensive school counseling program, and consultation skills¹.
    4. Mentorship (Plan Two): If you're using Plan Two, you need to submit verification from the employing school district that a school counselor with a state-issued professional certificate will be assigned as your mentor during the first two (2) years of employment as a school counselor¹.
    5. Certification Exam: You need to pass the Florida State Certification Examination for School Counselors⁴.

    Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/23/2024 (1) 6A-4.0181. https://www.fldoe.org/teaching/certification/certificate-subjects/administrative-rules/6a-4-0181.stml. (2) Florida School Counselor Certification | Counselor Education | USF. https://www.usf.edu/education/areas-of-study/counselor-education/programs/master-of-arts/florida-school-counselor-certification.aspx. (3) 6A-5.079, Florida School Counseling Standards. - Florida Department of .... https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/20602/urlt/8-2.pdf. (4) 6A-4.0181. https://bing.com/search?q=requirements+to+be+a+school+counselor+in+Florida. (5) Florida Counseling License Requirements - Counseling Degree Guide. https://www.counselingdegreeguide.org/licensure/florida/.

    1. Takaya Kovani Sweeney's Avatar Takaya Kovani Sweeney

      They won’t do this mainly because of those background checks.

      Could you imagine? The majority of those clergy are child rapists and predators.

      Background checks are completely out of the question when putting the wolf in the henhouse.

      Background checks…😂😂 I’d pay good money for that to happen.

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    We keep hearing complaints about there not enough mental health care available for people. Yet let someone try to find mental healthcare that is free, it is impossible.
    I worked EMS for many years and saw all types of evil and bad things. The problem was trying to deal with all the kids I ran on and the stuff I saw with children. It was weighing very heavy on me and I tried to find a counselor to talk with as it was eating me up.
    I never made much money in my chosen field, certainly not enough to pay for mental health services.
    I finally reached out to a church. The pastor let me sit down with him, we shared coffee and he let me talk, be angry, cry at all I have seen involving children. There was no charge, it was free and he helped me see that it was just I had a loving and caring heart. There was no preaching, no pushing religion, no pushing God, etc.
    If we can provide mental healthcare for people be it children or adults for free, then let’s provide it.

    1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Many pastors have advanced degrees--typically masters degrees in divinity--though many do not. It sounds like you got lucky, in that you found yourself talking with a pastor who didn't preach or push religion. That is anathema to many churches, since many teach that proselytizing is a necessary part of their faith.

      Very few pastors have professional training in mental health. In fact, many pastors don't even have professional training in ministry.

      None of this is pertinent to this discussion, though, since the Florida chaplain law does not require that "chaplains" have any training at all. We are not talking about "pastors" here. We are talking about any adult who can pass a background check.

      There is no reason to think that such untrained volunteers will help to solve the mental health crisis of which Governor DeSantis speaks. There is an excellent chance they might make it worse, though.

    2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Steven, thank you for sharing your story with us. I too have had wonderful experiences with pastors who helped me without preaching. In the Army when I decided to be completely honest about who I was, though I knew and was outed in high schools but remained conflicted, I sat down with my chaplain who asked me straight away if I wanted to try to change or hide who I was or if I wanted to live the best life I could as my true self. I chose the latter, and he helped me more than I can adequately express. He was a wonderful man. Thus I was as prepared as I could be when the Army under Ronald Reagan went on a witch hunt to oust gays from the military. I still thank God for my chaplain.

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    So for those STILL convinced that the Alt-Right Evangelicals aren't trying to turn this into a Religious Theocracy, not a free nation, if your religion is suddenly deemed "Not a religion" then what?

    Are you going to accept it? And as more religions get deemed "illegal" then what?

    This is the path toward religious authoritarianism, not a free nation following the 1st Amendment.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    This is interesting. It would give access to students to receive pastoral counseling which would be acceptable to the child's parents. Many parents do not agree with the type of counseling students are receiving now, that is if they can even get counseling given the dearth of counselors. I understand Gov. De Santis's concern that some persons might be motivated by less than pure reasons. The kids don't need reactionary factions just going in as some sort of protest as that is not a good motive. Pastoral counseling could help to provide or improve a child's sense of self-worth. Not every issue experienced by a child is a psychological issue requiring a psychiatrist. Some might simply need some spiritual guidance that agrees with their family's values. I wonder what the results are thus far in states that have tried this approach. I think states or country's already do decide which religions will be recognized by the law, at least the IRS does for tax purposes. It seems the ultimate decision here though is not the state but the parents. It might be worth trying.

    1. Chadandy's Avatar Chadandy

      What you’re arguing here is that we should give in to folks (parents or otherwise) who refuse to accept the existence of the scientific method of research and its guidance of practice. Professional counseling evolves as we learn more about psychology and behavioral patterns; pastoral counselling is based on millennia-old texts that have been largely disproven, and contain at least as many contradictions as they do points of clarity. Furthermore, pastors have no ethical guidelines preventing them from engaging in religious abuse, like telling a kid that being LGBTQ or simply not accepting that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior is going to result in them burning in the eternal fires of Hell. As for the IRS deciding which religions count as religions, IRS policies do not equate with law and are not necessarily recognized by other divisions of the federal government, let alone the states. There would be sound legal argument for hiring counselors who practice Christian Counselling to enter the schools (many are already there), but the very concept of letting the state send selected religious clerics into public schools comprised of diverse students is abhorrent to the very ideals of American democracy, and defies Constitutional law.

    2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      "Pastoral Counseling," Chad Andrew Craig, is an academic field of study, in which one can earn masters or doctoral degrees. That is not what we are talking about here. In fact, the Florida law includes NO ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS to be a "chaplain." All one must do it pass a criminal background check and be at least 18 years old. It does not even require association with a church.

      You said that " Pastoral counseling could help to provide or improve a child's sense of self-worth." That is true. On the other hand, it could teach a child that he was born a sinner and will burn in hell for eternity if he doesn't toe the line of the "pastoral counselor's" particular faith tradition.

  1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

    Just as a "rising tide floats all boats," the backlash against Christian Nationalism runs the risk of swamping all religions.

  1. Robert Gagnon's Avatar Robert Gagnon

    Sure if they takes classes in counseling and have some form of certificate to show they have knowledge in this area. Plainly declare that they are religion based and do not replace non religion based counselors. Students should not be forced to choose between faith based counseling and no assistance at all. The concept of bringing Gods word to millions of trapped young victims didn't ring right with me.

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; Which also means no religious influence.

    1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

      Not for long, scripture says otherwise. Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Nope sorry, all it says is that there will be NO national religion like they have in England, it does NOT and never has said that this means no religious influence and to prove what a silly statement that is, if you kill someone you are charged with murder and punished for same. THAT statement is in almost EVERY religious book or text in the world and yet its part of our laws.

      You really need to educate yourself and stop with the idiotic statements

      1. Chadandy's Avatar Chadandy

        Daniel, repeating your misunderstandings of the Constitution, no matter how many times, does not make it true. The Founding Fathers were very clear in their writings about the Constitution that they absolutely intended for a clear separation of religion and government. James Madison wrote that religious factions were a danger to the Union. Hamilton wrote that though the citizenry was a “united people… professing the same religion”, the Constitutional writers wrote “without having been… influenced by any passions except love for their country.” Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Monroe publicly professed Deism: the philosophical belief in human reason being our guiding light. Jefferson produced a version of the Bible without a single reference to miracles or supernatural works, and publicly rejected the resurrection, the atonement, and the concept of original sin. He wrote “it does me no injury for my neighbor to believe in twenty gods or no”. They wrote of God exactly zero times in the Constitution. Paine wrote and spoke on his vision for an America led by “the democratic god of nature and reason.” Washington espoused that religion was probably essential for the masses. Madison, on the other hand, said religion would make the citizens “vex and oppress each other.” Many of the Founding Fathers wrote and spoke about the power of religion to corrupt the state and vice-versa. If you read beyond the Constitution, it is very clear that the Founding Fathers absolutely intended for there to be a separation of church and state.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          And just how can I be misinformed when the Constitution does not say one thing about Separation of Church and state. So all you did was waste time and effort and blow a lot of hit air. And if they intended, then why wasnt it included? It wasnt, so your OPINION on what they wanted is just as faulty as your claim

    3. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Nope Merlin, it means the Congress cannot make a national religion like they had in England and each person can abide in or with whatever religion they choose to have. You really should have showed more comprehension in high school

      1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

        How would you feel if Florida decided your “religion” was not a religion under their ruling? We have the personal right to our non secular beliefs as long as it does no harm to others. The US Government has no right to impose any non-secular.You tone expresses extreme self righteousness.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          They cant. The 1st Amendment clearly states they cant set a national religion so your claim is nothing but hyperbole.

          And your tone shows complete ignorance of what the Constitution actually states.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    What part of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE do they not understand?

    When I was a child we saluted the flag, then read a verse or two from the bible, and said the Lord's Prayer before starting our school day. It was a calming way start to what could be a very hectic day for a child, however, that was taken away.

    As an older adult, I honestly believe that religion is a very personal thing. I don't feel that two people believe the same way, and that is fine, but I still believe that if prayer in school is not allowed, then why have a Chaplain. I can see where it would encourage conflicts that we all might regret.

    I am a Former Floridian

    1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Greetings, Theresa C. Marquess! I fully agree with you that "religion is a very personal thing." I also agree that any *"two people believe the same way."

      You say you are 80 years old. That means that the version of The Pledge of Allegiance you were required to recite each morning did not contain the words "under god," which were added in 1954.

      You may have found "read(ing) a verse or two from the bible, and (saying) the Lord's Prayer.. a calming way start to what could be a very hectic day," but I doubt that the Jewish kid in the third row would have agreed with you. Even Christians of other denominations might have found reciting the wrong version of the Lord's Prayer jarring.

      Further, since American Atheists was founded in 1963, I think it is fair to assume the existence of at least a few atheists when you were in school. So, the atheist kid in the 5th row (classes were huge back then, weren't they?) would have also been extremely uncomfortable with the indoctrination to which she was subjected every morning for 12 years.

      1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

        There were Jewish children in my classes all of the way through school and into my college days. During the grade-school years when we were still reading the bible in class, it was the book of Psalms or the book of Proverbs from which we read. No one in the classes objected to the contents of those books whether Christian or Jewish. And as for the words under God, yes, they were added when I was in 5th grade.

        I had graduated high school before 1963, so there wasn't anyone claiming to have jumped onto the atheist bandwagon until I was in college. That's generally the age in which people are studying Comparative Religions and questioning the existence of God.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      And WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT EXACT PHRASE IN THE CONSTITUTION??? Since you like to yell I responded back to you in the same way. The constitution was enacted as the law of the land in 1787 the very FIST mention of this myth was in a letter in 1802 a good 15 years AFTER the constitution was ratified as the main law of the land. So tell us child, just how can something that was only brought up 15 years after enactment be in the original document? And please dont try that Because SCOTUS said so nonsense. Look in Article 3 of the Constitution. At no time does it say that SCOTUS has the right to interpret anything. And now look at the 10th Amendment which clearly states that unless government was given a right or authority by the Constitution, then they DONT have same and never did.

      You really should have stayed awake in government class in high school

      1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

        Good day, Daniel, I'd like to make a couple of points here...number one, I don't think you actually read my post. If you had, you would have realized that I wasn't yelling, I was emphasizing something that is accepted as an important fact of American government.

        Number 2, at 80 years old and probably in possession of more degrees and life experience than you can imagine, I am certainly not a child, and certainly someone who was awake in class, regardless of what that class was.

        Number 3, if you intend to contribute, please read the posts before you comment. It would give your posts more credence.

        I would suggest that you check your information. Thomas Jefferson was the individual who discussed the Separation of Church and State as religion being between Man and his God, without government interference. It would be beneficial if you would read Article Six of the United States Constitution. ...just sayin'.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          No I did read your post and its NOT an accepted fact as it never was included in the Constitution nor was it ever passed by a constitutional amendment and article 3 clearly does not give the judiciary ANY authority to interpret anything. Now if you think it does then feel free to name the section and verse of Article 3 to prove your point. I cant help it if people believe lies and then try and claim them as fact or truth.

          2nd, you claim degrees, ok name them and just remember that its very easy to see if this is true or not as all you would have to do is check and see how long it takes to get a degree of your claiming and then add them up to see if they fit into your claimed age.

          1. The only people who try and claim "no credence" are the ones that lack credence themselves.

          And I would suggest YOU check your information as it makes no difference what Jefferson said, for this to be in the constitution it would require a constitutional amendment and not once since the start of the Congressional records has there ever been an amendment brought up to place this myth in the Constitution. And why try to bring this into the discussion?

          Article VI

          All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

          This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

          The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

          Now WHERE does it give the judiciary the ability to "interpret anything" or have anything to do with the myth of the Separation of church and state. It does not and never has. So maybe it would be beneficial to you to actually understand what you are trying to claim before making the claim and being proved wrong? Just sayin'.

    3. One Click Wonder's Avatar One Click Wonder

      Comment has been removed.

      1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        Check out the Christo-facist over here wanting to kill people for having a different religious belief than them. Such a loving Christian...

  1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

    Not for long, scripture says otherwise. Rev 13:11  And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    You cannot dictate as to what state is religeon is its the peoples choice no one elses.

  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    Religion should be taught by the parents and not the school districts. They have trouble teaching math, writing, and reading. They are failing to teach students critical thinking skills. In Florida, the state has them teaching select versions of history. Now they want to send in untrained individuals to counsel children. I don’t necessarily care if counselors are religious, I just want them trained in counselling children. They don’t need to be psychologist but at least have a degree equivalent to school counselors.

  1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

    As a minister with an MDiv and an internship and residency in chaplaincy (ACPE) I can honestly say that I am not qualified in any way to councel children in schools. At the very least, the person should have some background in child psychology, which they don't teach in seminary or cover in ACPE didactics (unless, perhaps it is in a children's hospital). Licensure for school counseling is there for a reason, and doing this is a recipe for disaster.

  1. Edward D Torres's Avatar Edward D Torres

    The Florida Constitution says We the people of the State of Florida grateful to Almighty God. We have established a religion which the First Amendment cannot prohibit thereof. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and Mohammad.

  1. Takaya Kovani Sweeney's Avatar Takaya Kovani Sweeney

    The religious idiots amongst us are fighting tooth and nail to dumb the kids down.

    I can’t wait to see this outcome in about 14 or so years.

    Kids in the US are already far behind other kids globally…let’s see how yoinking books and imposing biblical nonsense on them works.

    I could’ve sworn this already happened…I guess it’s true when they say history repeats itself because enough people didn’t learn the first time.

    The main difference will be the racists who did this last time encountered people who didn’t know what was in store for them at racist hands…good luck with that this time around.🤣😂

    Can’t wait to see it…We’ve got our popcorn.

    Thank goodness we moved years ago from the cesspool of dumb the country is devolving into.

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Takaya, "In 2023, U.S. News released its Best States ranking, which lists Florida as the top state in the country for education." It seems the state and governor DeSantis must be doing something right.

  1. Rolando Couce's Avatar Rolando Couce

    Religion is evil it caused so many wars

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      And far more people have died by the same thought process of yours then in all the world wars. Stalin murdered over 9 million of his own people, Pol Pot murdered well over half his countrys population, Mao killed so many of his own people that it took well over 70 years for them to climb back to being a stable population, Poppa Doc and his son turned their country into a hell hole that they have never recovered from, Amin not only killed his own people but he fricking ATE them as well! What do they have in common? They ALL believed religion was evil as you try and claim. In the history of the world from last century and the present one, you have had well over half a BILLION people die or were murdered by people with the same thought process as you. And you want to freely come here and crow about it?

    2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Rolando, people cause wars.

  1. Kathleen Margaret Guilmette's Avatar Kathleen Margaret Guilmette

    Has the world gone insane,or have I? This,among other things that Gov. DeSantis has enacted are totally nuts! I am a ULC minister and I was even a high school teacher ( in Massachusetts),but I am not qualified to counsel children. Not because I am a minister,but because I do not have any training in counseling or psychotherapy. Do ministers want to go into public schools to teach Biology or Spanish? No,because they are not qualified! Things just nuttier every day in Florida (where I now reside).

  1. Kathleen Margaret Guilmette's Avatar Kathleen Margaret Guilmette

    Has the world gone insane,or have I? This,among other things that Gov. DeSantis has enacted are totally nuts! I am a ULC minister and I was even a high school teacher ( in Massachusetts),but I am not qualified to counsel children. Not because I am a minister,but because I do not have any training in counseling or psychotherapy. Do ministers want to go into public schools to teach Biology or Spanish? No,because they are not qualified! Things just nuttier every day in Florida (where I now reside).

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Nope just going by what the Federal law allows. If you dont like it then get that changed as complaining about it here does nobody any good

      1. Kathleen Margaret Guilmette's Avatar Kathleen Margaret Guilmette

        I was not complaining. However,your post is certainly a good example of how to shut down a conversation!😡

  1. Rev Samantha Counihan's Avatar Rev Samantha Counihan

    1st satanic is a religion and is elgible to do that, and 2nd im against religion in public schools because its unethical and its illegal, and if religions can go in public schools and teach kids religion that includes Pagan leaders, Wiccan leaders, Clergy Witches because Pagan religions are valid religions and have the same right that the christians have, Pagan parents will get mad if the school forces anothers religion on their kids and has every right to press charges

  1. Eugene L Ward's Avatar Eugene L Ward

    Stop spending taxpayer money. (even though they are volunteers) These programs carry considerable administrative cost including scheduling, parental consent, office space. And the legal risk is too big!

    And how is it teachers need degrees and must be trained and licensed but clergy have no training requirements? You can just imagine the lawsuits the schools could be subject to when a chaplain makes a mistake.

    No taxpayer money for private or charter schools. Spend that money on the public school kids whose families can't afford private tuition. Every public voucher to a private school is money taken away from the underfunding public schools.

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Eugene, the degreed, trained, and licensed teachers to which you refer are getting dismal results. Hardly a ringing endorsement. Vouchers are a good way to help poorer students to get a much better education from the private sector. I understand that the Catholic Church has had a surge in enrollment in states that allow universal voucher systems. Even Catholic Schools that had been closed for lack of students have been reopened and are full. Given the chance, parents are voting for private education. No child should be denied the chance of a private education. Let our tax dollars go to private schools, public schools are failing.

      1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

        Or maybe we can rebuild the public schools so that they don't fail? That seems like the smarter plan; build a public education that serves everyone instead of funding private education for the elite few.

  1. Gordon Billingsley's Avatar Gordon Billingsley

    No need to be upset with chaplain counselors. Chaplains have been that for a long time. Two things make a difference:

    1. What training does an individual chaplain have? People without skills can do great harm. Chaplains who use the opportunity to convert are among those can harm.

    2. The law discussed in this article described states looking at declaring which faiths are "legit." That means the state is deciding which religions gain state approval. That is the establishment of religion that our founder wisely forbade.

    Ask yourself who you'd like to "counsel" your children. Comfortable with Mormons? Muslims? Snake handlers? Zoroastrians? Or think of one that you consider a red line. If you say "nope" to any of that you've just shown why it can be go horribly wrong.

    Can chaplains do it? Hell, yes. As long as they have skills, credentials and mindset. And WITHOUT a religious test.

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    There is an old saw that says, "Jack of all trades, master of none." Already we ask too much of our schools, requiring them to be parents, teachers, policemen, social workers, government spokesmen, et al. The result is, they excel at nonthing. Adding religious propagandist to their list of duties will not make them more effective at "teaching Johnny to read."

  1. Robert Kelsey's Avatar Robert Kelsey

    From what I’ve read of all the comments we are getting to political and losing sight of what is really important here and that is our children’s mental health. All religions have beliefs in a supreme being and they need to know that they are loved and that they are never alone or being judged by whoever their religious beliefs are. All children need to feel loved and accepted no matter what their religion is. This is far more important than politics or constitutional amendments. That is my opinion.

    1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

      Not all religions. For example, Buddhists generally don't believe in a single, all-powerful creator god like the one in Abrahamic religions. The universe is seen as cyclical, without a beginning or end.

      Buddhism does acknowledge divine beings like devas (gods) and other heavenly figures. These are seen as powerful beings but not all-powerful or eternal. They're part of the cycle of rebirth within samsara, the realm of suffering.

      The emphasis in Buddhism is on achieving enlightenment through your own efforts, following the Buddha's teachings. Belief in a god is not seen as necessary for this path. So, while there are god-like figures in Buddhism, they don't fulfill the same role as a creator god in other religions.

    2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Well, Robert Kelsey, this article is about a political decision made by the legislature and governor of Florida, so it starts out "political."

      It is not true that "All religions have beliefs in a supreme being" (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism--some of the largest religions in the world, after Christianity and Islam). Similarly, not all religions teach love--many are based on fear, and some espouse hate.

      I do agree that "All children need to feel loved and accepted no matter what their religion is," but putting unqualified chaplains into the schools will not accomplish that.

      That is my opinion, mixed with a few facts.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        John, I asked Google if Hindus believe in God. Its response was [y]es, most Hindus believe in God, with 98% of India's Hindus believing in God, and eight-in-ten of those believing with absolute certainty. However, only 7% of Hindus believe in multiple gods, while the majority believe in one supreme god, The Brahman. The Brahman is the ultimate reality, and everything is a manifestation of Brahman." This agrees with my own studies of the Hindu religion. So, it seems, that Hinduism does believe in a supreme being. Brahma.

  1. JT of the plains's Avatar JT of the plains

    It appears that the NSCA is a group that charges about $3000 for their training and the training comes from Oral Roberts University. I am not sure how much quailty that training would be. It will certainly have its own agenda and slant.

  1. Carol M. Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Carol M. Anaski-Figurski

    Interesting article. Initially Texas required semester hours in seminary school to be a chaplain for schools as counselors for aftermath of school shootings since uvalde. The new states & any adaptations in Texas for such counselor needs to be clear as to whether of not the certifications like ULC would be considered acceptable.

  1. Richard James Venerable's Avatar Richard James Venerable

    This is not about teaching or promoting religion, it’s about Chaplains volunteering their time to listen to a troubled child. To use Gods love to help them understand they have options and people that care enough to listen to them.

    Most fail to understand why many take the tile of Chaplain, rather than minister or priest. We do so to help those of other faiths become comfortable communicating without the fear of judgment. It’s about teaching the love of humanity, not the doctrine of the church.

    1. Mitch's Avatar Mitch

      I agree with you for a large part, but there's a lot of contradictory information there. Fur example, satanists are being excluded. Fur what good reason, outside of pushing specific doctrines, could there be for excluding a satanic chaplain? They could happen to be trained social workers or psychologists with backgrounds in trauma support, but are excluded because they're satanists? That's a problem.

    2. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Greetings, Richard James Venerable!

      Your post implies that you are, or were, a Chaplain. If that is true, you are probably aware that Chaplains have to meet certain educational requirements. For example, to qualify as an Army Chaplain, you must possess at least a baccalaureate degree of no less than 120 semester hours, plus a graduate degree in theological or religious studies, and at least 72 semester hours in graduate work. Further, military Chaplains are prohibited from proselyting for their specific faith.

      The Florida law we are talking about here sets ZERO REQUIREMENTS to be a volunteer school chaplain. If you really are a chaplain, I would think you would be offended by this.

  1. Peggy Tallent's Avatar Peggy Tallent

    When the pastors, bring the word of God into schools you will see a difference in people for the better, there are people allowed to go into schools, with the permission of the education system, they go in to talk to kindergartners and students, about the most perverted subjects. Don't you think God wants to help these kids, shouldn't we give them the choice to believe and hear God's word.

    People's hearts are hardened towards God, and His word, it is no wonder, some don't want anything to do with it. This is a case of Evil against Good, it is the battle that has been going on since Genesis and will always be going until Jesus Christ returns in Revelation. This book, The Bible ends well. The ending is worth fighting for.

  1. Zekester's Avatar Zekester

    The reason our government has the separation of church and state is so that the government cannot declare an "official" religion. It's against the constitution. DeSantis is just another fascist wannabe trying to make his own rules. Even Satanists have the same 1st amendment rights as every other religion.

  1. Michelle Kitz's Avatar Michelle Kitz

    Being a minister, chaplain, or whatever should not be enough to offer counseling services to children. They should also be certified as therapists of some kind. Otherwise, what are their qualifications?

  1. Peggy Tallent's Avatar Peggy Tallent

    "Religion" is any counterfeit of or alternative to salvation and Christian living through faith in Jesus Christ,. True Christianity is not religion; it is an intimate relationship between God and man. Religion, on the other hand is a system of rules and traditions that, if kept by its followers, will supposedly cause them to gain acceptance with God. But religion can never bring man into a relationship with God.

    1. Zekester's Avatar Zekester

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Starlet D Bowles's Avatar Starlet D Bowles

    But with that said I do not think anyone should push any beliefs on a child or anyone else fir that matter.

  1. Deekin224's Avatar Deekin224

    I was raised as a Catholic, many, many, many moons ago (then saw the light). In 1970 I started Catholic high-school (in Canada) that had 4 grade levels, 8,9,10,11. This was a brand new school opened in 1970 and in its first year it had 3621 students. There we had 2 school councilors. 1 Male (a priest) 1 Female (not a nun) that handled this massive population. Both had degrees in psychology, which IMO, should be the number one requirement of any counselor dealing with kids and their possible mental health issues, to which I had a few back then. Any religious questions got referred to the priest, however, he never limited himself to just the Catholic religion. If one had questions about any other faith, he would offer his opinion and give you a list of various churches of different faith within our community, where one could go and seek information. This included community outreach services for those questions about being gay or otherwise. Of course he would offer his opinion, but he was the type of person that cared so much about the students he dealt with, that he wanted to make sure they got whatever help "they" needed without prejudice. He was a True counselor. However, following some American politics, hearing and reading about the conservative push in regard to Christian Nationalism I can see where Gov. DeSantis and his fellow GOP would want to push their god onto the mass of kids under their control, because they believe that their god is better than your god, period. I don't care what faith/belief system you live by, just that if one volunteers to be a counselor, that person needs to be qualified to deal with kids mental health issues. If one volunteers just to flog your belief system then your screwing with a young mind that could cause life long problems. I wouldn't be surprised if the suicide rate amongst kids increased due to the mental issues a pushed belief might cause instead of dealing with the particular issue at hand. But what do I know, I've only walk on this planet for 65+ years, been where a lot of trouble folks have been or are in, dealt with a number of belief systems and people, looking for the help I needed, seeing the pros and cons in it all...

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Yea I did Hunt. The Constitution was ratified in 1787, the vbery first mention of this myth was in a letter in 1802, a good fifteen years AFTER the Constitution was made supreme law of the land. And once it was made supreme law of the land, the only way to change or add anything is by a constitutional amendment, and according to the US Library of Congress no such amendment was ever made nor brought up to Congress nor sent out to the states for ratification. And if you think this is in there then please show exactly where in the Constitution the words "separation of church and state" are located.

    Seems like your education is clearly lacking.

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