In Salem, an area that stands out for its history of its 17th century witch trials, leaders of the areas Satanic Temple are plotting to bring their message about their beliefs to public elementary schools.
Leaders of the group point out that evangelical Christian organizations have already found their place in the nation’s schools via after-school religious programs, leading the member of the Satanic Temple to initiate a similar program that therefore allows students to choose between Jesus or Satan.
Satanic school clubs are coming! https://t.co/GO79iZMGYz
— David Silverman (@MrAtheistPants) July 30, 2016
Co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Doug Mesner, spoke on the goal he and his members have set.
“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think.”
The Washington Post outlines the steps that leaders of the satanic organization will be talking within the next week and month to initiate the after-school program by the start of the school year in September.
“On Monday, the group plans to introduce its After School Satan Club to public elementary schools, including one in Prince George’s County, petitioning school officials to allow them to open immediately as the academic year starts. Chapter heads from New York, Boston, Utah and Arizona were in Salem on July 10 talking strategy, with others from Minneapolis, Detroit, San Jose, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Florida participating online.”
A promotional video that the publication describes as a horror film-meets-SNL skit, will be used to pique the interest of individuals in the educational system.
Although the group’s name, “Satanic Temple,” would lead individuals to believe that their main focus is to worship the supernatural being also known as the devil, Mesner indicates that this is far from their actual ideologies and views. The publication shares that according to Mesner, and followers of their faith, “‘Satan’ is just a ‘metaphorical construct’ intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.”
The Satanic Temple’s Utah chapter head, Chalice Blythe, shares more as to what he feels his organization can bring to children in a school setting.
“We think it’s important for kids to be able to see multiple points of view, to reason things through, to have empathy and feelings of benevolence for their fellow human beings.”
For this reason, the group intends to emphasize reasoning and social skills and the development of these within their after-school curriculum. They share that after-school meetings will involve enjoying healthy snacks, literature lessons, creative learning activities, science lessons, along with puzzle solving and art projects. Children who join will receive a members card and will need parental permission to attend.
A group wants after-school Satan clubs. The Utah chapter head goes by the name Chalice Blythe: https://t.co/7kViLg4cdU
— Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) July 30, 2016
The group intends to use the Liberty Counsel’s platform in regards to free speech, as a means to ensure that their after-school program be accepted, much like those run by Evangelical Christians. The Liberty Counsel has responded to this, and although it agrees the Satanic Temple has a right to initiate the club, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver does not believe they will have many children participating.
“I would definitely oppose after-school Satanic clubs, but they have a First Amendment right to meet. I suspect, in this particular case, I can’t imagine there’s going to be a lot of students participating in this. It’s probably dust they’re kicking up and is likely to fade away in the near future for lack of interest.”
As noted, promotion of the planned satanic after-school program will begin on Monday, in the hopes of beginning the programs at a number of elementary schools by September.
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]