The Satanic Temple, a secular political organization devoted to the promotion of Constitutionally-guaranteed separation of church and state in the United States, is facing some serious public backlash after it announced Monday that it intends to bring its brand of Satanism to America’s public schools. The Satanic Temple has crafted an after-school program designed to be implemented in U.S. public elementary schools in the upcoming school year. Called “After School Satan,” the program is geared toward promoting free-thinking and critical thinking skills. According to the Satanic Temple, it will feature healthy snacks, science, art, and literature lessons, among other activities.
Children who participate in the newly-announced after-school program that the Satanic Temple is rolling out will be required to have parental permission, including signed permission slips, which will be kept on file. Despite the organization’s name, the Satanic Temple doesn’t promote Satanism in the traditional sense. Members of the organization don’t believe in supernatural beings, be they gods or devils. However, as Fox News reports, the Satanic Temple does believe in human rights and free will.
According to the organization, they want kids to know that they have a choice when it comes to what they believe in and how they think. One of the goals of the new After School Satan Program is to teach kids who participate how to analyze situations from all perspectives and to understand that every problem can be seen from multiple different points of view.
The Satanic Temple intends to roll out its proposed After School Satan Program first and foremost at U.S. public elementary schools that already feature evangelical Christian after-school activities for students. According to the Satanic Temple, because these public elementary schools already offer Christian after-school programs, refusing to allow a Satanic alternative could be construed as a violation of the Satanic Temple’s first amendment rights.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people in predominantly-Christian America are furious that the Satanic Temple is (as they allege) “targeting children” with their controversial belief system. Parents (many of them Christian themselves) have come out swinging against the Satanic Temple’s proposed plan, taking to social media to complain about the organizations plan to “corrupt America’s youth.”
@NEWS9 if they start teaching my kids this I'm shutting them down quick. If my kids come home and tell me about this I may be on the news— shockwave (@madisonsdaddy1) August 2, 2016
Some angry self-proclaimed Christians have also taken to YouTube to share more comprehensive and lengthy versions of their fury at the Satanic Temple and the organization’s plan to teach their beliefs to America’s elementary school students.
The Satanic Temple has worked diligently in recent years to abolish Christian privilege and Christian influence in both the U.S. legal system and U.S. public education system. One of the biggest undertakings that the Satanic Temple has embarked upon has been abolishing Christian prayers at City Council and other government meetings across the United States.
Recently, a representative from a Florida chapter of the Satanic Temple was approved to give the opening prayer/invocation at a Pensacola City Council meeting. That effort was interrupted by loudly chanting and otherwise protesting Christians who didn’t believe that religious freedom should extend to non-Christians. Several people had to be removed from the meeting so that the Satanic Temple representative could finish out his peaceful invocation.
In many other cities, local government officials have abolished the practice of pre-meeting prayer altogether in order to avoid allowing members of the Satanic Temple to exercise their freedom of religion. Ultimately, the abolition of government-sanction religious devotions is precisely the goal of the Satanic Temple.
The organization has also actively worked to prevent corporal punishment in the nation’s public school, preserve women’s unfettered access to abortion services and eliminate prayer in public schools.
A representative from a Washington D.C. elementary school, one of the areas directly targeted by the Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Program, says that the group’s plans to bring Satan to the school could have similar consequences. Jay Howard-Brock told the media that the Satanic Temple’s plans could be a “distraction” that could result in all religiously-affiliated after-school programs being shut down.
“It’s going to become a distraction. We should just abolish groups like that from being on school premises, because it just may offend someone. The kids really need to focus on the education piece.”
Howard-Brock didn’t elaborate how offering a Satanic Temple after-school program was more distracting than the evangelical Christian programs currently being offered.
Despite the push-back from evangelical Christians and others, the Satanic Temple fully intends to roll out their new elementary after-school program this fall. According to reports, the organization has dozens of volunteers lined up from Satanic Temple chapters around the nation to assist with the implementation of the clubs.
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