An after-school Satan Club may be coming to an elementary school near you if the Satanic Temple gets their way. Leaders of the Satanic Temple recently proposed a program that aims to offer an alternative to Christian evangelical groups’ after-school religious programming as part of their ongoing fight for the separation of church and state in U.S. schools.
Doug Mesner, better known by the stage name of Lucien Greaves, is co-founder and spokesman of the Satanic Temple, a group of activists that is gaining notoriety in the United States. Using the current legislation, they argue that all religions should be treated equally by the state. Greaves believes Satan Clubs should be entitled to the same access as other groups, like the Good News Clubs — a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools in order to reach young children with a fundamentalist form of evangelical Christianity.
“While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath, After-School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism,” Greaves told the Washington Post. “We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of an everlasting other-worldly horror.”
The group says it is not about encouraging children to support the devil and despite the name, members reportedly don’t actually worship the devil. Instead, the Satanic Temple rejects all forms of supernatural belief and promotes scientific rationality, Good Housekeeping wrote. According to group leaders, the After-School Satan Clubs’ curriculum aims to encourage students to become “naturalists in training” and does not involve indoctrination, conversion, or worship of a horned ex-angel.
“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,” said the Satanic Temple’s Utah chapter head, Chalice Blythe.
According to the Charlotte Observer, several U.S. school districts indicated Monday that they think the Satanic Temple’s plan to open After-School Satan Clubs in elementary schools probably conforms with their policies and local laws, and the Prince George’s County, Maryland, school system said it is reviewing a request to open such a club.
At first, Satanists fought for the right to display Satanic images alongside Christian symbols in public places, especially during times of religious festivals such as Easter and Christmas. Then they started to demand authorization to distribute literature on Satanism for children, claiming that in many schools the students received bibles and other religious documents.
More recently, they won the right to place a holiday display inside Florida’s state capitol in Tallahassee — one that featured an image of an angel falling into burning flames, Bible verses, and a “Happy Holidays” message. This being an election year, they are explicitly supporting candidates who will represent them in the Senate. They even made pro-abortion demonstrations in some cities where there were protests from pro-life groups.
According to the program’s official site, After-School Satan Clubs have offered to present their curriculum in several cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Tucson, and Pensacola, Florida. Their goal, as written on the site “is to place an ASSC in every school where the Good News Clubs, or other proselytizing religious groups, have established a presence.”
Parents would have to sign a form authorizing their children to join these meetings, which will be held at least once or twice a month. The group says meetings will include a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving, and an art project, and every child will receive a membership card.
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