After School Satan

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After School Satan
FormationJuly 2016; 6 years ago (July 2016)[1]
HeadquartersSalem, Massachusetts[2]
Spokesperson
Lucien Greaves
WebsiteOfficial website

After School Satan is an after school program project of The Satanic Temple, an American religious organization based in Salem, Massachusetts,[2] and is sponsored by Reason Alliance LTD, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.[3] It was created as an alternative to Christian-based after school groups, specifically at schools that host the Evangelical Good News Club.[4][5][6] The program neither teaches about Satanism nor attempts to convert club-goers; they instead teach about rationalism and understanding the world around us. It is against the beliefs of the Satanic Temple to teach religious practice in schools, which is opposite to how the Good News Club functions. The Satanic Temple rejects supernatural beliefs and views Satan as a literary symbol of rebellion against authority, not as a supernatural entity.[7]

The Satanic Temple announced it was pursuing After School Satan clubs in cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Pensacola, Washington, D.C., Tucson, Springfield, Missouri, Seattle and Portland.[6][8][9][10]

Despite widespread media attention to the announcements initially, only one school in Tacoma, Washington, ever served any students, teaching a single child from a nearby school once per month from December 2016 to June 2017.[11][12] The program did not return the following year, and by the fall of 2017, TST representative Chalice Blythe confirmed in an interview there were no active programs.[13][14]

In January 2022, a second After School Satan program launched in Moline, Ill. Monthly meetings are scheduled through May 2023, with a focus on board and card games, crafts, and science projects. [15]

History[edit]

The Supreme Court decision Good News Club v. Milford Central School held that when a government operates a "limited public forum" it may not discriminate against speech that takes place within that forum on the basis of the viewpoint it expresses. The "limited public forum" in the case was referring to after school programs, that the schools provided space for, but were not run by the school.[16]

After School Satan was created by The Satanic Temple in July 2016 to ensure that equal representation for all religions is upheld in public schools, and religious freedom and plurality is respected. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that religious groups are permitted to establish clubs to proselytize after hours using public school classrooms, the Christian-based Good News Club has established thousands of such clubs. In response, The Satanic Temple began a campaign to establish its own clubs across the United States. According to one organizer, "Whenever religion enters the public sphere, like the Good News Club at public schools, we take action to ensure that more than one religious voice is represented, and that is our intent with the After School Satan Club."[1][5]

Chalice Blythe, former National Director for The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club explained, "...The After School Satan Club curriculum was only offered in school districts where local chapters of The Satanic Temple could manage and maintain them."[17]

The clubs follow a standard syllabus, and strive to provide students with the critical thinking skills necessary to be able to make important life decisions for themselves. They emphasize a scientific and rationalist, non-superstitious world view, and oppose indoctrination into other-worldly belief systems.[5][4]

According to The Satanic Temple and After School Satan's co-founder and spokesperson, Lucien Greaves:

It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think... "Satan" is just a "metaphorical construct" intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.[18]

and adds

We are only doing this because Good News Clubs have created a need for this. If Good News Clubs would operate in churches rather than public schools, that need would disappear. But our point is that if you let one religion into the public schools you have to let others, otherwise it’s an establishment of religion.[19]

One club in Seattle had to pause their activities during the 2017–2018 school year due to lack of funds and volunteers.[20][21]

Activities[edit]

After School Satan Clubs "incorporate games, projects, and thinking exercises that help children understand how we know what we know about our world and our universe."[4][22] Satanic Temple spokesman Finn Rezz said the club "would focus on science and rational thinking," promoting "benevolence and empathy for everybody" – while providing an alternative voice to the Bible-centred "Good News Club".[23] After School Satan Clubs do not teach children to believe in supernatural beings named Satan or perform Satanic rituals.[19]

Reception[edit]

A group of Christian pastors and other religious leaders met in Tacoma, Washington to discuss the proposition that the After School Satan program would be allowed at a local school. One pastor remarked, "We want to cut this off and defeat it before it ever gets a chance to take root." Another pastor commented, "We are the taxpayers here and we ought to stand up and let them know they are not welcome, they don't pay taxes here."[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stewart, Katherine. "An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid's elementary school". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-01-30. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Satanic Temple to open international headquarters in Salem". Fox 25 News Boston. 2016-09-16. Archived from the original on 2016-10-21. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  3. ^ "Did the IRS 'Fast Track' Tax Exempt Status for After School Satan Clubs?". Snopes. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  4. ^ a b c "FAQ". After School Satan. Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, Rick. "Yes, an after-school Satan Club could be coming to your kid's grade school". LA Times. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Portland OKs "After School Satan" for elementary kids". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". The Satanic Temple.
  8. ^ "Satanic Temple brings 'After School Satan Club' to Portland school". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2016-12-23. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  9. ^ Cafazzo, Debbie. "State's first After-School Satan Club set to open". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Find a Club". After School Satan. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ "After-school Satan club tests the limits of church and state". KALW Public Media. Archived from the original on 2021-12-08. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  12. ^ JudicialWatch.org, Invoice for December 2016 to June 2017 indicates seven monthly two-hour room rent and utilities amounted to a cost of $154.00, with the official requestor group "Reason Alliance Ltd" and funds provided by Reason Alliance Ltd. (PDF, pages 3-14)
  13. ^ Rudd, Candice. "Tacoma's After-School Satan Club is on pause for now, says Satanic Temple of Seattle". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2017-09-13. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Recruiting Tomorrow's Satanists - The Jim Jefferies Show". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Small protest outside Moline elementary school greets 1st After School Satan Club". WHBF-TV. Archived from the original on 2022-01-15. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  16. ^ Gearan, Anne (11 June 2001). "Supreme Court Says Religious Clubs Can Meet at Public Schools". abc NEWS. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Press Releases". Archived from the original on 2020-06-27. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  18. ^ "An After School Satan Club Could Be Coming To Your Child's Elementary School". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  19. ^ a b Emery, David. "Satan's Waitin'". Snopes. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Tacoma Elementary School Is Ending Its After-School Satan Club, but Not for the Reason You Think". The Stranger. Archived from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  21. ^ Ruud, Candice. "Tacoma's After-School Satan Club is on pause for now, says Satanic Temple of Seattle". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2018-01-14. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  22. ^ Swann, Jennifer. "L.A.'s After School Satan Club Is Coming for Your Children". LA Times. Archived from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  23. ^ "School grants Satanic Temple permission to run after-school club for 10-year-olds". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2016-11-07. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  24. ^ Tacoma pastors speak out against Satanic Temple after-school club Archived 2017-02-05 at the Wayback Machine; KIRO7 News; Henry Rosoff; Oct 18, 2016

External links[edit]