Anger as US School Allows Satan Club to Distribute Flyers in Its Lobby
"Hey Kids, let’s have fun at After School Satan Club! Science Projects! Puzzles & Games! Arts and Craft Projects! Nature Activities! Parents, your children will learn: benevolence & empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creative expression, personal sovereignty," one of the flyers read.
"At a time when youth are experiencing a mental health pandemic, it is outrageous that a school district would allow a club based on the master of confusion,” said Patti Garibay, founder and executive director of American Heritage Girls.
"[We understand ] that there is concern and confusion over an upcoming after-school club at Jane Addams elementary. The district does not discriminate against any groups who wish to rent our facilities, including religious-affiliated groups. Religiously affiliated groups are among those allowed to rent our facilities for a fee,” said the district’s spokeswoman Candace Sountris, adding that flyers and promotional materials of after-school groups, including the one in question, are allowed to be placed in a school lobby.
Do Schools in the United States Encourage Children to Worship Satan?
From the news one might get the impression that children in the United States are encouraged to worship Satan. However, the issue has to do with free speech rights.
Various after-school clubs exist in the United States, including ones organised by religious groups. At the beginning of the millennium a Good News Club (GNC), a programme organised by Child Evangelism Fellowship, filed a lawsuit against a Milford Central School in New York after the latter denied GNC’s application to organise meetings in the school after lessons.
The ruling effectively allowed all religious organisations, including such controversial ones as the Satanic Temple, to rent school facilities for after-school clubs. Moline-Coal Valley School District Superintendent Dr Rachel Savage said that if the school had refused to distribute the Satanic Temple flyers, it would have become subject of a lawsuit, ”which we will not win, likely taking thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars away from our teachers, staff, and classrooms”.
The Satanic Temple said it does not worship Satan nor do its members believe in the existence of Satan. "We believe in reason, empathy, the pursuit of knowledge," reads a section of FAQs on the organisation's website.
The word "Satan" is used as a symbol of "eternal rebel" who opposes arbitrary authority, questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions, the organisation said.
The organisation added that its primary mission is to "encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits" as well as promote the separation between church and state.
"Don’t you think it’s best to keep religion out of schools? Yes. But the worst-case scenario, when religion is allowed in the schools, is an environment in which one religious voice enjoys the exclusive benefit of delivering its teachings to the children, promoting the understanding that their religion is endorsed by the school, or otherwise has special privilege within their community," reads the statement on its website.