Would you let your elementary school-aged children sign up for “The Satanic Temple After School Satan Club”? Yes, it’s a real program that may be making its way to schools in the Guildford County School District. Parents in Greensboro at Joyner Elementary are concerned about the club coming there and possibly to other schools within the district.
Many parents on Facebook have commented in disgust at the option even being offered. Other’s support it as “religious freedom”. The flyer says the club offers activities like science projects, puzzles, games, and other activities. And while not religiously based the club is sponsored by The Satanic Temple.
“That’s fine. I ean, we’re fighting an uphill battle as it is with PR and people often make assumptions about what we stand for without bothering to research it all. What’s intolerable to us is when school districts, school boards, other government functionaries pretend that they have the ability to deny us equal access to these facilities,” Greaves said.
He says there is not a religious aspect to the club:
“That’s correct and, of course, we run into the question all the time: ‘Then why don’t you call it something else?’ It’s because we don’t want to and we are the Satanic temple and we want people to know that self-identified Satanists within the Satanic Temple do have pro-social values. We do like to do things that help enrich their communities and it would be against our best interest to conceal that,” Greaves said.
Guilford County Schools has not commented on the club at this time. A Pennsylvania school district has voted against approving the program in their schools.
A quick google search led me to the organization’s website. They self describe the program as follows:
The After School Satan Clubs meet at select public schools where Good News Clubs also operate. Trained educators provide activities and learning opportunities, which students are free to engage in, or they may opt to explore other interests that may be aided by available resources. The environment is open and parents are welcome to participate. While the classes are designed to promote intellectual and emotional development in accordance with TST’s tenets, no proselytization or religious instruction takes place.
They state the mission of the club is:
Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism. After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.
On their website, you can also download the full handbook for the club as well as get other information.