Of all the things that should worry parents, “After-School Satan Clubs” should be near the bottom of the list. Not that parents should want their kids gravitating toward Satanism or the occult in general. It’s that kids, as a general rule, are not going to find Satan’s brand attractive. Across the country, After-School Satan Clubs are closing, demonstrating that even children recognize the immature silliness behind bowing before the devil, whether for real or pretend.
If it seems like only yesterday that these clubs for children were creeping up with a sulfur and brimstone air of optimism around their press releases, it’s because it basically was just yesterday.
In an “old” press release, The Satanic Temple announced,
[T]his coming school year (2016) will find their organization operating in elementary schools across the nation where they will be offering their new After School Satan Club program to students. While the presence of a religious organization in public schools will no doubt be shocking to some, evangelical litigants — primarily the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) represented by lawyers from the Liberty Counsel — have solidly established the legal rights of religious organizations to operate clubs in public schools.”
In that long, long, long ago year of 2016, The Satanic Temple rolled out their after-school programs to great demonic fanfare. Flash forward to the year 2017 with its new spirit that barely remembers the ancient history of 2016, and The Satanic Temple is finding that it’s unable to keep many of its programs open. Most recently, the newly opened Satan club in Tacoma, Wash., has closed.
A quick perusal of the group’s website reveals that The Satanic Temple’s arch-nemesis is Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Truth be told, the “competition” is a little one-sided. CEF reports:
As the Satan Clubs are closing down, about 4,500 Good News Clubs are starting up this new school year all over the USA. Over 180,000 children will be enrolled in a high energy club that includes Bible stories, songs, games, etc. Children will receive moral and character development as well as learn respect for authority, based on biblical principles.
The Satanic Temple claims that they are not religious; they do not actually worship Satan. Styled as atheists, The Satanic Temple is allegedly based in scientific rationalism. The FAQ on the group’s website poses the question, “So Scientific Rationalism is a religion?” The answer put forward states, “No, Satanism is a religion that endorses scientific rationalism as our best model for understanding the natural world.”
Setting aside the confusing and possibly contradictory wording between the question and the answer, there is a bit of misdirection applied throughout The Satanic Temple’s branding, even if it’s unintentional. In a YouTube video promoting the after-school programs, The Satanic Temple touts their foundation in rational inquiry, but the images, soundtrack, and overall ambiance of the video communicate that kids who join the club are running the risk of finding themselves tied down to an altar at some point. That’s not to claim that The Satanic Temple sacrifices children to Satan (I firmly believe that they most likely do not), but, at the least, their branding is going to raise that fear in the minds of children.
If it’s true that the goal of The Satanic Temple is “to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors,” their YouTube video presents a contradictory message. It’s not difficult to understand why after-school Satanic clubs are failing.