The Satanic Temple (TST) recently announced that they will begin an after school religious club for elementary school students. They have not been shy about their intent to go directly against Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club by deliberately starting clubs only in schools that already have a Good News Club. In 1984 Congress passed the Equal Access Act, which prevented the government from stopping after school Bible clubs and gave them the right to use the rooms inside a public school for such gatherings. Gay-Straight Alliances and Secular Student Alliance groups began to develop using that same law. In an obvious deviation from the law Christians fought to pass, The Satanic Temple is pushing this law one step further.
TST will offer the voluntary program beginning in nine elementary schools (though they hope to grow the list) starting this fall. The club will offer “a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project” to focus on “critical reasoning, independent-thinking, fun and free thought.” While some parents are dismissing this new club as harmless, there are many reasons parents should be leery of the After School Satan club.
1. A Satanist’s religious club has nothing to do with religion.
“Satanism is a religion that endorses scientific rationalism as our best model for understanding the natural world… A religion need not make exclusive claim to a value, ethical principle, or practice, to advocate its advance,” according to their website. Their goal is not to convert children to follow Satan, because they do not believe that he exists as more than a “’metaphorical construct‘ intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.” They believe that religion has no place in schools, but are fighting to “ensure that plurality and true religious liberty are respected.” So the only reason this is considered a “religious” club is to oppose the Good News Clubs.
2. Your kids are already getting the subjects After School Satan has to offer.
Literature, science lessons, puzzle solving and art are subjects are all covered in elementary schools. Buy them a Sudoku book for Christmas if you are concerned your child is not getting enough puzzles to solve; pack an extra snack and your child will not be missing out on anything the club offers. Even by their own curriculum synopsis, After School Satan has nothing to teach your young children that your school’s regular courses do not offer.
3. You would be creating more work for yourself.
As a conservative Christian, there are many things taught in public schools that it’s my job to “un-teach” my child at the end of each day. Evolution, books with two mommies, and presenting the gender spectrum are all things a parent like myself needs to be prepared for. As a parent, you need to be ready to answer your students’ questions and help them understand how your worldview clashes with what was taught. Sending your children to a club that directly opposes the education you are teaching at home creates confusion for your first grader and more work for mom and dad.
4. You do not want Satanists teaching critical thinking skills to your kids.
TST’s website states that the “twisted Evangelical teachings of the Good News Clubs ‘robs children of the innocence and enjoyment of childhood… and [create an] aversion to critical thinking.’” How would a consideration of life after death deter critical thinking skills? One of the biggest considerations we are challenging our son to make is that our actions have consequences. The truth of the Gospel (as a Good News Club presents) is that we have all messed up, and we need someone to fix it; Jesus did just that. The Gospel teaches children to analyze their actions in consideration of more than just today or temporary enjoyment. The critical thinking skills Satanists propagate lead them to believe in a religion named after Satan (a person whom they do not believe exists) yet they do not worship Satan (even though most religions named after a person worship that person), but they do oppose the gospel. Did you get confused following that critical thinking? There is no reason you should trust a Satanist to teach this important skill to your children.
5. God’s Word has provisions for empathy and benevolence.
TST told the Washington Post that they want kids “to have empathy and benevolence for their fellow human beings.” The problem with a Satanistic approach is that it falls short when it comes to motivation. We can teach kids to be kind and to share things so society can benefit, but there comes a point in everyone’s life where the desire for self overshadows the desire for mankind. Those who believe the Bible know that we can show love to others because God first showed love to us. Further, they show love because that is the second greatest commandment, to love others as themselves. That kind of motivation can last a person their entire life, but TST’s view of love and empathy will fall short eventually.
While at first glance After School Satan may not seem that dangerous (although their video begs to differ) parents who want their kids exposed to a religious club should keep looking. If you are opposed to TST’s efforts to “counter evangelism in schools,” consider donating to help spread the Good News Clubs or volunteer to help. But, at the very least, keep your kids from The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan club.