‘After School Satan’ – Satanic Temple targets kids at Utah elementary school
(KUTV) – At any elementary school you likely expect to find an art club, a music club, or maybe even a science club – but what about a club to worship Satan?
It’s a real thing, and it may be coming to a Utah elementary school.
The Satanic Temple, a group that describes itself as “an atheistic religious organization that uses the symbol of Satan to inspire civil justice”, says the decision to spread their message in elementary schools is in direct response to Christian groups who operate after-school clubs in public schools.
“We are sure that the school districts we’ve approached are well aware that they are not at liberty to deny us use of their facilities,” Satanist Temple Spokesperson Lucien Greaves said.
The Satanist group says in a statement on their website that they want the same accommodations as the Child Evangelism Fellowship, a Christian organization that operates the ‘Good News Club.’
According to the Child Evangelism Fellowship, their group uses schools and community centers to teach children about Jesus Christ. The group describes their meetings as ‘action-packed’ and include songs, scripture memorizing, and games.
‘After School Satan’ aims to have a similar format, but with a different focus on ‘free-inquiry and rationalism.’
“It’s important that children be given an opportunity to realize that the evangelical materials now creeping into their schools are representative of but one religious opinion amongst many,” Greaves said.
The 'Good News Club' fought a legal battle in New York in 2001 after they were denied access to renting district facilities after school hours. The Milford Central School District said it feared a violation of the Establishment Clause, which admonishes the union of Church and State, if the district allowed the christian group to use its facilities. A judge ruled that the school is a public forum and the district could bar religious organizations from renting school buildings.
The Satanic Temple wants the same court ruling applied to their group.
Greaves said the Christian ‘Good News Clubs’ focuses on indoctrinating and instilling children with fear of Hell .
“We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horror,” Greaves said.
'After School Satan' is now making plans to hold activities at Vista Elementary School in Taylorsville.
"Any organization can rent our facilities after school hours as long as they pay the fee and aren't doing anything illegal," Granite School District Spokepserson Ben Horsley said.
Horsley added that while 'After School Satan' can rent the district's facilities, it would not be allowed to advertise its program on school property. He said this rule applies equally to all groups who rent the school's facilities.
The Satanic Temple says on their website that they select schools near existing Satanic Temples.
The Satanic Temple is known for demanding equal treatment as other religious organizations. The group has regularly requested statues in locations where religious monuments or statues are present. The Satanic Temple also previously created a website where people can opt-out of proxy baptisms performed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.