An Illinois school district has come under intense criticism for allowing an after school “Satan club” sponsored by the Satanic Temple of the United States.
The program, designed for kids in first through fifth grades, is led by volunteers after school.
“According to the flyer, the club will consist of science projects, puzzles, games, arts and crafts and outdoor nature activities. The club says it will help children learn benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creative expression and personal sovereignty,” The New York Post reported.
Flyers were sent to the school to be placed in the school lobbies like all other events. The school said the flyers were not distributed to individual children and no school teachers are involved in the club.
“This actually isn’t a club that’s meant to proselytize Satanism or even engage in discussions about religious opinion,” Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves told WQAD. “This is an educational program meant to focus on critical thinking and just basic education skills.”
“To illegally deny their organization (viewpoint) to pay to rent our publicly funded institution, after school hours, subjects the district to a discrimination lawsuit, which we will not win, likely taking thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars away from our teachers, staff, and classrooms,” Moline-Coal Valley Schools Superintendent Rachel Savage wrote.
Legally, she’s correct. If the group claims to be religious in nature, then it is legally able to function like any other religious club. The concern, however, is clear. The group seeks to gather children around the focus of Satan, a figure in religious traditions who represents evil.
Parents are understandably upset. What kind of people aligns themselves with Satan and targets young kids to join their ranks by creating an after school program under the guise of education and critical thinking skills? Though there may be legal grounds to allow it, that doesn’t mean it should succeed. The best thing that could happen is that the group attempts to hold its meetings and no one shows up.
Maybe better, a local Christian group could choose to meet at the same time and encourage children to gather for something better than focusing on the leader of all evil. Prayer may have been removed from schools long ago, but Christian groups still have the right to form after school clubs, too.
A large group of praying children (and parents for that matter) might just be what the school needs as it faces the formation of a Satan Club for its kids.
At the time our nation needs help the most, adding a Satan Club is definitely not the answer. America can and should do much better by looking at the founding values of the nation. The U.S. was not started by Satanists, but by Christians seeking religious freedom.
Still today, religious freedom, as well as freedom in all forms, is what makes America great among the nations of the world. When we forget that, we find ourselves facing problems of all kinds, whether a Satan Club at a local school or those who seeks to remove our freedom at the highest levels of government.