The only after school program I had as a kid was breaking bottles down by the crick… but 2017’s kids have a range of edifying après-elementary school choices, from Drama Club to Mathletes to Bible societies. Now, thanks to The Satanic Temple, school kids can attend After School Satan club too. METAL! Since they launched their After School Satan program in December, clubs have opened in schools across the country, from Georgia to Los Angeles.
Naturally, I was excited to enroll my many children in these programs — they need the kind of help only Beezlebub can bring — but it turns out After School Satan’s curriculum doesn’t include any rituals for summoning, controlling, and/or being eaten by demons. Instead of occult blood sacraments, group meetings include “a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project.”
Wait… I smell a ripoff here. TST doesn’t even believe in Satan! They’re atheists who say they “prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting otherworldly horrors.” But if my kids can’t fear otherworldly horrors, what can they fear? Cancer?
Like all of the Satanic Temple’s initiatives, the real issue here is the separation of Church and State. TST is using Satan partially as a symbol and partially as a provocation. It’s a way of illustrating the importance of the government staying out of the worship business altogether — by choosing the “scariest” god of all and demanding it be given equally treatment to the “good” one.
The After School Satan Clubs were inspired by a 2001 court decision, whereby a Christian program, The Good News Club, was allowed to proselytize to public school kids. After School Satan aims to give those same kids a choice, and uses Satan as a stand-in for rejection of intellectual tyranny. That’s why the After School Satan program is only available at schools that also host a Good News Club program.
As Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves put it, “We would like to thank the Liberty Counsel specifically for opening the doors to the After School Satan Clubs through their dedication to religious liberty… So, ‘the Satanic Temple leverages religious freedom laws that put after-school clubs in elementary schools nationwide.’ That’s going to be the message.”
Not everyone seems to be getting the message, of course. Amusing protests have been organized and petitions signed, with religious types tying themselves in knots trying to argue that it’s alright for kids to attend a God-based after-school group, but not a Satanic one.
Critics point out that the After School Satan Club is designed to…
- Deny the existence of God
- Reject the idea of eternal punishment for evil or reward for good
- Foster unconcern for sin and Hell
- Replace Christian charity with atheistic humanitarianism
- Oppose Christian clubs in public schools
…and they’re protesting these goals? Seriously?
Exposing that kind of religious double-standard is a main goal of the TST — whether it’s erecting awesome statues of Baphomet outside courthouses that display the Ten Commandments, or petitioning for the right to read Satanic prayers at City Council meetings that allow Christian prayers.
For the most part, the courts have been squarely on The Satanic Temple’s side. The big legal test, though, could be coming up; with more and more conservatives agitating for religious exceptions to laws like providing access to birth control or issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, the Satanic Temple is asking for its own exceptions.
For example: In Texas, a new law requires fetal tissue to be buried or cremated — but the Satanists argue that its members should be exempt from the practice because “These rules were not enacted to promote health and safety, but rather to harass and burden women who terminate their pregnancies.” They are seeking exception to state-mandated laws that force pro-life literature on women seeking abortions, too.
If you live in one of the 31 states that allow capital punishment or solitary confinement of children, you should move, right now. But failing that, you can claim your Satanic religion does not allow for The State to lock your children up in a tiny room or beat the shit out of them.
[NOTE: I approached Satan himself for comment, but he did not answer my repeated request, no matter how carefully I painted the pentagram.]