In news that should belong in The Onion or Babylon Bee we see The Satanic Temple announced they that are launching a program to counter Good News Clubs, part of the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, and the evangelism that takes place in through those clubs. The name of their after school program? After School Satan Clubs.
I kid you not.
They plan to launch clubs in elementary schools in or near Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, Pensacola, FL Portland, OR, Salt Lake City, UT, Seattle, WA, Springfield, MO, Tuscon, AZ, and Washington, DC.
“School districts across the nation have received letters from The Satanic Temple explaining that we will be offering our clubs in their schools this coming school year, and parents in those schools can expect to be presented with a permission slip from their children in the first weeks of the Fall semester. All of the districts we’ve approached are nearby to local chapters of The Satanic Temple, and each school district has hosted, or is now hosting, Good News Clubs in their schools,” Doug Mesner aka Lucien Graves, spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, said in a released statement. “This being the case, 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, nor are they at liberty to deny us any level of representation in the schools that they afford to other school clubs — such as fliers, tables, brochures, and school-wide announcements. We would like to thank the Liberty Counsel, specifically, for opening the doors of public schools to the After School Satan Club through their dedication to religious liberty.”
Elaborating the mission of the After School Satan Clubs, Greaves states, “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. While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling them with a fear of Hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”
Oh shoot if they’re concerned about science doesn’t science class actually cover that? You mean they aren’t going to do animal sacrifices or chant incantations?
Greaves’ description of what the Good News Clubs actually do is a gross mischaracterization. You can’t avoid discussing sin when explaining the Gospel, but what their description avoids is God’s love and grace shown through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. They also focus on character development as well.
Greaves also says that the Good News Clubs robs kids of a positive self-image. Yes I can see how hearing “God loves you” and “God created you” would totally do that. Give me a break.
The promo video is, as you would expect, creepy which I’m *sure* will attract gobs of kids and parents.
This is obviously a publicity stunt aimed at protesting what the group, whose focus is primarily political, sees as a violation the establishment clause.
On June 11, 2001, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that Child Evangelism Fellowship could have access to public school facilities to conduct Good News Clubs. The decision stated that Bible clubs such as the Good News Club must be given the same access to school facilities accorded any other non-school-related outside group.
In Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a public school which allows use of its facilities to secular groups may not discriminate against religious groups. The Good News Club case involved an adult-initiated and adult-led after-school religious club sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Unlike Child Evangelism Fellowship, The Satanic Temple appears to just have a political agenda. Even if these clubs are allowed it’s doubtful they’ll last or be well attended. What I am concerned about is that schools could end access to all groups just to avoid this publicity nightmare from happening.