Published: Fresh U. August 5, 2016. Viewable here.
Unlike in horror flicks such as Rosemary’s Baby – where worshippers of Satan kept their philosophy under wraps – “After School Satan” clubs might be coming to a public school near you, a piece of news which has caused quite a stir already.
The Satanic Temple has recently contacted school districts across the nation in the hopes of establishing after school clubs.
“Fundamentalist Christian organizations are trying to turn public schools into indoctrination camps for children,” The Satanic Temple published on their website. “With millions in funding and a team of aggressive lawyers, they have been successfully eroding the separation of Church and State. Your donation will allow us to expand our campaign to undermine their efforts and enable us to continue to advance campaigns that protect religious pluralism and defend personal sovereignty.”
The organization released a promotional video for the “Educatin’ with Satan program” – which does look to be akin to something out of Rosemary’s Baby – and, if so inclined, donations to the efforts can be contributed here.
Although the idea of a literal, publicly-accepted Satan club seems outlandish, public schools may have no choice but to agree.
According to the Equal Access Act, it is “unlawful for any public secondary school which receives Federal financial assistance … to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.”
However unappealing the idea sounds, schools may be legally bound to allow the presence of such a club, much to the chagrin of some of those involved in school activities.
According to the Washington Post, Jay Howard-Brock, the former PTA president of Bradbury Heights Elementary School, a school in one of the districts The Satanic Temple has reached out to, had quite a different reaction to the proposed “After School Satan” club as she had with the news that an Evangical “Good News Club” had been established at the school she volunteered at.
“In the times that we live in now, and all that’s going on with our children, (a Good News Club) is a positive thing,” Brock told The Post. “(An ‘After School Satan’ club is) going to be a distraction. We should just abolish groups like that from being on school premises, because it just may offend someone. The kids really need to focus on the education piece.”
By proposing seemingly extreme ideas like the creation of Satanic cubs, The Satanic Temple is attempting to destroy the double-standard that philosophical ideas of differing popularities be treated separately in matters regarding the blurring of lines in the church/state debate. When The Satanic Temple proposed a statue “Baphomet” be erected at the Oklahoma State Capitol – as a direct response to the Ten Commandments statue which was placed there in 2012 – they spoke of the broad message their actions were meant to imply.
“Our feeling is, more religious display doesn’t solve the fundamental problem that the government is wading into the religious realm,” The Satanic Temple told Vice. “Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate and both the religious and the non-religious should be happy with such an outcome. Our mission is to bring people together by finding common sentiments that create solutions that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.”
If you find yourself worried over an “After School Satan” club, think about your response to a Christian-affiliated club in a public school – then ask yourself if either should be there in the first place.