After-School Satan Clubs in our elementary schools? You can’t make this up!

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TSD education columnist Curtis Weathers

When the news broke that Chimneyrock Elementary School in Cordova would be hosting an after-school club called the After-School Satan Club, I was taken aback.

The news of their intent elicited immediate and profound concern among parents, school administrators, and the broader faith community.

The organizer, an organization known as The Satanic Temple, has tried to downplay the club’s incendiary name and imagery by highlighting wholesome child-friendly activities like toy drives and book clubs or advocating for noble principles like justice and scientific inquiry.

For the record, I am a Christian, and I believe in all that is written in the Bible about the existence of the fallen angel Satan.

However, this was my first time hearing about the Satanic Temple and its afterschool program. But I’ve learned over the years that if you live long enough on this earth, and you get to a point when you think you have seen or heard it all, along comes a program like The Satanic Temple’s After-School Satan Club to remind you there is still more to come in life that can shock the senses.

I never thought in a million years I would see a satanic organization openly and brazenly set up shop in an elementary school building with the intent of indoctrinating elementary school children with satanic beliefs disguised as fun and wholesome educational activities.

You simply cannot make this stuff up!

Already active in a handful of states – Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, California, and Michigan, the Satanic Temple’s After-School Satan Club is scheduled to begin recruiting children and families at Chimneyrock as soon as next month when students return from the holiday break.

The After School Satan Club’s sponsors claim they do not believe in Satan as a magical or spiritual being, but instead use the name as a metaphor for opposing mainstream religions.

According to its website, the church’s mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.”

Sounds harmless, right?

Let’s be clear, though, packaging activities and lessons under the dark banner of “Satan” cannot be sensibly justified in an elementary school setting, nor should it be passively tolerated.

Regardless of The Satanic Temple’s desire to minimize overt spiritual elements or suggest they do not actually worship evil, the decision to invoke Satan in shaping young minds is reckless and an unnecessary distraction that stands to confuse impressionable young boys and girls during pivotal developmental years.

As Christians, we are taught that Satan is a liar; in fact, he is referred to in scripture as “the father of lies” (John 8:44).

This Prince of Darkness, Satan, embodies the polar opposite of the virtues Chimneyrock Elementary teachers and families strive to model for students daily.

While school leaders have indicated they are constitutionally bound to allow this club equal access, this does not mean public criticism or calls for greater discernment around approving such programming is unwarranted.

Memphis-Shelby County Schools Interim Superintendent Toni Williams addressed the new after-school program, making it clear that she and district leaders vehemently oppose everything about this program even though they can do nothing legally to prevent them from moving forward.

During the meeting at the School Board, she and board President Althea Green made it clear that they did not endorse the organization nor support their beliefs.

“I do, however, support the law,” Williams said, “and as superintendent, I am duty-bound to uphold our board policy, state laws, and the Constitution.”

Satan is the most prominent symbol of evil there is on the entire planet and has no role in the hallways and classrooms of our schools.

Parents already have voiced concerns that merely associating Satan’s name with otherwise normal activities like science projects or art classes risks subtly shifting children’s moral orientation over time, even if it is unintentional.

No matter how wholesome the sponsors of this program try to portray their satanic after-school program, it is in no way in the best interest of our children to support or encourage their participation.

The school district may be limited in what it can do legally to prevent this organization from operating in our schools, but that does not prevent parents and community members from monitoring its activities and/or vehemently opposing and protesting its existence.

So, while facing legal challenges and public backlash across the United States, after School Satan Clubs will continue their efforts to secure space in elementary schools in the United States and across North America.

More locations may emerge as they pursue additional applications, but they should not be allowed to operate without persistent oversight, monitoring, and passionate protest.

(Follow me, TSD’s education columnist, on Twitter @curtisweathers. Email me at [email protected].)