The Satanic Temple, of Salem, Massachusetts, has chapters in several states, and is launching a plan to expand nationwide – by invading public elementary schools with an after-school program.
Nine school districts across the country were hit up this week with requests for the program, and Lucien Greaves (whose real name is Doug Mesner), co-founder of the satanic temple, said if the requests are denied, his group will put up a tough legal fight. Eight of the nine districts already allow other religious clubs, operated by Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Clubs.
Greaves said the program will prove “that people can be of different religious opinions and still be moral, upright people.”
“We think that when kids are being exposed to the idea that they will burn in hell and other supernatural ideas, that there is a positive upshot to being exposed to the presence of a satanic afterschool program,” Greaves said. He claims Satanism is an atheist philosophy that “provides everything a religion provides to be legitimized as such.”
The group states that it wants to challenge “well-funded fundamentalist Christian organizations” that is believes are eroding the separation of church and state in public schools.
“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think,” Greaves said.
The schools are facing a dilemma, according to U.S. News & World Report:
In Utah, the Granite School District said that if the group meets set requirements, including paying rent, there’s nothing the district can do to stop it. District spokesman Ben Horsley said the group won’t be able to put up fliers in schools or talk to students during school hours, the same arrangement given to the Good News Club.
Springfield Public Schools in Missouri also said it was reviewing the group’s request. It noted that granting requests to use the district’s taxpayer-funded facilities “does not constitute the district’s endorsement.” The school district in Prince George’s County, Maryland, described a similar policy and noted parental permission was required for after-school activities.
The other districts are in Georgia, California, Florida, Oregon, Washington state and Arizona.
More about the motives and curriculum was reported by the Washington Post:
According to Mesner, who goes by the professional name of Lucien Greaves, “Satan” is just a “metaphorical construct” intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.
The curriculum for the proposed after-school clubs emphasizes the development of reasoning and social skills. The group says meetings will include a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project. Every child will receive a membership card and must have a signed parental permission slip to attend.
“We think it’s important for kids to be able to see multiple points of view, to reason things through, to have empathy and feelings of benevolence for their fellow human beings,” said the Satanic Temple’s Utah chapter head, who goes by the name Chalice Blythe.
Below is a promotional video the Satanic Temple is using to advertise the program.
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