KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After-school clubs appear to be the next venture of a national group that sought to install a statue of Satan outside two state capitols to protest Christian monuments on public grounds.
The Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple sent emails this week seeking to start clubs in nine school districts where religious groups offer after-school programs, most by the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves says the program would show “that people can be of different religious opinions and still be moral, upright people.”
Stu de Haan, attorney representing Satanic Temple, says it’s not to get children to worship the devil, but a non-Christian after school program for children, according to CNN.
“…So after school Satan Club is just an alternative for working parents who might not want their kid in that program for whatever reason, mainly that they might have a religious viewpoint that differs from the message the CEF is bringing,” said de Haan.
In the club’s Facebook post, they say that “After School Satan Clubs incorporate games, projects, and thinking exercises that help children understand how we know what we know about our world and our universe,” which would not be based on Christian religious beliefs. “Satanism is a religion that endorses scientific rationalism as our best model for understanding the natural world.”
Several districts said they were reviewing the group’s request. They noted their facilities were available to community groups.
A Christian legal aid group that has represented the Child Evangelism Fellowship says Greaves’ group is an “atheist group masquerading” as religious.
“The people behind the After School Satan Clubs are atheists, dressed up in scary costumes. This isn’t a satanist club. This isn’t a devil-worshiping club. These are atheists trying to scare parents with pitch fork and devil horns. It’s all designed to scare the community and ultimately to put pressure on the community to remove the Christian club,” said Moises Esteves of USA Ministries.