American Christians are alarmed over an increasing number of After-School Satan Clubs.
The Satanic Temple has recently moved to open clubs at schools in Virginia, New York, Colorado and Pennyslvania which has attracted some protests and opposition.
It says “it does not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus.” That is often an evangelical Christian Good News Club.
It adds that After School Satan Clubs “provide a safe and inclusive alternative” to Christian-based groups that may seek to “convert school children to their belief system.”
In a social media post last year The Satanic Temple said that students in the clubs would be engaging in puzzles, games, arts and crafts, and nature activities while being taught “benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative expression, personal sovereignty, and compassion.”
The post claimed that the after-school program does not “attempt to convert children to any religious ideology” but that students are instructed in the tenets of The Satanic Temple.
It stressed it was a secular organisation and that its members do not actually believe in or worship the devil.
Christian organisations are worried about the impact of the clubs on young children’s views of faith.
The head of Concerned Women for America Penny Nance said a satanic club is the “antithesis of religion.”
She noted that the growth in these clubs means kids are looking for something to believe in.
The Family Research Council claims the goal of the satanists is to undermine religion and its role in American society.
Assistant Director Arielle Del Turco says: “It’s always a concern when people try to use kids to gain attention or legitimise themselves.”
“They are so desperate to advance a secular vision of society that they created a fake religion to challenge the role of Christianity in our public institutions,” she added.
Ms. Del Turco and others believe the children’s satan clubs are really trying to get schools to refuse them so that they could say they faced religious discrimination, allowing them to “push Christianity and other religions out of the public square.”
Delano Squires, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, observes the move to promote The Satanic Temple in schools is a “concerning development.”
He told the Daily Caller: “This group has no more ‘right’ to students and schools as a Neo-Nazi club demanding representation. Schools should use wisdom and discernment about decisions related to extracurricular activities.”
Some parents have withdrawn their children from a school in Virginia because it hosts an After School Satan Club.
Others have protested against a club at a regional New York school while a Pennsylvania school district could face a lawsuit for refusing a club access to school facilities following community concern.