As curriculum awareness continues to be an issue throughout the United States, parents are now sounding the alarm over the Satanic Temple (TST)’s efforts to create after-school clubs for students, worrying about the impact it may have on young children’s view of faith.
In December of last year, a TST “After-School Satan Club” was approved at a Virginia elementary school resulting in backlash from parents distributed by the push to indoctrinate young children into Satanism. Since then, TST has announced plans to create new clubs in New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, with religious advocates taking note of the trend.
Speaking to the Daily Caller over this issue, Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, said that a satanic club is the “antithesis of religion.”
“Groups like this have free speech rights, but Satanism is not a religion. The fact that there are more of these clubs popping up means kids are searching for something to believe in.”
According to experts like Delano Squires, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, the move to promote Satanic Temple in schools is a “concerning development in districts across the country,” she said to 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,” Squires told Daily Caller.”
On Twitter, TST argued that a future vote at a Virginia school would decide whether or not the club would be on “equal footing” with other religious clubs.
In a 2022 Reddit Post, shared by TST’s National Campaign Director June Everett, the organization said that students 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 program does not “attempt to convert children to any religious ideology” but that students are instructed in the tenets of TST.
Everett told a local news outlet that the organization’s religion is a “scientific, rationalist and non-superstitious worldview.”
According to the National Campaign Director, the purpose of the TST is to go to schools with other religious clubs to provide an alternative.
Officials familiar with TST’s religious beliefs and stances, like Family Research Council assistant director Arielle Del Turco, say that the goal of the organization is to undermine religion.
“It’s always a concern when people try to use kids to gain attention or legitimize themselves,” Del Turo told the Daily Caller.
“Treating The Satanic Temple as a religion undermines the credibility of religion and its role in American society, but that’s their point. 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.”
Experts like Del Turco and others said that the TST’s 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.”
Recently, TST said on a Twitter post that concerned parents who protested the Chesapeake club’s acceptance in Virginia with criminal activity.
“Unfortunately, some individuals made violent threats in response to our request to use school facilities and to be treated the same as other groups,” the post said.
“Anyone who has sought to block the After School Satan Club from meeting at B.M. Williams — even after the club and school were threatened should ask themselves why they are siding with criminal actors over children and families gathering in fellowship.”
Despite their announcement to expand their activities in schools throughout America, parent groups continue to raise concerns about The Satanic Temple, calling on state, local, and school officials to consider the impact the organization will have on students.
Additionally, other experts believe the presence of such an organization might turn students to God instead of away, with some turning towards the Bible to combat such religious practices.