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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that schools which allow after school programs cannot discriminate against speech that takes place within those programs based on their beliefs. This case was originally brought by Good News Clubs that were being discriminated against in some schools because of their Christian message.
When that decision came down, the Satanic Temple decided that they didn’t want the Good News Clubs to go unchallenged, so, in 2016, they developed their own after school program and called their groups Satan Clubs. Interestingly, it seems that they currently refer to them as ASSC (After School Satan Club) – probably because the name Satan Club really doesn’t resonate well with the general pubic (much like when Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded to KFC when fried foods began to get a bad rap).
It should be noted that, in spite of the name, the Satanic Temple has no connection with Satan worship, and the after school Satan Club concept does not promote Satan worship. The Satanic Temple is actually an Atheist organization, and they do not believe in God or Satan. The name is really more of a publicity stunt. They describe themselves a “a non-theistic religion recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a church – that is, an Atheist organization organized as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. The “church” views Satan as a literary figure who represents a ‘metaphorical construct of rejecting tyranny and championing the human mind and spirit.’”
And, seemingly, the stunt works. It definitely gets them a lot of publicity. I have written before on Satan Clubs at: http://www.marketfaith.org/2022/04/a-christian-response-to-after-school-satan-clubs/ and http://www.marketfaith.org/2016/08/the-satanic-temple-goes-after-elementary-schools/.
When it comes to the Satan Clubs, they promote themselves by asserting that they “will not attempt to convert students to any religious ideology. Instead, the Satanic Temple encourages children to ‘think for themselves.’” Their program provides teachers (those who lead the clubs) with fun activities centered on their seven fundamental tenets: benevolence, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative expression, personal sovereignty, and compassion. Their activities include playing games, solving puzzles, and other educational activities where the kids choose what they want to learn.
The Satanic Temple currently claims to have clubs in California, Connecticut, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Seemingly, they were running in eight schools in 2022, but are down to four in 2023. Even with so few, the reach of their clubs may still be a bit overstated. When they first started, only one school, in Tacoma, Washington, ever served any students. It taught a single child from a nearby school once per month from December 2016 to June 2017. That program did not return the following year. Overall, participation is almost non-existent. There is just no real interest in them beyond a stray atheist parent here and there who wants to make a statement.
In its latest attempt, a new club is to be started in Tennessee. This one was requested by a single parent in Cordova, Tennessee, at Chimneyrock Elementary School. It’s scheduled meet in the school library starting January 10, 2024, but it is unknown, at the time of this writing, what will result. Generally, when one of these is started, it gets a lot of publicity with a huge amount of blowback. This case is no exception.
Legally, the clubs are allowed to operate. Practically, though, there is virtually no interest.
When these do pop up, there is a particular response Christians ought to give – and this response is different from what usually happens in real life. The usual response can typically be called hysteria. Both kids and parents tend to go crazy thinking the Satan Clubs actually teach about Satan. As was mentioned above, this is not the case. There is not even a hint of actual Satan veneration associated with this group because they simply don’t believe in Satan.
The reality, though, is just as bad – or maybe worse. They are Christian hating Atheists, and their purpose is to promote Atheism. They do it, though, under the guise that they are completely non-sectarian – which is not true. Atheism is just as much a religious belief as Christianity.
Thus, the Christian response to this should not be hysteria, but Christian witness. These people need Christ. The evidence for the truth of Atheist beliefs is ZERO. Christians who understand a biblical worldview vs. atheistic Naturalism know exactly how to debunk those false beliefs. The only way false beliefs will ever be defeated is with true beliefs.
If you are looking for resources to help you in your journey down this road, check out:www.marketfaith.org and http://www.marketfaith.org/worldview-resources. And also feel free to contact MarketFaith Ministries.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth Mirage, Rules for Christians Radicals, Liberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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