First Amendment

After-school Satan clubs are planned to counter Bible clubs

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Updated: The Satanic Temple is planning to introduce an “After School Satan Club” in elementary schools that will “focus on free inquiry and rationalism.”

The group wants to introduce the clubs at first in schools that host evangelical Good News Clubs, the Washington Post and Christian News report.

Rather than promoting devil worship, the Satanic Temple promotes scientific rationality, according to the Post. Children will have to get a signed slip from their parents to attend Satan club meetings, which will include literature and science lessons, art projects, puzzles and snacks.

Satanic Temple co-founder Doug Mesner, who goes by the name Lucien Greaves, sarcastically thanks the religious litigation group Liberty Counsel for bringing opening the doors to after-school religion clubs. The Satanic Temple points to a 2001 Supreme Court case, Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, which found that a school district violated the First Amendment by excluding after-hours meetings of the Good News Club.

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman, commented in a Washington Post interview. “I would definitely oppose after-school Satanic clubs, but they have a First Amendment right to meet,” he said. “I suspect, in this particular case, I can’t imagine there’s going to be a lot of students participating in this. It’s probably dust they’re kicking up and is likely to fade away in the near future for lack of interest.”

In a later press release, however, Staver suggests a reason to ban the Satanic Temple’s after hours club. “The so-called Satanist group has nothing good to offer the students and its entire reason for existence is to be disruptive,” Staver says in the press release. “Schools do not have to tolerate groups which disrupt the school and target other legitimate clubs.”

The press release says Liberty Counsel has offered pro bono assustance to school’s “targeted by this disruptive group.”

Updated at 12:50 p.m. to include information from the Liberty Counsel press release.

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