CLAIM

A group called the Satanic Temple wants to establish After School Satan Clubs in public schools to introduce children to the "religion of darkness." See Example(s)

EXAMPLES
Collected via Facebook, August 2016

Fb posting says that there is a group called the After School Satan Club that is trying to get established in public schools. True or false?


When I used teach Teaching Children Effectively courses, the question would sometimes come up about the possibility of Satan clubs. I believed then that it would never happen because Satanism is a religion of darkness and that they would not operate in the light of day. But it looks like they are going to promote their religion of darkness and evil in the light of day. Oh Christians, rise up and defend you children — all children — from this evil!


Are you serious….. we let them take God out of schools and we are letting satan worship after schools. What kind of subliminal msgs will be left behind for your children to see. Better yet has tax payers agreed to this wo pay for these schools to be open. Who pay for light, AC, water, toilets. This is the craziest thing yet. What is happening.

MIXTURE

RATING

MIXTURE

WHAT'S TRUE

An organization called the Satanic Temple seeks to institute After School Satan Clubs in public elementary schools to counter what they see as religious "indoctrination" by Christian programs such as the Good News Club.

WHAT'S FALSE

After School Satan Clubs are aimed at teaching children to believe in a supernatural being named Satan and perform Satanic rituals.

ORIGIN

In late July 2016, the Washington Post and other mainstream media reported that a New York-based group called the Satanic Temple was petitioning public school administrators around the U.S. to allow the introduction of After School Satan Clubs in elementary schools. The Temple’s co-founder, Doug Mesner (aka Lucien Greaves), an atheist, said the group’s agenda is to promote multiple points of view and was conceived of in response to the proliferation in schools of Good News Clubs, which promote evangelical Christianity:

“While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism,” Greaves said. “We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of an everlasting other-worldly horror.”

Some on social media reacted to the news by expressing their fears about children being taught to worship the devil and participate in Satanic rituals, but the Satanic Temple — whose activities are described as a “blend of political activism, religious critique and performance art” — does not subscribe to or promote a literal belief in the devil, the Washington Post explained:

The Satanic Temple doesn’t espouse a belief in the existence of a supernatural being that other religions identify solemnly as Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. The Temple rejects all forms of supernaturalism and is committed to the view that scientific rationality provides the best measure of reality.

According to Mesner, who goes by the professional name of Lucien Greaves, “Satan” is just a “metaphorical construct” intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.

Those who do subscribe to a literal belief in Satan may find the group’s “promotional video” somewhat disturbing, however, in that it incorporates well-known tropes associated with devil worship in pop culture, such as Satanic symbolism, demonic music, backmasking and horror film sound effects:

In case it isn’t sufficiently obvious, there’s a political dimension to the After School Satan Club campaign, namely spotlighting the encroachment of religion into public schools in the form of the Good News Clubs, of which there are thousands across the U.S.:

Greaves is blunt: “We are only doing this because Good News Clubs have created a need for this. If Good News Clubs would operate in churches rather than public schools, that need would disappear. But our point is that if you let one religion into the public schools you have to let others, otherwise it’s an establishment of religion.”

The Satanic Temple’s seven fundamental tenets, which include “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason,” and “The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend,” are listed on the group’s web site.

Sources:

Bugbee, Shane.  “Unmasking Lucien Greaves, Leader of the Satanic Temple.”
  Vice.  29 July 2013.

Stewart, Catherine.  “An After School Satan Club Could Be Coming to Your Kid’s Elementary School.”
  The Washington Post.  30 July 2016.