A Satanist group said it’s planning to start after-school clubs at two Washington schools this fall.
The Satanic Temple said it’s bringing the After-School Satan club to schools across the country that now host the evangelical Christian Good News Club, including Centennial Elementary in Mount Vernon and Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma.
Tarkus Claypool, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple’s Seattle chapter, said the Good News Club indoctrinates children into superstitious, fear-based religion.
In contrast, Claypool said, "We’re indoctrinating them into scientific, logical, rationalist, non-superstitious worldview. The program includes an art project and a curriculum that is based in free inquiry.”
Claypool said that is the Satanic Temple’s philosophy, rather than devil-worship.
The Satanic Temple focuses on children's well-being at school. A current campaign is to end corporal punishment in schools. It got its start during the Bush Administration as a response to the former president's creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, one of its founders, Malcolm Jarry, told The New York Times last year. Jarry is a pseudonym.
“I thought, ‘There should be some kind of counter,’” Jarry said.
The label isn’t just for shock value or marketing, the founders said. One said he finds “special meaning in Satanism, which represents to him the solidarity of outsiders, those judged and excluded by the mainstream.”
A spokesman for Tacoma Public Schools said that any such club would be vetted by the district’s legal team.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution allows Good News Clubs to meet on school grounds.
The Satanic Temple opposes religion in the schoolhouse, but says if it’s allowed, the same privilege must be granted to all religions.
Its website says that it aims to place an After-School Satan Club "in every school where the Good News Clubs, or other proselytizing religious groups, have established a presence."
The website for After-School Satan says that children play games and do projects in this club. “Thinking exercises that help children understand how we know what we know about our world.”
There are clubs in eight states, according to the site: Maryland, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, California, Utah, Oregon and Missouri.