There’s now an After School Satan club in Utah, and we have evangelical Christians to thank for it.
The first open house took place on Wednesday at Vista Elementary School in Taylorsville, all because the school also plays host to a Christian club that works to convert children before they’re old enough to think for themselves:
The club, for children between the ages of 5 and 12, encourages students to think critically and have a scientific understanding of the world around them, according to Chalice Blythe, Utah chapter head for The Satanic Temple.
“Kids naturally have that ability to be curious and question things,” Blythe said. “We’re basically just saying we should bolster that.”
Blythe said Vista Elementary was chosen to host Utah’s After School Satan Club due to its central location within Salt Lake County, and because the school continues to rent space to religious groups such as the Good News Club, a program of the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
“If you are going to invite religion into schools you have to invite everybody,” Blythe said. “You can’t just say one is good and the other is bad.”
The school’s administration has already sent a letter to parents explaining that this is perfectly legal and they have no ability to stop it as long as the Satanists follow the rules.
Under the Utah Civic Center statute… schools are required to allow rental access to private entities or individuals if the use of the building conforms with appropriate guidelines.
To be clear, after school use by private organizations DOES NOT constitute access to students and no outside group or organization is able to advertise directly to students on school property or post anything in our schools to market their activities. Additionally, private rental programs and activities are NOT sponsored or endorsed by the school or district. If your student is approached on campus by ANY private group or rental tenant, please contact your principal immediately.
The backlash has been fierce, as you’d expect. A spokesperson for Child Evangelism Fellowship, Moises Esteves, said the Satanists were “compelled by their despise of God and despise of anything Christian.”
Not true. The ASS club is all about teaching kids to ask good questions and think critically. As I’ve said before the Seven Fundamental Tenets of The Satanic Temple are far more ethical than the whole of the Ten Commandments. The Good News Clubs are also disturbing for a whole host of reasons.
Some parents were so threatened by the club’s existence that they’re literally removing their kid from the school:
District spokesman Ben Horsley said Wednesday that parents of one student requested that the child be unenrolled from Vista Elementary because of the [After School Satan] club.
It’s not like Satanists are coming after the child. But if those parents are so opposed to teaching kids to ask questions, maybe public school isn’t for them…
Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves told me this club — and the one before it in Portland, Oregon — are just the beginning:
Since the mere idea of our after-school club was made public we’ve received endless messages from parents and educators looking to present our curriculum in school districts that currently harbor coercive, proselytizing evangelical clubs like the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club.
… By next school year, we’ll be prepared to offer our curriculum to a wide network of vetted volunteers for presentation in a significant percentage of the school districts that now have Good News Clubs…
When children are being placed into an after-school Good News Club as a type of daycare by unwitting parents who don’t realize that their children are being fed a fearful superstition of eternal, tortuous retribution for failure to follow a fundamentalist creed, we find it our duty to offer a counter-balance focused on critical-thinking, openly identified with a radically different religious opinion.
If you’d like to help The Satanic Temple achieve their goal of beginning these clubs in other schools, considering making a donation to their efforts.
(Thanks to Karl for the link)