If you happen to live in an American school district with Christian after-school programs, a competing Satanic alternative may soon be showing up. The Satanic Temple is once again challenging religious preference in government institutions, and this time their target is the educational sector.
In the past, the organization earned a lot of press for illustrating how religious statues and monuments in state houses violate the constitution unless competing religions are also allowed to put up their own displays of faith. The temple has several giant Satanic statues of Baphometat at the ready, but for some reason, many capital buildings would rather remove their existing Christian statues than allow the Satanic ones on their property.
Now, the Satanic Temple will try the same approach to combat evangelical after-school programs. Religious after-school programs in public schools used to be rare because the establishment clause in the Constitution prohibited them. But after a 2001 lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court and determined that religious free speech was being denied, the floodgates opened. There are now more than 3,500 religious after-school programs run by the Child Evangelism Fellowship alone.
So, what will the Satanic alternative to Christian after-schools look like? It’s surprisingly lacking in devil worship. Via the Washington Post:
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.
The curriculum for the proposed after-school clubs emphasizes the development of reasoning and social skills. The group says meetings will include a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project. Every child will receive a membership card and must have a signed parental permission slip to attend.
You can learn more about the program at the amusingly named AfterSchoolSatan.com website. No word on if the Satanic Temple wants people to sign over their souls … it wouldn’t be the first time they did something like that. But by using the same laws established by Evangelical Christians to try and get Satanism into schools, the Satanic Temple exposes how such groups are only actually cool with religious freedom of speech when it’s their religion that gets to do the speaking.
(Via The Washington Post)