There's a new kind of after-school club showing up in public high schools. They're called "Satan Clubs," and some say they're designed to compete with Christian clubs.
In his most recent article, Jordan Lorence, with Alliance Defending Freedom, says the creators of the "Satan Clubs" are just plain "jerks." Lorence has provided legal counsel and litigated cases around the nation regarding religious freedom and conscience protection laws.
"The people running new Satan Clubs to compete with Christian after-school clubs don't actually believe in Satan. They just want to be jerks to people who do," he said.
The Satanic Temple is behind the clubs but they aren't actually made up of people who worship Satan. Instead, they "reject all forms of supernaturalism and are committed to the view that scientific rationality provides the best measure of reality."
Lorence also outlines six facts about the Satanic Temple and the After School Satan Clubs.
- After-School Satan Clubs Don’t Worship Satan
- The Church of Satan Rejects Using Satanic Clubs in Public Schools
- Satan Clubs Could Jettison Girl Scouts and 4-H Clubs
- The Good News Club Decision Was Good for Everyone
- Satan Clubs Do Not Encourage Religious Tolerance
- Satan Clubs Raise Difficulties for Gay-Straight Alliances
First, leaders say that they have adopted the "Satan" moniker as a "metaphorical construct" intended to reject tyranny over the human mind.
According to reports, the clubs' activities do not include anything theological or spiritual, but they do include a literature lesson, creative learning activities, and a science lesson.
However, Lorence believes the main goal of the Satan clubs is to do whatever it takes to oppose Christian clubs.
While some people don't like the idea of these Satan clubs forming at their schools, Lorence says they have the same rights as other outside groups like the Girl Scouts and the 4-H Club.
"The First Amendment does not allow the government to exclude groups from meeting because of their viewpoint," he said.
Lorence also believes that by using the inflammatory name "Satan," creators are trying to provoke some school officials to close schools to all outside clubs in an effort to eliminate evangelical Christian groups.
He says these clubs don't seem to realize they have benefited from the court cases brought on behalf of Christian clubs, like the 2001 Supreme Court Good News Club decision. It basically said if you let one religion into the public schools, you have to let others in as well.
That, Lorence says, promotes, rather than stifles, diversity.
"The leader of the Satanic Temple acts as if the Christian Good News Clubs are the only religious entities meeting in public schools, and that the court victories they have won for freedom only benefit Christians," Lorence explained.
"By obsessively focusing only on Good News Clubs and the Establishment Clause, the Satanic Temple misses the big picture that many student groups, religious and non-religious, meet in public schools, so students need to learn how to tolerate their fellow classmates who do not share their beliefs," he said.
"So, After-School Satan Clubs have the right to meet in public schools," Lorence added, "But only on the same terms and conditions as everyone else. Also, its leaders should abandon their condescending attitudes towards fellow citizens with religious beliefs, and join with us to protect the dignity of all people to exercise their freedom of speech."