An Illinois school district is defending an “After School Satan Club” amid an outcry because we are not yet at the point in the degradation of religious life in America where parents are comfortable with their elementary school students being invited to join a club named for the adversary of mankind.
The extracurricular club is being organized by the Satanic Temple, which is wont to cook up such schemes as part of its broader mission to essentially thumb its nose at Christianity in public life by trying to create literally God-less alternatives. This is basically how members would describe it — they do not profess to worship Satan.
What can easily be described as an activist group designed to troll Christians, the Satanic Temple instead works to get Baphomet statues erected on public property, file lawsuits to protect legalized abortion in the name of the religious right to “abortion rituals,” and organize clubs in public schools like the aforementioned “After School Satan Club.”
The New York Post reported that volunteers will be running the program at Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline, Illinois, which aims to “help children learn benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creative expression and personal sovereignty.”
“Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism,” the group says on its website. “After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us.”
“We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors,” they add, also explaining that they only believe in Satan as a “mythical figure representing individual freedom.”
Flyers for the club, which were placed in school lobbies, raised alarm, prompting Moline-Coal Valley Schools Superintendent Rachel Savage to issue a letter assuring parents that “no teachers from Jane Addams, or any other district teacher, is involved” and that “flyers were not distributed to all students.”
A teacher who reached out to the Satanic Temple was told that since the school already offered a “child evangelism fellowship club,” the group wanted “to offer parents a choice of different viewpoints,” according to Savage, who also noted that the board of education allows school facilities to be used by community groups and churches.
Would you object to a ‘Satan Club’ at your child’s school?
“To illegally deny their organization … to pay to rent our publicly funded institution, after school hours, subjects the district to a discrimination lawsuit, which we will not win, likely taking thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars away from our teachers, staff, and classrooms,” she explained.
This is, of course, exactly what the Satanic Temple argues — that as a deliberately faux religion, it ought to be taken as seriously as Christianity is.
There are a few problems with this.
The After School Satan Club aims to introduce kids to things like free inquiry, scientific reasoning, critical thinking and rationality apart from religion. Contrary to the Satanic Temple’s suggestion, these things can and should be part of a religion-based education, and certainly are in this Christian mama’s homeschool curriculum.
These kids are enrolled in public school, where one would assume — or at the very least hope — that they are already being given the tools to think and reason for themselves in such a manner.
The Satanic Temple’s stated goal is to present alternatives to Christianity in public life, but it rather ironically undermines its own aim by offering children nothing that can’t coexist with a Christian worldview — other than the satanic imagery and determination not to think about the supernatural or eternal.
Here’s the thing about its commitment to saving children from a “fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors”: The Christian faith offers real salvation from these horrors and posits that they exist whether we acknowledge them or not.
What anti-theists have long misunderstood about Christianity is that its adherents do not condemn non-believers to everlasting otherworldly horror — they seek to save them from it. It is no great act of compassion to spare a child the knowledge of his eternal fate apart from Christ.
Meanwhile, the commitment to offering children an educational alternative to Christianity is moot, as God has largely been stricken from public school classrooms. A schooling free of the influence of the great canon of classical Christian philosophy is basically all that public education can now hope to be, and all that the Satanic Temple aims for, anyway.
We can certainly surmise from the growing popularity of homeschooling that many, many Americans agree with yours truly that ridding education of the great theistic traditions has had unsettling results.
Anti-Christians often totally miss that the First Amendment protects the church from the government; it is hardly the other way around.
The God of the Bible, while certainly perceived differently by different Founding Fathers, is nonetheless the God in whom our nation has long professed to trust, and faith in him has always influenced the decisions Americans make about how to legislate, govern and educate. We’d be far better off with a lot more of this, not less.
There may be millions of Americans who no longer fear God, but it simply has not been possible to cleanly remove him from public life because doing so would undermine the founding of our nation to begin with.
The lack of faith has left a gaping wound in American civic life, and the trajectory of the last several decades in which we’ve banished God from our midst supplies ample evidence that it has not done anyone any good (except maybe abortionists, pornographers and human traffickers, but I digress).
No matter how popular the animus toward religion has gotten today, it is impossible to divorce this animus from the values that gave us our freedom in the first place, as those values are based on the existence of God.
Christian after-school clubs offer children hope, a sense of purpose in something greater than themselves and a framework to understand who they are — that is, they offer the knowledge of God. This doesn’t run counter to a rich education or the ability to be a compassionate and independent member of society — it greatly enhances them!
What does a belief system centered on plain defiance to God offer children but more animus toward the one who made them and who offers them salvation from the bonds of sin and death?
In this writer’s humble opinion, absolutely nothing at all. No worldview can be truly rational when it is built on the void.
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