The Satanic Temple (TST), a political activist group comprised of mostly Atheists, recently announced the launch of an “after-school Satan Club” at an elementary school in Connecticut.
The club plans to meet at Lebanon Elementary School beginning next month, which happens to be one of the most consequential months for both Christian and Jewish individuals, as both commemorate religious holidays in the month of December.
Despite the organization’s name, TST’s official website denies the existence of both God and Satan. The group has claimed that the club’s purpose is easily misinterpreted by parents. “We do not worship the devil. We’re not sacrificing goats or babies. We are simply having equal access to the space that we have a right to,” June Everett, the campaign director for the after-school program of TST said.
The “right” Everett referred to originates from a 2001 Supreme Court ruling (Good News Club v. Milford Central School) which enabled Good News Club, a Christian group, to meet on school grounds after hours. Although, some have pointed out that TST does facilitate abortions at its clinic.
“We do not believe any religious organization should be operating out of our public schools but if they have the right to be there, then we would like to be there as well for our members and our families,” Everett said.
Despite the group’s opinion regarding the legality of their actions, parents in the area have largely criticized their ability to gather on school property and solicit children in elementary school to take part in a Satan-focused club.
One mother and member of a local Lebanon parent group told WFSB that the club is trying to catch unsuspecting young children and “steer them away from religion.” The parent added that TST is allowed to operate like a religious institution, despite the group denying all claims of religious association.
Lebanon Public School Superintendent Andrew Gonzales released a statement, insisting that the district “must allow” the satanic organization to access school facilities.”
“The Lebanon Public Schools (LPS) allows outside organizations to use LPS facilities, in accordance with Board Policy 1007. As such, LPS must allow community organizations to access school facilities, without regard to the religious, political or philosophical ideas they express, as long as such organizations comply with the viewpoint-neutral criteria set forth in the policy. Not everyone will agree with, or attend meetings of, every group that is approved to use school facilities. However, prohibiting particular organizations from accessing our school buildings based on the perspectives they offer or express could violate our obligations under the First Amendment and other applicable law and would not align with our commitment to non-discrimination, equal protection and respect for diverse viewpoints.”
This piece first appeared at TPUSA.