A Satanic Temple Club for Kids is Not a Good Idea — Here’s Why

AfterSchoolSatanBy now, everyone has heard about the Satanic Temple’s attempt to start an after-school program in elementary schools in order to fight back against evangelical Christian groups like the Good News Club.  As the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, I’m 100% in favor of taking on the Good News Club and their emotionally abusive practices, and I’ve done so on multiple occasions.  We started Young Skeptics as a secular alternative to the GNC, and continue to work toward national expansion of the program, despite what was reported in Hemant Mehta’s article last week saying we “haven’t gained much traction.”  We will be ready to open new chapters nationally in January.

When we came up with the idea for Young Skeptics, we toyed with the idea of an atheism club, but knowing these kids are anywhere from 6 to 12 years old, we felt it was inappropriate to do that for a number of reasons:

  1. We feel religion, and discussions of faith or lack thereof, belong at home and in religious institutions, not in public schools.
  2. Trying to get kids to sign up for a program about atheism (or satan) would be a waste of time and effort.  It’s extremely rare for a child to identify him/herself as an atheist, so we’d be severely limiting the pool of interested students.
  3. We’d be perceived as no better than the evangelical groups, targeting children for indoctrination.
  4. Children who signed up and attended (if any) would be subject to bullying, harassment, and aggressive proselytizing by their Christian friends and/or classmates with a negative view of atheism (or satanism).

The fourth bullet may be the most important.  By opposing the Good News Club, we are standing up against the bullying and intimidating tactics used by the GNC.  But asking kids to sign up for a club that would subject them to ostracism could be just as harmful.  If our goal is to provide an environment for our kids to allow them to feel safe, then introducing a Satanic Temple Club is the wrong move.

Regardless of the content of the Satanic Temple’s curriculum, they will be perceived as teaching satanism the way Christians perceive it — evil deeds, animal sacrifices, etc. It sucks, but that’s just the way it is.  Perception is reality, and we all know many Christians aren’t exactly big into research.

If our goal is to fight back against the Good News Club by offering an alternative club for kids that focuses on critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning, so they have the tools to fight off indoctrination (and other false claims) on their own, then we should work toward religiously-unaffiliated clubs like Young Skeptics.

I get it.  The Satanic Temple wants to make waves so high that they ruffle the feathers of the Good News Club and its supporters, so much so that they pull out of schools or get kicked out.  But with over 3500 clubs in public schools in the US, I don’t see that happening.  More likely, I envision the Satanic Temple’s clubs to open in a handful of schools thanks to legal precedent, but failing to bring in attendees and eventually fading away — ultimately seen by evangelicals as a victory for Christians against evil satanic forces (despite what the clubs are actually about).

 


Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

View all posts by Kevin Davis →

9 thoughts on “A Satanic Temple Club for Kids is Not a Good Idea — Here’s Why

  1. 3500 clubs in the US that are brainwashing with fear and self loathing. I don’t care HOW people fight it. Bring in a Mulsim Koran Study Group. Have a Gluten Free Pastafarian Fri group. Ferfuxake, The Church Of Curt Colbain. Anything to end the cristo-bigots from having a monopoly. And the point is the Satanic Temple does not want to fly under the radar of the church(s) they WANT the fear and pearl clutching. At least I DO. I want these jesus kissers to be shown as exactly what they are, a bunch of superstisious religious bigots that want to steal the minds of people’s kids. Edit: Oh and to your point about Kids being bullied if they go to ASSC, REALLY! You think we should let the possiblity of christ humpers bullying kids STOP the club? Come on! Guess all the Jews in those schools should just quietly go home. Nope. The ASSC is showing the world that the fascists for christ are finally getting challenged.

  2. Agreed. If the purpose of these counter-clubs has nothing to do with Satan, why use Satan’s name? Shock value can only hurt the cause when nobody wants to join; I doubt that schools will permit any club (religious or not) to meet if it doesn’t have enough members.

      1. I know that; the temple members know that; but the parents of most grade-school/middle-school kids don’t know that. It’s ultimately those parents who decide which clubs their kids can join: “I’m not so sure, son…if they don’t actually believe in it then why is there a devil on the brochure and ‘Satan’ in the name? We’d better not spook our neighbors or the baby-sitter; they still go to church even if we don’t.”

        1. That’s not really the point, which is to apply a wrench to the GNC networks and force schools to either admit their own hypocrisy, allow the Satan club, or ban all religious-based clubs from secular schools.

          That last one is the real goal. If some kids learn critical thinking skills along the way, that’s a bonus.

  3. There won’t be many kids signing up for this club. I’m an atheist, I agree with its goals, and do not believe in Satan, but I wouldn’t be in it.

    But that’s not the point.This is about forcing schools and parents to see the absurdity of putting these religious clubs into the school.

  4. So..how long are we going to allow the Christians to do their thing, and at the same time get upset with the “heathens” for doing the same? They know full well that if they do not indoctrinate kids, religion will go away within a generation. Are we seriously thinking we should simply surrender? Should we go back to keeping our mouths shut and go along to avoid the issues?

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