Officials Respond to Backlash From ‘After School Satan Club’ Flier at Elementary School

A school district in Illinois had to do some damage control after parents voiced concerns over a new club being offered on school grounds—the “After School Satan Club.”

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the fliers were hung at Jane Addams Elementary for the club that is open to students grades 1-5.

The controversial club posting is not sponsored by the school district itself but rather The Satanic Temple—a national religious and human rights group, the Belleville News-Democrat said.

Not to be confused with the Church of Satan, the Satanic Temple told WQAD that the club “actually isn’t a club that’s meant to proselytize Satanism or even engage in discussions about religious opinion,” Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said.

“This is an educational program meant to focus on critical thinking and just basic education skills,” he said.

The Satanic Temple’s mission, as stated on their website, is to “encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.”

In December, Newsweek reported that the Satanic Temple of Illinois would be setting up a holiday display in the capitol rotunda in Springfield.

The display depicted the deity Baphomet as a baby, WICS reported, and temple members told the station that it was intended to “represent plurality, unity, compassion, and empathy, and described it as ‘a display of positive values.'”

The display was protested by members of the Catholic group American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, WICS reported.

A sign set up in front of the holiday displays explained that “The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public display in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars,” the station reported.

The school district responded to the pushback of the after-school club highlighting the fact that by law, organizations are allowed to rent publicly-funded spaces to host events.

“To illegally deny their organization [viewpoint] 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,” said a statement released from Rachel Savage, Superintendent, Moline-Coal Valley Schools released this week.

The Belleville News-Dispatch noted that it is because of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, Good News Club v. Milford Central School, that schools are not allowed to discriminate against religious speech if a religious organization wants to offer a club on school property.

The Good News Club, a child evangelism group, has previously been approved and held within the Moline-Coal Valley School District, according to a statement from the district published by KWQC.

Baphomet statue, Satanic Temple
A school district in Illinois responded to concerns over “The After School Satan Club” being offered on school grounds. This Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019.
Joseph Prezioso / AFP/Getty Images

The flier displayed at the elementary school was posted online and shared by the Belleville News-Dispatch in its entirety.

The flier tells parents that participating in the after school program will teach their students, “benevolence & empathy,” “critical thinking,” “problem solving,” “creative expression” and “personally sovereignty”

It said all children grades 1-5 are invited to join regardless of religious background.

Newsweek reported in December that the Satanic Temple claimed to have more than half a million registered members.

Newsweek reached out to the Satanic Temple for comment.

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