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3 Tips for Dealing with After-School Satanist Kids Clubs

This fall members of the Satanic Temple will offer a series of clubs in U.S. public schools. The goal of these clubs, which cater to children as young as five, is to expose students to ideas about secularism and Satanism they may not have heard before. According to The Washington Post:

[The Satanists] point out that Christian evangelical groups already have infiltrated the lives of America’s children through after-school religious programming in public schools, and they appear determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan. “It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think,” said Doug Mesner, the Satanic Temple’s co-founder.

Now that you know what is coming, here are three tips to help you either confront a Satanist club in your child’s school or talk about it with others who are following this story.

1. Know the facts

Don’t go to your school principal or local school board member and say Satanists are trying to recruit school children into their devil-worshipping cult. That type of Satanist believes that Satan is a real being who deserves worship and loyalty. Members of the Satanic Temple are not of that stripe. They’re basically atheists who use the symbol of Satan to get a rise out of religious people. According totheir website:

[W]e do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. . . . Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds.

The goal of the After School Satan Clubs program is basically to help kids become atheists rather than worshippers of Satan. According to the program’s website:

After School Satan Clubs are based upon a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view. . . . After School Satan Clubs incorporate games, projects, and thinking exercises that help children understand how we know what we know about our world and our universe.

(If the group is trying to convince parents, you’d never guess it from the creepy promotional video.)

2. Use criticism instead of censorship

It may be tempting to try and get this kind of club banned from your child’s public school, but Satanists have the same constitutional right to host an after-school club as Baptists, Catholics, Jews, or any other group. So long as they do not engage in criminal activity, there is no legal way to bar them from meeting in public schools (provided the school day has finished and attendance is voluntary). Mat Staver, the founder of the Christian legal organization Liberty Counsel says:

I would definitely oppose after-school Satanic clubs, but they have a First Amendment right to meet. I suspect, in this particular case, I can’t imagine there’s going to be a lot of students participating in this. It’s probably dust they’re kicking up and is likely to fade away in the near future for lack of interest.

Fortunately, the first amendment also protects criticism of this kind of club. You can express to the school board, the local newspaper, and the city council your disappointment in the existence of a club that idolizes Satan, a figure universally associated with depraved acts of evil, as role model for children just learning to read and write. Consider this analogy:

Imagine if a group of adults wanted to start a Hannibal Lecter After-School Program in your child’s elementary school. They agree that Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic serial killer from Silence of the Lambs, is a fictional character, but they promote him as a symbol of cultured refinement and dissent from authority.

Of course, it would be absurd to appropriate such a vile, evil character in order to ironically promote after-school activities. It is even more outlandish to do so with very young children who may think the evil society associates with these figures (be it Hannibal or Satan) is okay, since their new, nice friends at this club say this figure is “not a big deal” or is “misunderstood.”

Christians must be concerned, because the members of the Satanic Temple will mislead children about who the devil is and reduce him to a silly, fictional character that represents “superstitious religions.” Believers have an obligation to tell people that the devil is real. As St. Peter says:

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Pet. 5:8-9).

3. Start a Catholic after-school club

After-school programs that idolize evil figures may be legal, but that doesn’t make them moral or shield it from legitimate criticism. But the best way to refute error isn’t to simply complain about it—it’s to preach the truth!

The After School Satan program began as a response to the Good News Club, a project of Child Evangelism Fellowship that seeks to “evangelize boys and girls with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.” If evangelical churches and Satanists can take advantage of public school meeting places in order to reach young children with their messages, then why can’t Catholics do the same?

I’d recommend visiting the website of Life Teen or another Catholic youth ministry program to get resources and advice for setting up such a club. You should also get a copy of the new graphic novel The Big Picture (or its prequel The Truth is Out There) from Catholic Answers Press and consider giving it to a group of students to read, as it presents the gospel message in a way that teens and other young adults can uniquely appreciate.

By Trent Horn




  1. Tom Rafferty Reply

    – One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
    – The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
    – One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
    – The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
    – Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
    – People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
    – Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word

    The above are the tenets of the Satanic Temple, the organization promoting this after-school program. All of these tenets are essentially worthy principles of scientific and humanistic thinking. Go ahead, try to find ANYTHING that is objectionable there.

    Fundamentalist Evangelical churches started this encroachment into the public schools. The Satanic Temple is a brilliant mirror to the uber-religious. The USA is a secular nation that has freedom of religion and freedom from religion. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  2. Patrick Gannon Reply

    1.” After School Satan Clubs are based upon a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view. . .”
    OMG, how awful! How much worse could things get? Imagine a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view…How horrid. As compared with a world view based on magical, invisible beings that live in the sky? Geez. Heaven forbid our kids should grow up to be rational. (For those who might not get it – this was sarcasm).
    2. What are you criticizing? The scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view? OK, criticize away, but just who is it that fills children’s heads with fear of eternal hellfire and damnation and condemnation and monsters with pitchforks, and skin peeling off and spitting and smoking as it’s replenished from below, and wallowing in feces, and excrement, and being beaten with… well you get the picture – that’s all compliments of the RCC’s loving god. Just who exactly is it that filled the OT with “depraved acts of evil,” such as condoning genocide, murder, rape and pillage, not to mention a mythical flood that kills everything on earth? What is your definition for “depraved acts of evil”? Who in the bible did Satan kill? What’s his body count compared with Yahweh’s?

    It is a fictional character and Hell is a fictional place(s). The Church translated four words (Sheol, Gehenna, Hades and Tartarus) into the pagan word “Hell” then embraced Dante’s “Inferno” and Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and other works of art and literature to invent the Hell that we all think of today. Look up those words. Sheol was where everyone went in the OT, good and bad alike – it was not a place of punishment, but just a place of being dead. Gahanna was the Jerusalem town dump, the worst place for a Jew to be thrown in lieu of a proper burial and when Jesus referred to it 11 times, he was clearly speaking allegorically, and besides, the dump is closed. Hades whose ruler is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon is clearly pagan in nature, but was used allegorically moving west as the Greeks and Romans understood that concept. Tartarus is a lower level of Hades, that some say is reserved for Satan and his demons – for which there is as much evidence as there is for Yahweh. How depraved is it to frighten children with this superstitious nonsense?

    3. Challenge the Satanist clubs to debates!

  3. Balthazar Deep Reply

    A Hannibal Lector-woshiping after school club would I image approve of many of the same principles and events described in the Old Testament (and many in the new), therefore I would have thought should be eminently acceptable to the Catholic church.

  4. OhMy Reply

    Horrifying! Imagine that! Children exposed to… science!

  5. Pa Coder Reply

    The irony of this little treatise coming from an organization that spent centuries murdering and torturing anyone who didn’t buy what they were selling plus that little recent episode of covering up endemic sexual abuse of children by their priests is not lost on me….

    1. Tom Rafferty Reply

      Ya, mustn’t expose kids to such evil as science and critical thinking. SMH

  6. Mark Chandler Reply

    You claim that the ASSC goal is for kids to become atheists. I can find this nowhere on their website. their goal is to counter the evangelical clubs that have popped up in many schools around the country. Starting Catholic clubs will increase the number of ASSC. Please do not follow the evangelical model of lying to try to make your point.

  7. jholovacs Reply

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by the rational, measured approach suggested here. I’d assumed that I would be able to laugh at an unrealistic and legally unsupportable strategy when I read the headline. That being said, there were a couple of things that stood out:

    “…Satan, a figure universally associated with depraved acts of evil…” Which depraved acts are those? The only “official” account of Satan’s alleged misdeeds are in the bible, and God has WAY WAY WAY more depraved acts, deaths, and outright evil associated with him in the same document. In comparison with the main character of the bible, Satan’s a downright saint, so I don’t think it’s as universal as stated. In fact, I don’t think it’s true at all… so I think your analogy fails right off the bat.

    I was also surprised to see starting a Catholic club as a suggestion… considering the fact that these after-school-satan-clubs are actually direct responses to exactly that sort of thing; the Satanic Temple is not in the habit of spending its considerably smaller resources to target random schools. It is specifically trying to draw attention to schools that are pushing a Christian agenda and highlighting why the separation of Church and State are a good idea. I think that starting a Catholic club is a great idea; it will definitely increase interest in the after school Satan club.

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