Connecticut Parents Call After-School Satan Club at Elementary School 'Inappropriate, Deceptive'
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A Connecticut elementary school with plans to host an after-school Satan club is facing major backlash from parents.
Organizers from the After School Satan Club will hold monthly meetings at Lebanon Elementary School in Lebanon, Connecticut starting in December, WFSB-TV reports.
A colorful flyer advertises to students a club that will have"science projects", "nature activities", puzzles and games", and "arts and crafts."
"The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religion that views Satan as a literary figure who represents a metaphorical construct of rejecting tyranny and championing the human mind and spirit," a Facebook post read.
It continues, "After School Satan Club does not attempt to convert children to any religious ideology. Instead, The Satanic Temple supports children to think for themselves. All After School Satan Clubs are based on activities centered around the Seven Fundamental Tenets and emphasize a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious worldview."
Despite the group's advertising efforts to brand itself as morally neutral, parents say they are put off by the club's symbolism.
"If you look on their website and the different things that they're handing out, there's symbolism of the devil, and I think that that's inappropriate," parent, Kate Prokop, told WTNH-TV.
Amy Bourdan, a member of a religious freedom advocacy group called Parent's Choice, says that the Satanic Temple that created the After-School Satan club, is operating under the guise that it is a religious organization.
"I think it's deceptive," she told the outlet. "I liken it to the Camel cigarettes used to entice the youth and children."
"They're trying to use events like this to recruit children at a young age and steer them away from religion," Bourdan added.
As the Satanic Temple has tried to establish affilated clubs in hundreds of schools across the country, they contend that they are not pushing religion, but rather providing students with an alternative to the popular Good News Clubs.
"The Satanic Temple does not advocate for religion in schools," the group claims on its website. "However, once religion invades schools, as the Good News Clubs have, the Satanic Temple will fight to ensure that plurality and true religious liberty are respected."
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools must allow the same access to its facilities to both secular and religious groups. This includes both Good News Clubs and After School Satan Clubs.
"We're not changing the politics here. This is something people should've recognized from the start," said Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple co-founder.
June Everett, the campaign director for the after-school program, told NBC Connecticut that a parent requested for the club to hold meetings at the school.
"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," she told the outlet.
Lebanon Schools Superintendent Andrew Gonzalez released a statement saying it must allow the group to use its facility by law.
"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," Gonzalez said.
"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," he added.
According to the group's flyer, parents must give their child permission to attend. Five students have already signed up to join, NBC Connecticut reports.
As CBN News reported, a catchy, semi-animated promotional video from the group included a song encouraging young children to embrace Satan as an imaginary friend.
The video repeatedly states "there is no hell," and goes on to claim that "Satan doesn't actually exist, he's an imaginary friend..."
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