After-school Satan Clubs take on Christian clubs
Lauren Green, chief religion correspondent for Fox News, reports on the latest developments among these competing points of view.
The Satanic Temple recently opened an after-school “Satan Club” in a Moline, Illinois, middle school, as part of its nationwide campaign to push back against the Christian Good News Clubs offered to schoolchildren after regular-hour classes.
Parents protested outside the Jane Addams Middle School in Moline when the first after-school Satan Club met there last month.
Last Thursday, a few students came out to protest the club’s second meeting as well.
It’s why some say that spiritual warfare is now taking place in America’s public schools.
The Satanic Temple, which runs the program, said students would be offered activities such as science and crafts projects, puzzles and games — and that they would learn about benevolence, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving and creative expression, too.
Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple spokesperson, told Fox News about the clubs, “I’m hoping that with our presence, people can see that good people can have different perspectives, sometimes on the same mythology, but not mean any harm.”
This image is used by the Satanic Temple. The nearly-nine-foot statue depicts its leader as a tall winged human with a goat’s head and horns — as two children, standing on either side, look up at the figure adoringly.
Greaves also said, “We’re not including items of religious opinion … We’re not teaching children about Satanism. They’re just going to know that this is taught by Satanists.”
The Satanic Temple is not hiding the fact that it created the clubs to take on the Christian club called the Good News Club — which has become its No. 1 nemesis.
Said Greaves, “The after-school Satan Clubs were conceived of in order to give an alternative to [the] religious indoctrination [of] after-school programs.”
‘Contrary to the Good News of Jesus Christ’
Reece Kauffman, president of Child Evangelism, which operates the Good News Clubs, said of the Satanic Temple, “I cannot tell you what’s in their hearts, but they certainly are doing work that would be contrary to the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2001 that religious groups could operate after-class programs in public schools.
Good News Christian Clubs are now in about 5,000 schools nationwide.
An Addams School spokesperson released a statement saying it was not endorsing the Satan Club or the Good News Club. Yet because of the Supreme Court’s decision, it could not turn down any group that wanted to start an after-school program, it said.
The Supreme Court ruled in June 2001 that religious groups could offer after-school programs in public schools. The high court ruled 6-3 for a Christian youth group, deciding that a New York public school district must allow the Good News Club to hold after-school meetings for children. A view of the SCOTUS building in Washington, D.C., is shown in this file photo.
Last month, Fox News Digital reached out to the Addams School district for comment about the Satan Club in Moline. A spokesperson said a flyer that had been placed within the school building was legitimate — but she stressed it was “not generated by the district, not distributed to all students, and not affiliated with any teacher in the district.” Candace Sountris, communications director, also said, “Community use of [the] school facility after school hours [is] approved by the Board of Education in accordance with IL School Code.”
Kauffman of Child Evangelism recently told Fox News, “We’re not trying to be against anyone. We’re simply trying to take the biblical Good News of the Gospel to the children.”
The Satanic Temple says it’s really an atheist organization, despite a statue depicting its leader as a tall human with a goat’s head and horns and two children looking on adoringly.
Its says its followers don’t believe in spiritual evil or a literal devil.
This artist’s rendering was provided by the Satanic Temple some years ago of its then-proposed monument. The statue went up in Detroit in 2015; it was created with the help of a fundraising effort.
And for them, the devil is simply a symbol of “defiance, independence, wisdom and self-empowerment.”
The Bible, however, has plenty to say about the dangers of spiritual evil and its No. 1 perpetrator, Satan.
It calls the devil the “father of lies” whose real power rests in his ability to deceive. Readers of the Bible know that the devil’s first appearance on creation’s stage is in the Garden of Eden, tempting Adam and Eve, and the infamous “Fall from Grace.”
Satan, in the form of a serpent, convinces the ancestral humans to defy God’s decree to not eat the fruit of a tree. It’s not the fruit that caused the problem — it was disobeying God.
Lucien Greaves, in this Oct. 24, 2016, file photo, stands next to a statue of the goat-headed idol Baphomet at the headquarters of the Satanic Temple in Salem, Mass. Greaves said in 2016 the temple hopes to ensure Satanists "have a place in the world."
That ancient act, the Bible says, ushered into creation disease, decay, death … and all sorts of crippling sins that separate humans from God.
But the Genesis story leaves one clue as to how it will be resolved, and how the world will someday be redeemed. It will happen during a key meeting between God and Satan sometime in the centuries ahead — that a descendent of Eve will “bruise” Satan’s head, while Satan “shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
That cryptic verse in Scripture has spawned many religious discussions. But according to most theologians, that “crushing” and “bruising” happens in the New Testament, and the encounter begins in another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus is betrayed and arrested.
The victory over Satan occurs on the cross where Jesus is put to death, and where death itself, the true enemy, was defeated with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
A woman is shown praying to God in this file photo. Reece Kauffman of Child Evangelism and other Christian theologians believe the real spiritual danger today is believing that Satan doesn’t exist.
But it doesn’t mean Satan isn’t still dangerous. He’s like a wounded animal.
John Stott, the noted English theologian, used Satan’s depiction in the Bible’s apocalyptic book, Revelation, to explain why Satan is still a danger to us. It’s because we live in the overlap of the ages between the world of a fallen creation — and the new heavens and new earth that Jesus brought.
“Satan — the term itself — means evil. This is not the influence you want to bring upon your children.”
Stott said Satan as the “Red Dragon,” and his legion of fallen angels, are still engaged in a spiritual battle with God’s image bearers, us … but that “he knows his time is short” (Rev. 12:12).
“The devil,” Stott also said, “has been defeated and dethroned … However, the rage he feels in the knowledge of his approaching doom leads him to redouble [his activities]. Victory over him has been won, but painful conflict with him continues” (“The Cross of Christ,” page 243).
Kauffman and other Christian theologians say the real spiritual danger is in believing Satan doesn’t exist.
Lauren Green is chief religion correspondent for Fox News Channel. She reports that the after-school Satan Clubs have not been that popular in Moline, Illinois. Only two young students — the same two students —attended the meetings so far this year.
You can fight against what you know — but not what you believe is not there at all.
Kauffman also says of the Satanic Temple, “They’re doing the work of Satan, whether they want to acknowledge it or not, because this is what Satan would do. Satan, the term itself, means evil. And this is not the influence you want to bring upon your children.”
The after-school Satan Clubs have not been that popular. The school said two students from the same family attended the first meeting in January.
Those same two students attended the second meeting last week.
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