Satan Clubs in Schools Could Jettison Girl Scouts and 4-H Clubs 10/04/2016

By Jordan Lorence
Parents of public school students may soon have the option of sending their children to participate after school in a new organization meeting in their buildings: the After-School Satan Club.

The Washington Post reported that the organization behind the clubs, the Satanic Temple co-founded in 2014 by Lucien Greaves, plans to roll out the student groups this fall, and a few clubs are already in place. Chapter heads from New York, Boston, Utah, and Arizona met in Salem, Massachusetts (where else?) with other interested parties from other states to plot their expansion.

Some public elementary schools allow outside groups to conduct meetings after school for students whose parents agree for them to attend. In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in the important Good News Club decision that a suburban Albany, New York, elementary could not exclude the evangelical Good News Club from meeting after school when it allowed the Girl Scouts, 4-H, and the Boy Scouts to meet.

These are all private groups, and the First Amendment does not allow the government to exclude groups from meeting because of their viewpoint. (Full disclosure: I was part of the team of lawyers that helped Good News Club win that case at the Supreme Court).

The Satanic Temple openly opposes the private religious expression of the Good News Clubs in public schools and started the After-School Satan Clubs to compete with them. “While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath, After-School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism,” The Washington Post quoted from the Satanic Temple.

When a public school is open to all groups, the After-School Satan Clubs have the same right to meet there as do the Girl Scouts, 4-H, and the Good News Clubs. But their demonstrated strategy appears to be to use the inflammatory name “Satan” to provoke some school officials to close schools to all groups, in an effort to eliminate the evangelical Christian groups.

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