At least once a year, we see stories popping up all over the country about anti-God activists organizing After School Satan Clubs at schools around the country. Parents, understandably outraged and afraid, promptly march to their local school boards to demand that the clubs be banned.
It’s happening right now in various cities around the country. Here are some recent headlines:
Facebook posts from alarmed Ohio parents, who wonder what they can do to stop this, are filling up my feed.
My advice to them is this: Ignore the After School Satan Clubs. Completely.
Before I get to my reasons for that advice, here’s a little background on the clubs run by a group called The Satanic Temple, founded by Malcolm Jarry and Lucien Greaves in 2013. Their website says:
The After School Satan Clubs meet at select public schools where Good News Clubs also operate. Trained educators provide activities and learning opportunities, which students are free to engage in, or they may opt to explore other interests that may be aided by available resources. The environment is open and parents are welcome to participate. While the classes are designed to promote intellectual and emotional development in accordance with TST’s tenets, no proselytization or religious instruction takes place. [Emphasisi added. We’ll get to that in a moment]
According to their mission statement, their goal is not to proselytize, and the group is “not interested in converting children to Satanism.”
“After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us,” according to the group. “We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”
If you think this sounds like garden-variety atheism, you’re probably right. The group insists that they do not worship Satan—in fact, they don’t even believe in Satan or any other supernatural being.
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Anyone paying attention to this group knows the real reason they are organizing After School Satan Clubs and igniting controversies in local communities: They want to destroy Good News Clubs.
Good News Clubs are voluntary after-school programs, some of them held at schools, where children can learn about the Bible and Christianity:
Good News Club is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes, just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parent’s permission. Each week the teacher presents an exciting Bible lesson using colorful materials from CEF Press. This action-packed time also includes songs, Scripture memory, a missions story and review games or other activities focused on the lesson’s theme.
As with all CEF ministries, the purpose of Good News Club is 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.
CEF claims that “over 16.4 million children worldwide heard the Good News” last year.
Anti-God atheist activists hate this. For that matter, Satan hates the Good News Clubs. There’s nothing the Prince of Darkness fears more than little children hearing about the love of Jesus Christ. So the God-haters in The Satanic Temple have set their sites on the after-school Bible clubs. They openly admit it on their website—in fact, they are obsessed with Good News Clubs:
The pre-existing presence of evangelical after school clubs not only established a precedent for which school districts must now accept Satanic groups, but the evangelical after school clubs have created the need for Satanic after school clubs to offer a contrasting balance to student’s extracurricular activities.
Good News Clubs are an after school program established by an insidious organization known as the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) whose stated mission is to “evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living.”
In an FAQ section, the group admits that After School Satan Clubs are designed to counter Good News Clubs:
Don’t you think it’s best to keep religion out of schools? Yes. But the worst case scenario, when religion is allowed in the schools, is an environment in which one religious voice enjoys the exclusive benefit of delivering its teachings to the children, promoting the understanding that their religion is endorsed by the school, or otherwise has special privilege within their community. The Satanic Temple does not advocate for religion in schools. 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. [Emphasis added]
Here’s their end game: They want you to react. They want you to overreact. The Satanic Temple, along with their friend Mikey Weinstein at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, is hoping you’ll march into your local school board meeting to demand that the clubs be banned. If your school board complies, they’ll be hit with a big fat lawsuit and potentially millions of dollars in legal fees and years of legal struggles. The Satanic Temple knows very well that a 2001 Supreme Court ruling gives them the right to have their little godless clubs, but they’re hoping you’ll try to ban them so they can collect their legal fees and/or shut down the Good News Clubs. Either outcome is fine with them.
They know that all they need to do to provoke outrage in a conservative community—and gain some free publicity for their cause—is to pass out a bunch of flyers. There doesn’t even need to be an actual club to get the ball rolling.
Don’t fall into their trap. Ignore these clubs. No sensible parents will sign permission slips for their kids to attend their meetings—and the handful who do are no doubt already teaching their kids to be atheists at home.
Don’t give the anti-God zealots the attention they’re seeking. All you’ll be doing is playing into their hands if you freak out about their stupid clubs. Show them they don’t have that power over you by simply ignoring them. They’ll eventually go away when no one shows up for their clubs and no one in the local community is willing to shell out money to help run their operation.
If you want to be proactive—if you want to do something that will make a difference—donate money to Child Evangelism Fellowship, or, better yet, start a Good News Club (or volunteer for one) in your community. The way we defeat the darkness in our schools is by shining a light on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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