Christian parents of elementary school students in Tacoma, Washington, are fighting against the establishment of an “After School Stan Club,” (ASSC) which is pressing forward in order to provide students with an alternative to Christian-based after-school clubs – but legal experts say it is part of a ploy to shut down Bible clubs.
Satanic Temple of Seattle Founder Lillith Starr is reportedly being pressured by the national headquarters of the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, to set up an After School Satan Club at a Seattle-area elementary school, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The latest push comes in the wake of numerous local chapters of the Satanic Temple that appealed to school districts nationwide for permission to have its clubs meet on public school campuses. The ASSC maintains that its effort is so that they can the clubs can have access to classrooms – similar to other after school clubs, such as the Good News Club and other student groups.
After School Satan Clubs would be used to instruct students to believe in naturalism – devoid of the supernatural.
“[S]cientific rationalism [is] our best model for understanding the natural world,” the club’s website reads.
Starr revealed that the aim of her clubs is to fight against any Christian influences in public school.
“We think [Satanic Clubs are] especially important when religious clubs target young children ages 5 to 12,” Starr expressed to the Los Angeles Times. “Because, at these ages it can be hard for children to distinguish between official educators and the teachers proselytizing to them in the after-school clubs.”
The anti-Christian activist argued that Good News Clubs are guilty of preaching Christianity to students. She also contends that the Christian clubs are responsible for using fear tactics to persuade students to believe in the God of the Bible.
“It teaches that kids are sinners and worthless and are going to burn in Hell for eternity,” Starr insisted, according to the local television station Q13 – an affiliate to Fox News.
A Tacoma school south of Seattle is not the only elementary school campus targeted by the Satanic Temple.
“Although Starr had gotten approval to set up a club at Centennial Elementary School in Mount Vernon, north of Seattle, she was informed by the Mount Vernon School District that meeting space would not be available until next April,” The Christian Post reported. “She has now shifted her efforts to obtaining space at Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma, since meeting space there would be quicker to gain access to.”
Parents push back
Parents of students who attend the Good News Club at Point Defiance Elementary School have expressed uneasiness and condemnation regarding the slated ASSC, according to CBN News.
Answering the backlash, Starr insists that the Satanic Clubs are not developed to get students to worship Satan or convert to Satanism.
“[ASSCs are organized to give students] the tools they need to make their own decisions about the world,” she maintained.
Despite Starr’s assurance, a group of Christian parents whose children attend the elementary school believes that the Satanic Clubs are bad news for students. Q13 announced that the parents, along with around a dozen local church leaders, met at the Shiloh Baptist Church not far from the school, in order to prepare for what to expect if and when the the ASSC begins meeting.
“My son will not be at a school where they’re preaching against what I believe,” Bishop Michael Doss – who serves as the Deliverance House of Prayer – expressed to the parents and leaders at the church. “I still have a baby in Tacoma schools, and if I have to take my baby out of Tacoma schools, I’m going to homeschool because they want to allow this stuff. I’ll do that.”
Others whose students are not enrolled in Tacoma schools are also concerned.
It is not just the parents with children at Point Defiance who are concerned about ASSC. Kiana Simpson, who has children in another area school, told the Fox affiliate that the motives behind the club are “not pure.”
“We don’t know who’s teaching it – their motives behind it … It’s not pure,” said Kiana Simpson, whose children attend school in another district, according to Q13. “You know, children are innocent.”
Even though the ASSC could possibly begin by the end of November in Tacoma, Christian parents are determined to fight it until the end.
Other threats and a warning
Chase Elementary School in Panorama City, which is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, has also been asked to provide access for students to attend an ASSC, but the club has run into some challenges.
“[The ASSC] does not meet the minimum requirement of having the school’s approval and, therefore, will not be offered at the school,” officials of the LAUSD announced, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Family Research Council’s Travis Weber warns that the Satanic Clubs are trying to get parents and school administrators to “take the bait” so that they press to shut ASSCs out of school campuses. He said earlier this year that there are many legal issues with trying to censor the ASSC – especially in lieu of a decision made by the United States Supreme Court stating that when public schools open up a limited public forum to clubs – such as the Good News Club – they cannot discriminate against other groups and suppress their “viewpoint of speech.”
In other words, Weber tells concerned Christians to keep in mind that shutting down ASSCs could mean simultaneously closing down Good News Clubs and other Christian student clubs.
“The ASSC organization, presuming parental outrage, is hoping school administrators take the bait and close the forum – rather than allow the ‘Satan clubs’ to operate,” Weber warned
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.