Did you belong to any school clubs when you were young? If so, you likely missed out on one available to kids in California.
Tehachapi’s Golden Hills Elementary has permitted a hot new league to launch following normal school hours, and the devil’s in the details. According to Bakersfield Now, the first-through-fifth-grade academy will introduce an After School Satan Club.
The endeavor comes courtesy of the Satanic Temple and the Reason Alliance, which — per its website — “promotes religious pluralism, fights for reproductive rights, protects children from abuse at school, and defends the unfairly and unjustly marginalized.”
The After School Satan Clubs meet at select public schools where Good News Clubs and other religious clubs meet. … 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/guardians are welcome to participate.
A Good News Club does indeed run weekly at Golden Hills. So it appears the Temple is fighting fire with (hell)fire.
But don’t get the group wrong — they’re not religious.
Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re 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.
And who is Satan, anyway? The Temple tells us:
Satan, to us, is not a supernatural being. Instead, Satan is a literary figure that represents a metaphorical construct of rejecting tyranny over the human mind and spirit.
Even so, not everyone is applauding the academic offering.
Sheila Knight, whose fifth-grade grandchild attends Golden Hills, vented to the New York Post:
“I think it’s disgusting… [I] can’t imagine why anyone would want their child to attend this Satanic group.”
And grandmother-to-a-first-grader Brenda Maher is far from a fan:
“Tehachapi said yes, and I think they made a mistake. I know my grandson will not be a part of this club.”
Meanwhile, club head Paul Hicks — per the Post, “a critical-thinking professor” — is ready to better little boys and girls:
“[I]’m not teaching these kids that they need to hail Satan or identify as Satanists. What we’re doing is we’re [teaching] critical thinking, we’re teaching science, we’re teaching empathy and benevolence.”
And online LGBT advocate Christine Hawes finds the clubs fantastic:
After School Satan Clubs are important. They are an essential chip against a stranglehold that fundamentalism has on our schools today, the same extremism that is now seeping into curriculum questions and crusades to ban school library books.
“As a lesbian who at age five didn’t yet have words for what I was,” Christine complains, “my fundamentalist Christian upbringing triggered even deeper, more intimate questions about my eternal fate.”
These days, she wouldn’t have to worry so much. The Christian church — and, some might say, the devil — have transformed:
Back to the After School Satan Club, it’s not the first time the foray has found its way to RedState. From front-pager Mike Miller in January:
As reported by local NBC affiliate KWQC, the After School Satan Club is scheduled to have its first meeting Tuesday (at Jane Addams Elementary in Moline, Illinois). No word if students will be required to provide their own eye of newt, toe of frog, and stuff.
California’s Tehachapi Unified School District insists it has no choice but to allow the Satanic club at Golden Hills — discrimination on grounds of philosophy is against the law.
Presumably, the law to which the district refers is at least a few decades old. Would public schools have embraced such a club in, say, the 1980s? Probably not. The law may not have changed, but society certainly has.
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