Chimney Rock Elementary School in Tennessee will soon host its first After School Satan Club (ASSC), sponsored by a Salem, Massachusetts satanic temple and humanist non-profit, drawing criticism from locals.
Over the last year, similar announcements of new ASSC chapters have rocked public schools in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, California and Ohio.
Notices of the new club started appearing on Facebook over the last few days, necessitating a response by Memphis-Shelby County Schools.
“As a public school district, we’re committed to upholding the principles of the First Amendment, which guarantees equal access to all non-profit organizations seeking to use our facilities after school hours,” said the board in a letter to parents about the club meetings obtained by The Lion. “This means we cannot approve or deny an organization’s request based solely on its viewpoints or beliefs.”
But local Tennesseans are saying allowing illegitimate clubs such the Satanist one to use public resources illustrate why more education choices are needed for parents with school-aged kids.
“Crap like this is why school vouchers are necessary in Tennessee,” said Chace Kesterson, of Dresden, on Facebook. “I don’t mind my tax dollars going to parents so they can save their kids from satanic public schools.”
Tennessee, in fact, is considering a statewide school choice program that would expand on existing programs in Memphis-Shelby County Schools, Metro Nashville Schools, Hamilton County Schools and the state’s Achievement School District, which includes underperforming schools.
June Everett, the national campaign director for ASSC told local Memphis NBC-affiliate Action News 5 that her group does not believe in a literal Satan.
“She tells us typical activities at the club are science and arts and crafts-oriented,” said Action News.
Yet, the branch in Illinois recently sued the city of Chicago for not allowing it to invoke “Hail Satan!” at city council meetings.
Critics can hardly be blamed for wondering what “Hail Satan!” has to do with crafts and science.
“To embrace Satan is to say, ‘I’m the other, and I’m f—ing proud of it,’” Satanic Minister Adam Vavrick told the Block Club Chicago about the lawsuit.
Vavrick, like other Satanic Temple followers, has no problem dissembling that the intent of their group is to “hail” Satan, literally, by hiding behind popular leftist rhetoric.
Vavrick told the Block Club that “they reclaim the symbolism of Satan as a ‘rejection of arbitrary authority’ imposed on people with identities marginalized by other cultures and religions.”
The photo of Satanic Temple members in Illinois shared by the Block Club shows an overwhelmingly white, youngish membership, marginalized mostly by their fashion choices.
Tennesseans, however, are more practical.
“This is B.S.” one parent told Action News 5 about the Satan meetings at Chimney Rock Elementary Schools. “I think it should be held somewhere else and not a school.”
Everett said that the organization of the Satan club was in response to the school’s hosting of a Gospel-themed Christian after-school club, called the Good News Club.
“We don’t go to a school unless there is another religious club operating,” said Everett, showing, at least, that Temple members remember Satan’s fourth deadly sin, envy.
Other parents were incredulous at the decision to allow the club to operate.
“I’m about to come unglued here right now. This is a kindergarten through fifth grade school, and they are letting a Satanic club coming in here?” asked a parent in astonishment.
One parent expressed reservations about how the process of approving the meeting was conducted, by not including parents in the decision-making.
“This is going to be where our children are. We should have had some earlier notification and chance to say maybe this is not something that the parents here would like,” said another parent.
The Chimney Rock Elementary School club is being promoted with the same flyers used to promote other ASSC branches.
The club’s recruitment videos feature a cartoonish Satan, which looks suspiciously like the character from a controversial 2006 YouTube cartoon that made fun of a special needs dog.
Joining the Satanic Temple in sponsoring the school club is the Reason Alliance, which uses far-left progressive rhetoric to define its goals, which include: religious pluralism, reproductive rights, protecting children from “abuse” at school and defending the unfairly and unjustly marginalized.
The goals dovetail nicely with the seven “Fundamental Tenants of Satanism” taught at ASSC meetings, such as the inviolability of the body, social justice and following science to the exclusion of all else.