- An “After-School Satan Club” in Virginia has upset parents, saying there will be “devil worship at school”.
- The club director said the club intends to support free thinking, critical thinking and problem solving in children.
- The school district is required to license the club under the First Amendment, an attorney told WTKR.
Some parents of Virginia students are upset about an after-school “Satan Club” that they believe will promote “devil worship” to their children. The club said it intended to encourage free thought.
The “After-School Satan Club” is scheduled to hold its first meeting in mid-December at BM Williams Elementary School in Chesapeake. A mum, Melanie Ballard, told WTKR she believes the club will negatively influence her son.
“But now it’s normal to have devil worship in school around impressionable minds and age,” Ballard told the outlet. “Now I am concerned for the welfare of my child and other classmates who may be exposed to this satanic group.”
A club flyer identifies the Satanic Temple as a “non-theistic religion that views Satan as a literary figure that represents a metaphorical construct of rejection of tyranny and defense of the human mind and spirit.”
“After School Satan Club does not attempt to convert children to a religious ideology. Instead, The Satanic Temple helps children think for themselves,” said the club’s CDSA flyer, announcing critical thinking and l crafts and problem-solving games.
June Everett, the club’s campaign manager, told WTKR that “Satan was the first to ask questions and was cast out of heaven for that reason.” The story influences the group’s name, she says.
“If we were to name it something like ‘Fluffy Bunnies’ or ‘Rainbow Club’ and people found out it was run by the Satanic Temple, that would be worse,” Everett told the outlet. “We get a lot of people saying, ‘Why don’t you call it the after-school science club or the after-school critical thinking club?’ We could do it, but when people find out that it’s run by the satanic temple and it’s the satanists who run the club, we think it will create more problems.”
Despite complaints from some parents, the club is protected by freedom of religion in the First Amendment, law professor Jack Preis told WTKR. A statement from the Chesapeake Public Schools on Friday said the ACCS is not a district-sponsored club, but that “by law, the CPS may not discriminate on the basis of creed among groups wishing to rent our facilities,” according to WTKR.
The district did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.