In the News
Salem, Mass.— Citing a need to “counterbalance” extracurricular options at public schools, a group called the Satanic Temple is launching a nationwide After School Satan Club. It’s a response to the Good News Club, an evangelical Christian group that has more than 4,500 U.S. chapters.
The Satanic Temple promotes scientific reasoning, not devil worship, according to co-founder Lucien Greaves. Satan is just a “metaphorical construct” to represent the rejection of any tyranny over the mind, he says.
“While the Good News clubs teach children shame, guilt, and fear—that they will die and be tormented in hell—we prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them,” says Greaves. Satan clubs teach young people “that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think.” Greaves says the clubs aren’t just satire or a political ploy.
But Moises Esteves of Child Evangelism Fellowship, the group behind the Good News Club, calls the Satan club “yet another atheist PR stunt” with “no staying power.” He predicts they’ll fizzle out because “the last thing parents want for their children is a Satan club.”
A 2001 Supreme Court ruling gave the Good News Club—and other religious groups—the right to meet on public school property. “If they would get rid of the Good News clubs, there wouldn’t be a need for the After School Satan program,” Greaves says.
Amy Jensen, who volunteered to run a Satan club, says she’d rather teach empathy and common sense than “the fear and hatred of other people’s beliefs, which is what Good News Clubs teach.”
But some parents are appalled by the idea of Satan clubs. “I will take my kids out of school and homeschool them if these God-hating people come in to their schools,” says Maki Tiatia.
Sources: christianpost.com, washingtonpost.com, people.com
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Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
What type of response and participation rate do you expect these Satan clubs to have, and why? In your opinion, is this a publicity stunt? an attempt to make people turn against the Good News Club? a way to get all types of religious groups out of public schools? Explain.
Why do you think the Good News Club has been so successful? Why might that be threatening to proponents of scientific reasoning and humanism?
Is “indoctrination” necessarily a bad thing? Do you ever feel as if you’re being indoctrinated by religion or your church? Explain. Are you ever afraid of or intimidated by other people’s beliefs—or lack of beliefs? Explain.
If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, why did you make that particular choice? If you’re still on the fence, what needs to happen yet for you to make a decision?
What’s your reaction to claims that Christianity teaches shame, guilt, fear, and hatred? Should sin make people feel ashamed and guilty? Should people be afraid of God? of hell? Explain.
The Bible teaches that judgment and hell are real; what, then, is the best way for Christians to warn people about avoiding eternal punishment? What’s an effective, non-offensive method of sharing that information?
Is joining an After School Satan Club the same thing as meddling in Satanism, even though the group says it doesn’t worship the devil? Explain. How might Satan use these clubs to promote his agenda and turn people away from Christ? How might Christians be able to use these clubs—or interest in these clubs—to share Jesus’ good news with others?
What difference does Jesus’ victory over Satan make to your day-to-day life? Why do we still need to stay alert against the devil and his schemes, even though Jesus has already defeated him?
In what areas do you need strength to stand against the devil? How can you shine Jesus’ light in dark places, even when you feel weak or overwhelmed?
Scripture links: Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7-10; 1 Peter 5:8-10; 1 John 5:18-21; and Revelation 12:7-12.