After last year's failed statue plan, Satanic Temple tries to counter Christianity anew with its school Satan clubs' proposal
They failed last year, and now they're at it again.
In June 2015, the Satanic Temple tried to install its own statue outside the Oklahoma State Capitol in protest against the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.
But this plea was rendered moot when the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted 7-2 to remove the Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol on the ground that the monument was a religious symbol and must be removed because it violated the state's constitutional ban on using public property to benefit a religion, The New York Times reported.
With the ruling, Lucien Greaves, a spokesman and co-founder of the Satanic Temple in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said his group would no longer pursue its proposal to erect an eight-and-a-half-foot-tall bronze monument of Baphomet, a goat-headed humanoid character, next to the Ten Commandments monument, according to Tulsa World.
Now, the Satanic Temple is pushing for "after school Satan" clubs for elementary school students in U.S. public school districts to counter the Good News Clubs operated by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, the Associated Press reported.
The "Satan clubs" purportedly would not really propagate the belief in Satan or Lucifer but would instead conduct activities focused on science, art, literature, and the teaching that a person does not need to be religious in order to be a good person, according to The Washington Post.
However, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) told the Catholic News Agency that the "after school Satan" club proposal appears to be an underhanded tactic to remove all religious programmes from public schools.
Jordan Lawrence, ADF senior counsel, said the Satanic Temple is actually trying to "eliminate all of these Bible clubs, prayer meetings, Good News Clubs that are meeting all around the country."
Lawrence said the Temple's adaptation of Satanic imagery and language "is just to scare people into thinking that these are actual Satan worshippers."
"What I think is disingenuous and tragic is that they're really using all these Satan names for their organisation, their lead guy, these after-school clubs, to scare school officials into shutting down the forum for everyone," he said.
Lawrence said it is "tragic" that the Satanic Temple is trying to drive Christianity out of the public square.
"They are basically saying that the Christian groups meeting on the same terms as everybody else are a threat to the republic," he said, and "rather than argue that in the marketplace of ideas, they are trying to scare school officials into closing the forum to eliminate the Christians."
"And that to me is tragically opposed to our First Amendment traditions of learning how to tolerate hearing views we disagree with, and responding to them with civil debate, not trying to shut them down in a coercive manner."