You may have heard the news about the "After-School Satan" program. If not, yes, it's a real thing.
It's a program set up by the Satanic Temple, a group that has made the news before. They are the same group that commissioned a statue of the 'satanic' figure Baphomet, originally intended to be put up at the Oklahoma State Capitol, in reaction to the placing of a statue of the Ten Commandments. In the end, they weren't able to put the statue up in Oklahoma, but set it up in Detroit instead:
They followed this up by circulating a kids book for schools, in response to Christian groups circulating Christian literature in schools:
The After-School Satan Club is their latest venture. Basically, this is the deal: there's Christian groups (most notably the "Good News Clubs") who take advantage of the fact that you can't force prayer in school but you CAN have religious-themed extracurricular groups. So they set up these clubs to promote Christianity all over the country. The Satanic Temple is taking advantage of a detail of this ruling: schools must either allow ALL religious clubs, or NONE of them. So they came up with the "After-School Satan Club" and are now trying to start these clubs anywhere in the country that has Christian after-school clubs. Schools will have no choice but to either allow the Satanist club, or ban the Christian clubs too.
Now I have to say, their promotional material is awesome. Love the "devil horn" fingerpaints:
And this? Freaking adorable!:
But just what will kids be learning at the After-School Satan club? Witchcraft? Spells? Occult knowledge? Will they be doing readings from the Corpus Hermeticum or the Goetia? Will they be drawing pentagrams on the schoolroom floor and trying to summon up Beelzebub the Demon Prince? How to draw Chaos Magick Sigils with their crayons?
Well, not exactly.
Let's look a bit at some of the material included in the Satanic coloring/workbook that they've already circulated. Here's a sinister word-search for kids to work on:
Does it have them learning important and useful words like "Asmodeus", "Therion", "Enochian Aethyr" or "Ozzy Rules"? Nope. Instead, the kids are going to be looking for words like "friends", "love", "care", "happiness". What the crap?!
And then there's this word-jumble, where kids are told about words that can help them avoid bullying.
Are the words "Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos"? "Come Forth Ye Spirits of Air and Rushing Fire"? "Soi o phalle ischuros eucharistos IAO"?
Nope. "reason", "justice", "respect"... what?!
The Satanic Temple says that the lessons that will be taught at After-School Satan will "include science, logic, reason, socialization and compassion for all living things".
HUH? What kind of cheap-ass Satanists are these people?!
Turns out, they're not really any kind of Satanists at all. And to get that, you have to know a bit about the history of Satanism. Most modern Satanism in some sense starts with a guy named Anton Lavey. This guy here:
He started the "Church of Satan" in 1966. He mixed a few very superficial occult material he totally ripped off Aleister Crowley (who was a real occultist, and not a satanist at all), with what was essentially atheism. That's right, the Church of Satan and the most famous self-proclaimed Satanist of the 20th century didn't actually believe in Satan. Instead, the Church of Satanism taught a philosophy of 'personal egoism'. That there is no god or gods and therefore all that matters is serving yourself. Like a kind of Ayn Rand with crazier fashion sense.
Now, there were some groups that sprung up (in reaction to Lavey) who really do believe in some kind of "Satan"; but the Satanic Temple are not one of these. The Satanic Temple was founded in 2014 as an explicitly activist group. They are, like the Laveyan Satanists, atheists. They explicitly do NOT believe in a supernatural being called Satan. The big difference between them and the Church of Satan is that the Satanic Temple also don't believe in the self-centered philosophy of Lavey. Instead, their mission statement is to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people".
If you go on their website, you'll see that their "tenets" include "the struggle for justice", "respecting the freedoms of others", and even "beliefs should conform to the best scientific understanding of the world". Their founder, Lucian Greaves, was (according to Wikipedia) inspired to start up the Satanic Temple as a response to President Bush's Faith Based Initiative.
So the Satanic Temple aren't real Satanists at all. They're just atheists who are trolling Christians with what amounts to a Satanic drag-show. Which is totally freaking lame. I mean, I'm fine with their constitutional right to troll, I'm fine with their being atheists, I'm fine with their having an after-school program. But for Babalon's sake man, think of the children!
What about the poor preteen kid who gets all excited about learning real sorcery and getting to participate in satanic rituals, and he ends up getting you bozos instead? Huh, Greaves, have you thought about him!? Have you thought about how disappointed all the little goths and headbangers and witches and Harry Potter fanatics are going to be??
These poor innocent kids are going to go into your after-school club expecting it to be this:
And instead they're going to get THIS:
Thanks to this, there's a chance that because of the Satanic Temple, thousands of schoolkids will never trust either Atheism OR the Occult again!