The Satanists are here, and they're coming for your children.
Or at least that's what some Texas parents are worried about, according to KYTX in Tyler, which reports that a group called The Satanic Temple is trying to inculcate kiddos through its After School Satan Club, which frankly sounds awesome.
The news station peppered its "investigation" with vintage '80s Satanic Panic, noting that "Satanic Temple leaders... are pushing to get their curriculum inside the hands — and minds — of your children here in East Texas."
And, as KYTX ominously notes, the After School Satan Club "is very real, and it's legal."
So what exactly does "Educatin' With Satan," as the group calls it, involve? Mostly, it's a counter to religious after-school programs, like the Good News Club, organized by the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
But any kids anticipating some sweet goat sacrificing or blood drinking will be sorely disappointed: The program's not-so-hidden-agenda is pushing "a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view." (And instead of feasting on flesh, the Junior Lucifers will get a healthy snack. Lame.)
The Salem (of course), Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple claims the campaign is nationwide; its spokesperson says in a press release:
School districts across the nation have received letters from The Satanic Temple explaining that we will be offering our clubs in their schools this coming school year, and parents in those schools can expect to be presented with a permission slip from their children in the first weeks of the Fall semester.
We're not sure if the Houston Independent School District is on the Satanists' radar, but we wouldn't be surprised if Houston parents start seeing those permission slips — which, by the way, state that the clubs will be operated by volunteer Satanists "who have been vetted by the Executive Ministry."
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Moises Esteves of Child Evangelism Fellowship told KYTX, "The people behind the After School Satan Clubs are atheists dressed up in scary costumes. This isn't a Satanist club. This isn't a devil-worshipping club. These are atheists trying to scare parents with pitchforks and devil horns. It's a parody. It's a publicity stunt."
Jeremy Galloway, a member of the Austin Satanic Temple, told the station, "This is not a joke. We are a true religion, but we don’t believe in anything supernatural. We believe in science, rational thinking and scientific realism." (In addition to Austin, there are chapters in San Marcos and San Antonio, according to KYXT.)
We applaud the Satanic Temple's mission to balance out extracurricular Bible-thumpin', but we're concerned the sarcasm might be lost on some school districts, with the ultimate message being overshadowed by all the pentagram-and-pitchfork imagery. (Alas, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster pretty much beat everyone to the punch when it comes to this sort of thing.)
Still, it sounds like a cool program, especially if they make the kids wear those red, hooded robes that devil-worshippers are always wearing. Throw in some spooky Latin chanting, and we're totally there.