“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives,” Doug Mesner, the Temple’s co-founder, told Washington Post about the group’s proposal to petition school officials.
Doug Mesner, who also goes by the name Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, with a statue of Baphomet at the group’s meeting house in Salem, Mass. (Josh Reynolds/For The Washington Post)
Several U.S. school districts indicated Monday that they think the Satanic Temple’s plan to open “After School Satan” clubs in elementary schools probably conforms with their policies and local laws, and the Prince George’s County, Md., school system said it is reviewing a request to open such a club.
If the districts allow the clubs, it would pave the way for the Temple to create a counterpoint to evangelical Christian clubs in schools nationwide.
The Satanic Temple on Monday contacted school districts across the country to announce that it wants to open after-school clubs that focus on teaching reason and science, including at an elementary school in Prince George’s. Temple leaders in part want to make the point that religion should not be taught in public schools, and they are working to start clubs in schools or school districts that have hosted proselytizing religious clubs, such as the Good News Club, which is allowed to sponsor groups in schools.
Parents and administrators have reacted coolly to the idea of setting up a Jesus-vs.-Satan fight in their elementary schools, with many showing curiosity and skepticism. School officials in Prince George’s said they have received a request to start a club and are reviewing it, but the school system has not had any discussions with the Satanic Temple about it. The Temple said it wants to open a club at Bradbury Heights Elementary School, which is in the Capitol Heights neighborhood just outside the southeast edge of Washington.