A school in Tustin, Calif., on March 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
In a post on X, The Satanic Temple (TST) stated that the After School Satan Club (ASSC) is returning to Golden Hills Elementary School in Tehachapi, California, on Oct. 27.
The ASSC first operated its after-school program at the elementary school for the 2022–2023 school year. It held meetings once a month in the cafeteria on campus.
June Everett, campaign director of the ASSC, said they launched it last winter when a parent who was a Satanist reached out to TST to have its after-school club at the school after her kids came home with a Good News Club flyer. She did not agree with what the Good News Club, a Christian-based after-school program, was offering, and she wanted an alternative club for her children to attend.
“The devil’s work is never done,” Ms. Everett told The Epoch Times.
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) said that TST wants to silence and intimidate Christian clubs by getting all religious clubs kicked off campuses. He said if you call for Satan clubs to be kicked off campus, that could cause Christian clubs to be kicked out also and result in supporting TST’s goal.
Mr. Dacus said that PJI supports the Equal Access Act, which is an effort to secure First Amendment rights in public schools, and PJI’s purpose is not to silence speech.
“By law, the District cannot discriminate against any groups who wish to use our facilities,” Stacey Larson-Everson, superintendent of Tehachapi Unified School District, told The Epoch Times in an email. “The Tehachapi Unified School District did not endorse the activities or intent of the After School Satan Club.”
She said that students wishing to attend must have a permission slip signed by their parents in order to attend any after-school clubs. Even though the ASSC got approval to hand out the permission slips at this school, the teachers were refusing to pass them out to students to be sent home.
Sheila Knight, a grandmother in Golden Hills, told The Epoch Times: “I understand the school has to allow them because they allow other after-school programs such as the Good News, which is a Christian-based after-school program. That one I’m okay with, but I can’t imagine why anyone would want their child to attend this satanic group.”
“Why would anyone not follow Jesus and want to follow Satan?” she said.
Some of the projects included in the ASSC are making smiley faces on rocks and handing them out in the community, making Da Vinci bridges as a science experiment, making dog tie ropes and cat scratch pads for animals at the Humane Society, making friendship bracelets to hand out to friends and family, and community service.
The ASSC has a coloring book to purchase from the merch section of the TST website. The book’s cover displays a child with an upside-down pentagram on her t-shirt and a child with Baphomet, a goat-headed figure who is a representation of a demon, on his t-shirt.
There were seven such clubs active in the United States during the 2022–2023 school year. One of them was TST’s new club called the HAIL Club (Hellion Academy of Independent Learning), which meets at libraries.
This school year, there will be 12 schools across the United States that will have ASSCs.
ASSC stated that it tries to target the activities toward kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade and usually has between 5 and 10 kids attending its after-school clubs.
Kevin McGary, an ordained minister and the president and chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California and co-founder of Every Black Life Matters, said there is a reason they are aiming their clubs toward elementary school kids.
“Young minds are vulnerable to suggestion, to any foreign ideas, and young minds haven’t lived enough to understand consequences for their actions,” he told The Epoch Times. “I think the parents can hold those schools accountable and say, look, if you’re going to have a Satan club in this school, this is a bridge too far for me as a parent, and I’m going to take my child out of this school and go to another school where the Satan club does not exist.”
On Sept. 6, The Satanic Temple of Southern California and the ASSC hosted a back-to-school night in the Lancaster Library in Lancaster, California. It came about when one of the teachers from Golden Hills Elementary, who’s also a Satanist, got upset when she saw that the school was using official communication to spread information about a four-day Bible Club. The teacher then reached out to the ASSC to hold the back-to-school night for her children to attend.
Mark Hopson of Decision Point said in a Zoom meeting that a group of students started a Satanic Temple Club at Pioneer High School in San Jose, California during the 2022–2023 school year. The students passed out flyers stating TST’s core tenets and asking fellow students to come be a member.
The club joined a teacher in protesting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), a Christian club on campus, because the FCA had requirements of believing the Bible and what the Bible says about gender, sexuality, and marriage.
Emily Mimnaugh, an attorney for Pacific Justice Institute, said in a Zoom meeting that TST “is in direct opposition to Christianity.”
“One thing I would warn in particular. … One of the messages from the promoters of these clubs is that ‘we are not actually promoting Satanism, we are here to encourage religious liberty, freedom of thought.’ And you know, in my opinion, that’s like Chairman Mao saying he’s founding a communist club not to promote communism but to explore different theories of economics. Right. It’s absolute nonsense, and you need to be aware of it.”
One of the main goals, the ASSC has stated, is to teach kids to critically think. Ms. Everett said TST is non-theistic and does not believe in supernatural beings.
Mr. Dacus said, “If they really wanted to just … promote open-mindedness, then they should call it the open-minded club.”
He said that the fact they call it the Satan Club is an attack specifically on Christians.
He added, “I understand they’re headed predominantly by atheists and push all kinds of radical leftist agendas.”
Greg Young, a pastor and host of the daily program Chosen Generation Radio in Texas, told The Epoch Times: “Separate yourself from the name; call yourself the atheist club; call yourself the ‘we’re just here to have fun with the kids club.’ If you’re not the same, if you’re not satanic, and you have no relationship to the satanic entity ... then change the name of your club.”
TST has stated that it is not associated with The Church of Satan, but it does have some members who are part of both TST and The Church of Satan.
Ms. Everett said, “They are a recognized church under the eyes of the United States IRS.”
Lucien Greaves, founder of TST, told “Out Magazine” that TST is mostly made up of LGBTQ+ people who feel disowned and disenfranchised from the traditional religious institution.
Mr. Greaves added, “We will always fight them, we will fight them to the death to ensure that there are equal rights for the gay community. … We’re all satanists and it’s not like we have ‘tolerance’ for trans people or gay people or sex workers, we just don’t [expletive] care, and a lot of people in those communities appreciate that.”
In order to get under the skin of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, and specifically Pastor Fred Phelps, about his views on the LGBT community, Mr. Greaves performed a ritual called Pink Mass over Mr. Phelps’s mother’s grave. He wore black horns on his head and asked if any supernatural beings could please turn Mr. Phelps’s mother gay in the afterlife.
Ms. Everett said: “We just did the ceremony over it, and the different gay couples kissed over it. It’s just funny; I mean, you know, we are accused of being trolls, and then sometimes you look back on some of the stuff we’ve done, and I’m like, ‘Oh well, I can’t say they’re wrong.’”
She said that TST doesn’t believe in the supernatural, and the ritual was aimed at “trolling” Mr. Phelps and his beliefs.
Ms. Everett said TST has also launched its own tele-health abortion clinic based in New Mexico. It has a couple of paid physician’s assistants who are trained in women’s health and are legally allowed to prescribe abortion medication.
Their plan is to have more of these clinics operating in different states across the nation. Currently, late-term abortions are legal in New Mexico.
Mr. Young said TST has hidden agendas.
He said they “align themselves with the LGBTQ agenda; they align themselves with the drag queen agenda; they align themselves with Planned Parenthood and the abortion agenda; these are all things that obviously are, in the view of a biblical Christian, anti-Christian. They’re anti-God. I would suggest that they are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the children.”
Ms. Everett said TST also conducts Black Mass ceremonies, which is about being free to commit blasphemy. It’s not to be confused with TST’s baptism ritual where people become unbaptized. It is generally an opposite of the Catholic mass. Held behind closed doors, one of the rituals performed involved someone taking a communion cake, pouring wine all over it, and destroying the cake by sitting on it.
Mr. McGary said we can’t take TST seriously when they say that they’re just good people, just atheists, or want to give children an alternative so they can figure out life without worrying about God judging them.
“That is a seductive and compelling line of lies, because they are teaching children to completely reject the thought of God,” he said. “There is someone that the Bible describes as the father of lies, and his native language is lying, and who is that? That is Satan.”