Schools in Lebanon respond after approving use of facilities for ‘After School Satan Club’

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Thursday evening, a diabolical controversy is brewing in the school district of Lebanon. A non-profit organization known as “The Satanic Temple After-School Satan Club” rented space at a local elementary school for monthly after-school activities. This causes parents to respond to district officials with fire and brimstone. But legally, the district’s hands appear to be tied. a parent said so. She spoke to us on the condition that she remain anonymous. She saw how the flyer reads like a scout club poster. But it’s the name itself and the logo that drives some parents to the point of outrage. “Hey Kids, let’s have fun at the After School Satan Club!” one hour after school starting next Thursday, January 27. One student’s mother told us she didn’t think it was age appropriate. “They’re very impressionable and it’s just very awkward for everyone,” she said. Then uncomfortably Superintendent Isaac Seevers issued a statement saying, in part, that the club “…is NOT a district or school sponsored event. Lebanon City Schools n ‘Do not endorse the activities or intent of this group or any affiliated religious group offering after-school activities.’ The leaflet tells parents that their child will learn caring and empathy, critical thinking, problem solving , creative expression and personal sovereignty. “You know, I think the concept is there,” the mother who didn’t want to identify told us. “With Lebanon being so conservative and most of our residents being conservative, I don’t think this is the right club for third and fourth year students.” A parental authorization slip would be required for a child to attend the sessions. Despite the uproar, the Satan Club appears to be on solid legal footing. Donovan Elementary has provided space for a Christian Good News program for years. Either you rent to everyone or you must not rent to anyone. “Exactly,” the mother told us. “And I think we would choose the latter.” Three conservative Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas, William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, joined the majority opinion in 2001 in setting the ground rules for such cases, securing the right to allow religious groups to rent locals in public schools. In recent years, wherever the Good News Club, an evangelical Christian non-profit organization, is located, the Satanic Temple After School Satan Club is certain to try to follow. Despite the name, what of many families find repugnant, the group’s mission statement says it is not trying to convert children to Satanism. In fact, the club does not consider Satan to be real, simply using the image as a representation of iconoclastic thought and rebellion. The group states that its intention is to promote free inquiry, rationalism, and the sciences. If you believe the devil is in the details, so to speak, the 2019 documentary film “Hail Satan” might prove eye-opening and at least thought-provoking. According to Seevers’ statement, a local resident and district taxpayer requested a chapter to begin at Donovan Elementary. The required forms and documents have been completed and approval has been given.

There’s a diabolical controversy brewing in the Lebanon school district on Thursday night.

A non-profit organization known as “The Satanic Temple After-School Satan Club” rented space at a local elementary school for monthly after-school activities. This causes parents to respond to district officials with fire and brimstone.

But legally, the district’s hands seem tied.

When parents discovered a flyer promoting the arrival of the Satan Club on Thursday, there was “shock” and “anger” as one parent put it. She spoke to us on the condition that she remain anonymous.

She saw how the flyer reads like a scout club poster.

A line reads “Science projects! Puzzles and games! Arts and crafts projects! Nature activities!”

It seems harmless enough. But it’s the name itself and the logo that have some parents outraged.

“Hey kids, let’s have fun at the After School Satan Club!”

The program is open to students in grades one through five in the cafeteria at Donovan Elementary School for about an hour after school starting next Thursday, January 27.

The mother of a student there told us she didn’t think it was age appropriate.

“They’re very impressionable and it’s just very awkward for everyone,” she said.

So uneasy, Superintendent Isaac Seevers issued a statement saying, in part, that the club “…is NOT a district or school sponsored event. Lebanon City Schools n ‘do not endorse the activities or intent of this group or any other religiously affiliated group offering after-school activities.’

The pamphlet tells parents that their child will learn caring and empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creative expression and personal sovereignty.

“You know, I think the concept is there,” the mother, who didn’t want to be identified, told us. “With Lebanon being so conservative and most of our residents being conservative, I don’t think this is the right club for third and fourth year students.”

Parental permission will be required for a child to attend the sessions.

Despite the uproar, the Satan Club appears to be on solid legal footing. Donovan Elementary has provided space for a Christian Good News program for years.

A generation ago, the Supreme Court ruled that if you rent to secular groups, you can’t exclude religious groups like Good News. Either you rent to everyone or you must not rent to anyone.

“Exactly,” the mother told us. “And I think we would choose the latter.”

Three conservative Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas, William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, joined the majority opinion in 2001 in setting the ground rules for such cases, securing the right to allow religious groups to rent spaces in public schools.

In recent years, wherever the Good News Club, an evangelical Christian non-profit organization, is located, the Satanic Temple After School Satan Club is sure to try to follow.

Despite the name, which many families find repugnant, the group’s mission statement states that it does not try to convert children to Satanism.

In fact, the club does not consider Satan to be real, simply using the image as a representation of iconoclastic thought and rebellion.

The group states that its intention is to promote free inquiry, rationalism and science.

If you believe the devil is in the details, so to speak, the 2019 documentary film “Hail Satan” might prove eye-opening and at least thought-provoking.

According to Seevers’ statement, a local resident and tax payer in the district requested a chapter at Donovan Elementary. The required forms and documents have been completed and approval has been given.

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