Parents and faith leaders in Lebanon, Connecticut, are outraged that satanists are planning an after-school club for elementary school children in their town beginning December 1.
A representative of The Satanic Temple’s (TST) After School Satan Club says Connecticut’s first such club was requested by a parent whose child attends Lebanon Elementary School as an alternative to the Bible-based Good News Club.
“This particular parent was aware of the Good News Club and did not feel comfortable sending her children to the Good News Club and was more closely aligned with our seven tenets and our beliefs,” said TST Campaign Director June Everett of Colorado, according to the Hartford Courant.
“So she reached out and asked if we can start an After School Satan Club at her kid’s elementary school, and so we went through the process and we lined up our volunteers to help with the club,” Everett added. “And, of course, the school district understands constitutional law and the First Amendment, so they approved us without any issues.”
A post Tuesday on the X account of Libs of TikTok revealed an ad that reads “Hey Kids! Let’s have fun at After School Satan Club.”
The announcement, which targets elementary school-age children and their parents, continues:
The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religion that views Satan as a literary figure who represents a metaphorical construct of rejecting tyranny and championing the human mind and spirit.
“I always have to explain to the Christians that you don’t have a monopoly on Satan,” Everett told the Courant. “We understand that he is a triggering, evil, terrible being in your biblical world. But in our world, we look to him differently. And we consider him the embodiment of standing up to radical authority.”
Prohibiting particular organizations from accessing our school buildings based on the perspectives they offer or express could violate our obligations under the First Amendment…and would not align with our commitment to non-discrimination, equal protection, and respect for diverse viewpoints.
Everett confirmed the satanists’ clubs are only organized where there are faith-based clubs in operation.
The issue will likely be discussed at the town’s next school board meeting on Tuesday, November 21.
“There’s a lot of frustration and anger in our community of Lebanon,” said Rev. Mark Masnicki, pastor of Guardian Angels Parish, who oversees both St. Francis of Assisi Church in Lebanon and St. Andrew’s in neighboring Colchester.
Masnicki told CatholicVote he has organized a special recitation of the Rosary in the front yard of St. Francis Church on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
“There has been a battle between good and evil in the world from the beginning of time,” he said. “Our adversary Satan is powerful, but we have infinitely more powerful friends in heaven to pray for us and our causes; Jesus our Savior will not leave us abandoned.”
The Lebanon pastor referred to the Church’s Prayer to the Archangel Michael, which “asks God to rebuke Satan,” he said.
“But in the presence of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her entourage, the Devil flees away,” he said. “So this coming Sunday, we as the Parishioners of the Guardian Angels Parish will come together
and pray together for our children and their families from Lebanon that the Satan Club will have no success in influencing our children. God help us.”
“After School Satan” is listed on the TST’s website as a “campaign” that “seeks to provide a safe and inclusive alternative to the religious clubs that use threats of eternal damnation to convert school children to their belief system.”
A Q & A section on the website also states the group “does not advocate for religion in schools.”
“However, once religion invades schools, as The Good News Clubs have, The Satanic Temple will fight to ensure that plurality and true religious liberty are respected,” the organization states.
The “Temple,” however, appears to vacillate regarding its own “religious” identity, depending on its situation.
On its website, the group identifies itself as “a religious organization” whose mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.”
TST’s primary pursuits of unrestricted abortion and LGBTQ activism are also readily apparent.
Visitors to the cult’s website are initially greeted with an ad for its recent fundraiser titled “Supreme Courtship,” created to support its “Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic,” named after the mother of the Supreme Court justice who penned the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the ruling that held the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.
“In 1950, Samuel Alito’s mother did not have options, and look what happened,” said Malcolm Jarry, the cofounder of TST, according to The Messenger.
Vice reported in 2015 and 2016 that TST’s agenda was primarily political and that the group had largely become a vocal advocate for unlimited abortion rights. The organization became a staunch ally to abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood shortly after Donald Trump became president and enacted pro-life policies.
Members of TST say abortion is their “religious ritual.”
TST “is requesting an immediate injunction” against Texas’ law to protect unborn babies from abortion “because the law inhibits TST members’ ability to practice their religion freely,” the group argues.
The temple not only rejects the science that a human life is developing from conception in the womb of a pregnant woman, but also that only biological females can become pregnant.
TST makes the claim that “non-viable fetal tissue is part of the pregnant person and is free to be voluntarily removed.”
In 2017, the government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents that showed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had fast-tracked tax-exempt status for an “After School Satan Club” in Tacoma, Washington, at the same time it was found to have either denied or considerably delayed the applications of conservative and Christian groups. Treasury Department records showed the cult received its tax-exempt status only 10 days after filing its application.
According to Judicial Watch, the documents revealed Lilith X. Starr, director of the TST’s Seattle branch, launched the after-school club after indicating on the application that its purpose is “character development.” She also reportedly told the Tacoma school superintendent the clubs are led by “caring Satanists.”
Parents in Lebanon are weighing how to respond to the club.
“We have to be careful not to take the bait,” Amy Bourdon, the founder of Parents Choice Connecticut, told Fox61. “This group is laying a trap.”
Since the satanists only set up clubs where there are faith-based clubs, Bourdon said the satanists are hoping the district will block them from operating, a move that would likely require them to cancel Good News clubs.
“I think other groups should plan events simultaneously on the same dates at the same time and offer a healthy and wholesome alternative to introducing children to satanic worship,” she said. “That’s really how we win. We don’t win by canceling religious freedoms and canceling the First Amendment.”
Moises Esteves, executive vice president of the Child Evangelism Fellowship – which runs the Good News Clubs – told the Courant the satanists have been operating the after-school clubs since 2016 with little success.
“Their strategy has proven to fail, but they still continue to pursue the schools where we have Good News Clubs,” he said. “They’ve had very few clubs, they don’t get a lot of kids, they don’t last very long.”