First Satanic Temple Kids Club Comes To Memphis Elementary School
The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple where a "Hell House" is being held in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019. - The Hell House was a parody on a Christian Conversion centre meant to scare atheist and other Satanic Church members.

The Satanic Temple plans to launch its first after-school program in Tennessee at an elementary school just outside of Memphis come January, a development that sparked widespread controversy within the community.

Chimneyrock Elementary School in Cordova, part of the Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS), will play host to the After School Satan Club. The Satanic Temple announced the club on Tuesday. The organization claimed that it offers a “non-theistic religion” with Satan present as a metaphorical literary figure, and that its after-school clubs don’t attempt to convert children to any religious ideology.

“The Satanic Temple supports children to think for themselves,” read a flyer. “All After School Satan Clubs are based on activities centered around the Seven Fundamental Tenets and emphasize a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious worldview.”

MSCS issued a statement on Tuesday defending the club’s access to the campus as a First Amendment right and deserving equal treatment granted to the Good News Club, a Christian organization, further noting that the IRS recognizes the Satanic Temple as a public nonprofit charity. MSCS directed community members to read about the Satanic Temple in The Washington Post and LA Times.

“[W]e cannot approve or deny a request based solely on the organization’s viewpoints or beliefs,” said MSCS.

MSCS also addressed the controversy over the Satanic Temple club during a meeting on Wednesday. District leaders told the community that any anger directed at the elementary school leaders and staff was misdirected.


One mother pledged to remove her son from the school following the news.

Activist and father Robby Starbuck said the new club represented further proof of an ongoing spiritual war between good and evil.

The Satanic Temple focuses on the Good News Club as its primary competitor, an organization it describes as “insidious.”

The Satanic Temple says it only opens clubs in public schools where other religious groups operate on campus, namely the Good News Club, for the purpose of providing “a safe and inclusive alternative” to those clubs that “use threats of eternal damnation” to convert children.

“The Satanic Temple is not interested in operating After School Satan Clubs in school districts that are not already hosting the Good News Club,” says the Satanic Temple on their website. “However, The Satanic Temple ultimately intends to have After School Satan Clubs operating in every school district where the Good News Club is represented.”

Those districts who reject After School Satan Club open themselves up to lawsuits. The ACLU sued a Pennsylvania school district earlier this year for rejecting the satanic club, ultimately resulting in a federal court order requiring the district to allow the club and a $200,000 settlement last month.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Toni Williams, MSCS interim superintendent, said that she doesn’t endorse or support the Satanic Temple, but does support the Constitution, state law, and board policies.

“Let’s not be fooled. What we’ve seen in the past 24 hours is an agenda initiated to ensure that we cancel all faith-based organizations that partner with our school district. Because the law says what you do for one organization, you must do for all,” said Williams.

The Satanic Temple’s co-sponsor for the after-school clubs, the Reason Alliance, is an offshoot of the nonprofit.

The Satanic Temple lists 45 member congregations, with one located in Tennessee initiated and led by two women: Kayla Sparks and Kayli Ann Miller.

“This is the religion in school that you wanted,” said Sparks. “You probably never even considered the possibility of a satanic organization coming in, did you?”

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