A Democrat candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in next month’s election has sought to bring an After School Satan Club into schools, raised money for the Satanic Temple, and written books about the occult for children.
Jeremy D. Rodden is the Democrat-endorsed candidate for next month’s statehouse elections in Virginia, running for the 90th District near Chesapeake.
In November 2022, Rodden posted a flier to his campaign Facebook page that said, “Hey kids! Let’s have fun at After School Satan Club!” The flier said it is sponsored by the Satanic Temple and would take place at the B.M. Williams Primary School in Chesapeake.
Rodden wrote: “I can’t wait to sign up my second grader for this after school club! Fellow BM Williams parents, let me know if you plan on signing up your kiddos and if you need any help with carpooling/transportation. Note for those who don’t know: this club does not practice any religious indoctrination whatsoever, unlike some of the other clubs offered at this school and at schools throughout Chesapeake Public Schools.”
By December, a gunman killed seven people at a Walmart five minutes from the school while crediting Satan for his acts in a manifesto. Even the group’s original sponsor fled the group, acknowledging it was “divisive” and that the community needed healing after the slaughter. But not Rodden, who leaned in and served as its de facto spokesman, repeatedly calling Christians terrorists instead.
“I have been credited as being responsible for bringing the After School Satan Club to BM Williams here in Chesapeake. I am not. However, I do know those who are,” he wrote on Facebook.
“The local sponsor of the club has asked me to pass along the following message on their behalf: … ‘Following the tragic mass shooting at the Walmart off of Battlefield, I am removing my name from the lease agreement for the After School Satan Club,'” he wrote.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper chronicled public sentiment, saying “Outrage grows over After School Satan Club.” Rodden used the opportunity to blast Christians, saying “I know religious leaders molesting children is boring due to its frequency, but maybe we should be concerned about the actual harm being done to children than the harm not being done to children at all by the ASSC,” he said, referring to the After School Satan Club.
In February 2023, he posted a news article saying that a bomb threat was made against the school and a Satan Club volunteer.
Rodden wrote that it had “everything to do with Christian terrorism,” and asked people to donate to the Satanic Template and “tell them the Christian Nationalist terrorists of Chesapeake sent you.”
He also lamented that there were “Judeo-Christian” invocations at school board meetings, and suggested a “satanist invocation” instead.
At times, Rodden said that the Satan Club was a response to a school allowing its facilities to be used for a “Good News” Christian group. Some have used such clubs as a deliberately provocative gesture designed to demonstrate that neither is appropriate in a public school.
However, far from using “Satan” as an ironic example, Rodden has a deep fixation on the demonic.
When he’s not running for public office, Rodden authors books aimed at putting “demonic” themes in front of young children.
Books he has authored or contributed to include “Demonic Carnival: First Ticket’s Free,” “Demonic Household,” “UnCommon Evil: A Collection of Nightmares, Demonic Creatures, and UnImaginable Horrors,” and “Demonic Wildlife.”
Rodden’s social media comments demonstrate not just a desire to ensure that various religions, or the right to practice no religion at all, are respected, but rather a deep and overriding disgust with Christianity.
“#FreedomOfReligion is #FreedomFromReligion,” he wrote. He did not return a request for comment.
Rodden is seeking to represent everyone in Virginia’s 90th District, a conservative district near a military base that is currently represented by Republican Jay Leftwich.
He is endorsed by the Democrat Party, the Secular Democrats of Virginia, and high-profile state politicians including Senate leader L. Louise Lucas.
Virginia Democrats have focused on abortion this year — even candidates for school board that have no purview over it. The Satanic Temple calls itself “the leading beacon of light in the battle for abortion access.”