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Illinois school district defends satanic club at Jane Addams Elementary school

An Illinois school district is defending an elementary school offering “After School Satan Club,” an extracurricular educational program sponsored by the Satanic Temple of the United States.

The program, for children in grades first through fifth, will be taught by volunteers at The Jane Addams Elementary School in Moline, and will meet five times this year beginning Thursday, flyers circulating on social media claim.

According to the flyer, the club will consist of science projects, puzzles, games, arts and crafts and outdoor nature activities. The club says it will help children learn benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creative expression and personal sovereignty.

The Satanic Temple – essentially an activist group and think tank more than a religious institution – said the program is available at select public schools where Good News programs exist, and is meant to be educationally enriching. Members have no intention of converting children to Satanism.

“Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism,” the temple says about the program on its website. “After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us.

An Illinois school district is defending an elementary school providing an "After School Satan Club,” an extracurricular educational program.
An Illinois school district is defending an elementary school providing an “After School Satan Club,” an extracurricular educational program.
Jane Adams Elementary School/Fac

“We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”

The flyer prompted a response from district leadership, who emphatically assured parents that “No teachers from Jane Addams, or any other district teacher, is involved” and “Flyers were not distributed to all students,” according to a letter from Rachel Savage, Moline-Coal Valley Schools Superintendent, to district families.

She said that the space rental was “not generated by the district and is not affiliated with Jane Addams or the district.”

A district parent had reached out to the Satanic Temple’s after school club, and told the group that the elementary school already offered a “child evangelism fellowship club” and wanted to bring their program to the school “to offer parents a choice of different viewpoints,” the superintendent said.

Thirty flyers were sent to the school from the Satanic Temple and were placed in the school lobbies, as are all flyers for organizations and events at the school that are “religious in nature.”

She further noted that the board of education permits community usage of its facilities, and approves several agreements with local churches.

The flyer says the club will consist of science projects, puzzles, and more — as it aims to help children learn critical thinking and problem-solving.
The flyer says the club will consist of science projects, puzzles, and more — as it aims to help children learn critical thinking and problem-solving.
Patrick Deaton/Facebook

“To illegally deny their organization (viewpoint) to pay to rent our publicly funded institution, after school hours, subjects the district to a discrimination lawsuit, which we will not win, likely taking thousands upon thousands of tax-payer dollars away from our teachers, staff, and classrooms,” Savage wrote.

The Satanic Temple says it views Satan as a “mythical figure representing individual freedom,” according to its website.

“Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things,” the temple says. “Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.”

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