I worked with CEF as a Good News Club teacher for several years. My secular vocation is also in an elementary school. This issue is near and dear to me. As you read the headline you might want to dismiss it as a satirical Babylon Bee article, or a hoax you can check through Snopes or Hoax Slayer. No. This is a real attack. Worse, the Temple of Satan organization is specifically targeting schools that already have an evangelical Good News Club in it. The news is from a Washington Post article published Sunday, July 30, 2016.
On Monday, the group plans to introduce its After School Satan Club to public elementary schools, including one in Prince George’s County, petitioning school officials to allow them to open immediately as the academic year starts. Chapter heads from New York, Boston, Utah and Arizona were in Salem on July 10 talking strategy, with others from Minneapolis, Detroit, San Jose, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Florida participating online.The group at first intends to roll out the clubs in a limited number of schools in districts that also host an evangelical Christian after-school program known as the Good News Club.
Good News Clubs, which are sponsored by an organization founded in 1937 called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), aim to reach children as young as 5 with a fundamentalist form of evangelical Christianity. For most of their history, Good News Clubs were largely excluded from public schools out of concern that their presence would violate the Constitution.
In 2001, in a case that commanded the resources of powerful legal advocacy groups on the religious right, including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Liberty Counsel, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to exclude an after-school program on account of the religious views of its sponsors amounted to a violation of free-speech rights. The CEF then went on a tear, and by 2011, it reported 3,560 Good News Clubs, putting them in more than 5 percent of the nation’s public elementary schools. The Satanic Temple makes no secret of its desire to use that same approach.
This gave me a tremble. I voted “NO” of course then clicked to ‘view results’. As of noon on July 31, the results were thus. Nothing like stark black ink to remind us the world is satan’s.
I also found this statement from the satan people ironic. Of course. They teach. But we indoctrinate.
While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism,” Greaves said. “We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of an everlasting other-worldly horror.”
Oh, if they only knew.
Having been on the inside of CEF for several years as a volunteer teacher, I know of the many struggles opposing the establishment or continuance of the Good News Club chapters in schools. The clubs meet after school, not during the school day, and are co-existent with many other after school clubs of the sports or academic variety. Parents must sign permission for their child to participate in the club. Yet opposition is strong, and in many places CEF has been barred. The 2001 victory was an important one, but the result in ten years of only 5% of schools allowing a CEF club bespeak the ongoing difficulties. And now that same approach that opened the gate to Good News Clubs are also being used to usher in satanic clubs as well. It might have been a Pyrrhic Victory, as we see below. Again from the WaPo article:
In 2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that the regular recitation of prayers before town meetings did not violate the First Amendment, provided that towns do not discriminate among religions, the Temple decided to test just how much religious liberty towns allowed. They volunteered to perform a Satanic benediction in an Arizona town where the board had regularly opened with a Christian prayer. In that case, the town preferred to abolish the practice of opening prayers.
As most municipal meetings are video recorded, so was the one with the satanic prayer opening. I watched and it does give a chill. The satanic Temple’s approach to insist on equal opportunity has a chilling effect on a Christian prayer when the governmental bodies choose to negate both. One can envision exactly the same happening with Good News Clubs as well.
Now, from a secular point of view, there is no need to panic. It’s not like the satanists can send out a letter on Monday and then set up shop in your schools on Tuesday. There are applications, processes, interviews, and background checks in most school districts before new clubs are approved and unknown adults can work with your children.
From a spiritual point of view, the times are surely dark but Jesus is always the Light, None of this surprises him. Since He has a special place in His heart for children, those who use children as pawns in their satanic games will surely pay a heavy price. Oh, what a day that will be.