A Kansas teen is trying to launch the first high school Satan Club in the country
The anonymous student is already getting pushback from conservative Christians
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There are After School Satan Clubs in only four states, with a fifth soon to begin at an elementary school in Tennessee. In all of those cases, interested adults take the helm and parents opt-in on behalf of their children. That’s how it typically works with clubs at public elementary schools.
High schools, however, are a different beast. Students can begin their own clubs and students make their own decisions about joining. It’s almost surprising to realize that, for all the talk about The Satanic Temple, no students have tried to launch a Satanic club at a public high school.
According to the Kansas City Star, a teenager at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas has filed paperwork to begin the “High School Satan Club.” (The student told me he wanted to call it After School Satan Club, like the others, but administrators expressed legitimate concerns about anything that could be abbreviated ASS Club.)
Just like at the elementary schools, this club wouldn’t actually promote Satan, Satanic beliefs, or Satanism. There’s no indoctrination involved. It would be more of a discussion group with the potential for community service projects and other activities designed to promote the (secular, humanistic) tenets of The Satanic Temple.
But people are not handling the news well.
Before the Olathe club has even gained approval, it’s already causing an uproar, with many students and parents protesting it. As of Friday, more than 6,000 people had signed a Change.org petition titled, “Stop The Satan Worship Club At Olathe Northwest.” “This deeply troubles me and many others in our community as we believe that schools should be places of education and growth, not platforms for satanic indoctrination or controversial practices,” the petition reads.
The student in question said he hoped to begin this group in response to the Christian club that already exists at his school (AWAKE Student Ministry) and the fact that Kansas is a fairly religious state where non-Christians can often feel like outcasts.
The petition, however, makes it sound like the group would promote evil.
Satanism has a strong history of persecution and violence towards the church and those who believe in God. Whether you believe in God, are a Christian, Catholic, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or even atheist you should see that ending this club is not just because it opposes Christianity but because what they stand for and the actions they will make are wrong and immoral. This isn’t an argument over religion and Christianity but of right and wrong.
The Change.org petition was launched by a “concerned student" named Drew McDonald. But the student launching the Satanic group told me no one by that name attends his school.
Even if that petition is successful, though, it’s irrelevant. As The Satanic Temple’s June Everett told the Star, “They could get two million signatures, but that doesn’t trump constitutional First Amendment law.”
She’s right. If public school districts allow extra-curricular groups to meet in their buildings, they can’t ban a particular one on the basis of religion. Ironically, it’s Christians who demanded that policy when they won a case before the Supreme Court in 2001. The district seems to know that, too, with a spokesperson saying the Equal Access Act requires them to allow student-initiated clubs that go through the application process and meet all the guidelines. And this group has met every guideline. It has interested students. It has a faculty sponsor. It’s not violating any school rules.
The bottom line is that this Satan Club may sound spooky to some, but it’s perfectly in line with the district’s rules. If the district rejects it, a lawsuit would be sure to follow, and Satanists have an excellent track record in the courts.
There’s no reason to think the district will sabotage itself no matter how many anonymous people complain online. Which means we could be days away from the first-ever student-led Satan Club in the country.
I spoke with the student leading this effort yesterday afternoon. He told me he requested anonymity, not because he feared backlash from his classmates, but rather because he knows there are conservatives (like we recently saw in Iowa) who will resort to extremes to destroy what they falsely believe is evil. What’s stopping them from hurting an actual person?
Did he have a message for supporters? He only requested that everyone remain peaceful no matter what happens. If the school board does anything rash, The Satanic Temple has already told him they’ll assist with any legal challenges.
He also had a message for the people who simply don’t want the club to exist: Even if this group forms, he’s a senior who’ll graduate soon. So many student groups of any kind—in both high schools and colleges—die out after their founders leave. It’s possible someone else will take the reins next year, but these kinds of groups tend to have an expiration date. All that’s to say: If you don’t like the club, relax. It may not even be around that long. Just let it run its course.
It’s all very reasonable. And his words are in stark contrast to the batshittery coming from the conservative Christians who are trying to prevent a perfectly legal student group from forming, all because they don’t have the first clue what the group actually stands for.