SALT LAKE CITY — A group called The Satanic Temple is working to launch an after-school club at elementary schools in nine states, including Utah.
“The name causes a lot of concern off the bat; not something I’d want my kids to be involved with,” said Jonathan Lee of Taylorsville.
Lee’s 5-year-old son’s elementary school could serve as a meeting place for the group's “After School Satan Club.”
Chalice Blythe, head of the Utah Chapter of The Satanic Temple, said the group isn't about promoting or worshiping the devil.
“We are atheistic Satanists, so we don't believe in Satan as a deity. Satan is a literary metaphor for an ultimate rebel against the ultimate tyrannical force,” Blythe said. “We're providing activities that teach children the fundamentals of what we believe."
The group says their focus will be on scientific understanding and reasoning. Blythe said the club was created in response to The Good News Club, created by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, which holds their meetings in public schools.
“These Good News Clubs were let into schools to proselyte and recruit children, and we feel, because that door was opened, it's necessary for us to provide that counter-balance to provide the other voice," Blythe said.
She said their fight is for separation of church and state.
“We are not trying to make this about Christians versus Satanists,” Blythe said. “It's all about plurality and having that other voice.”
But some parents are concerned about it coming to Utah schools.
“It just makes me feel that I need to teach my kids more at home so when they're involved with those situations at school, they can stand up for themselves and their moral standards,” parent Shannon Rosehan said.
Granite School District released a statement saying they are legally required to allow rental access to any entity outside of school hours if the space is available.
The Good News Club declined to comment.
If the group gets the okay, they hope to start the after school Satan club at Vista Elementary School in Taylorsville this fall.