Right-wing and mainstream media have been filled with breathless stories about the After-School Satan Club. The group says it was created to counter the work of the Good News Club, a child evangelism organization that operates in thousands of schools worldwide, many of them public schools. They claim to reach over a million children each year.
They can do this in public schools because they operate after school and parents have to opt-in to the programs because they are not considered official school clubs, but rather function as after-school private clubs.
The After-School Satan Club markets itself as being founded upon “free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”
All well and good. Free country and all that.
But as comedian Jim Jeffries points out in the YouTube video below from his eponymous show on Comedy Central, the After-School Satan Club is in zero schools yet still begs for money for doing, well, apparently nothing but stroking the egos of its founders and causing problems for those of us who want to present science in schools as a rational, non-threatening alternative to the know-nothing, anti-education agenda of the most conservative theologies in America.
No matter how any atheist might feel about religion in their own lives, not all people of faith are the enemy. I have a church a few blocks from my home, First United Methodist Church of Omaha (FUMC), that focuses on the goodness and kindness and love that humans can bring to one another while still being believers in a higher being. FUMC does amazing work in the community around social justice issues.
I would rather see these churches built up, instead of insisting on the fool’s errand of trying to rid the world of religion.
After School Satan is doing far more harm than good, but their efforts do illustrate an important point: the progressive side has just as many stubbornly doctrinaire people as does the right-wing side, with one important difference: many of them are people with formal education. That does not, apparently, stop them from doing very stupid things.