Understanding After School Satan Clubs

Since 2016, the Satanic Temple has been working to put After School Satan Clubs (ASSC) in schools. The clubs were founded as a response to the Good News Clubs run by Christians—and are able to operate in schools for similar legal reasons. As of December 2023, the Satanic Temple had five clubs in schools across the United States.
Before any reasonable Christian response to After School Satan Clubs can be explored, however, it’s important to understand what they are—and what they aren’t.

The Satanic Temple Doesn’t Believe Satan Exists
Founded in 2013 and based in Salem, Massachusetts, the Satanic Temple is certainly heavy on satanic branding. The organization uses goat heads, pentagrams, statues of Baphomet, and other occult imagery. However, if you want to find people who actually believe Satan exists, you might be better off visiting a Baptist church.

While those with supernatural beliefs are not barred from joining as members, the Satanic Temple denies the existence of the supernatural—including Satan. To them, he’s a symbolic literary figure. In the Satanic Temple’s own words: “Satan is a symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds.”1

In keeping with that independent ethos, the Satanic Temple says it has no holy book and requires no rituals. However, the organization offers optional rituals such as “Unbaptism,” where “participants renounce superstitions that may have been imposed upon them without their consent as a child.”

No Satanic Material at After School Satan Clubs?
The official mission of After School Satan Clubs is to promote “free inquiry and rationalism” rather than to proselytize or convert children to Satanism. The Satanic Temple’s two-page brochure for the clubs says:

We are not offering any materials or lectures to your child about Satanism; instead, our focus will be on free inquiry and rationalism, bolstering scientific understandings of the natural world, and nurturing your child’s already awesome ability to be curious about the wonders around them. (Emphasis in original)

In an interview with the Multifaith Matters podcast, Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said the original curriculum taught science and critical thinking skills but was too academically intense for an after school program. According to Greaves, the Satanic Temple moved the club to a “self-directed learning environment” model, offering activities such as games and puzzles to help children develop critical thinking skills.

However, despite its claims about offering no satanic materials, the Satanic Temple’s own messaging regarding its ASSC program is a bit murky—even aside from the name and the ASSC’s cartoonish devil logo. For example, as part of its After School Satan Campaign, the Satanic Temple sells After School Satan buttons and The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities—both featuring satanic imagery such as pentagrams and goat heads.

Moreover, the video prominently featured on the ASSC page is a children’s song called “My Pal Satan.” It features visuals such as a statue of Baphomet, pentagrams, a cartoonish satanic ritual, and an ASSC watermark. The main chorus goes:

Satan’s not an evil guy
He wants you to learn and question why
He wants you to have fun and be yourself
And by the way there is no hell

At one point, the song clarifies that:

Satan doesn’t actually exist
He’s an imaginary friend
Who can teach us how to live

The song advises listeners that their friend Satan wants them to be kind and share.

As another example, photos from a 2022 ASSC Back-to-School event attended by more than thirty people in Pennsylvania show children getting their faces painted, making crafts, and participating in live nature encounters. The few goat elements only stand out given the context. However, the group photo features a flag reading:


But remember that as far as the Satanic Temple is concerned, there is no Satan. In fact, in one of its promotional flyers, the Satanic Temple notes that it is the Good News Club, not the After School Satan Club, that “Tells children that demons are real and believes in a literal SATAN.”2

On the Existence of Satan
Contrary to the Satanists, there is reason to believe Satan does exist along with other demonic spiritual beings. There’s much more to it, of course, but for at least for Christians, the Bible is not ambiguous about the existence of a malevolent spiritual being called the devil or Satan.

Scripture often references evil spiritual beings in both the Old and New Testaments.3 This content is often central to the narrative, such as when Jesus repeatedly encountered sinister spiritual beings—including the devil himself.4
Against this backdrop, the apostle Paul exhorted believers to put on the full armor of God to stand against the devil (Ephesians 6:11).5 In the next verse, he wrote about the ongoing spiritual struggle: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

It benefits Christians to take this biblical evidence seriously. Moreover, both believers and unbelievers across the world have reported malevolent spiritual activity. Still, in addressing Satanists who deny the existence of Satan, it may be best to begin with discussing the existence of God (rather than of Satan) and the truth of Christianity. Once those two key elements are established, then other biblical claims about the supernatural world might be more easily accepted.

Nothing New Under the Sun
Despite the branding, After School Satan Clubs shouldn’t be overly concerning to us. There are only a few of them and they are run by an organization that doesn’t even believe Satan exists. In fact, the biggest danger might be that in working to throw a few After School Satan Clubs out of schools, Christians could jeopardize the legal ability of thousands of Christian clubs to operate on school grounds.

Moreover, even if After School Satan Clubs were banned from every school in the nation, there would still be alternatives to Christ. The branding is new, but the challenge is ancient. Indeed, when Jesus gave the Great Commission, he didn’t tell the world to go be nice to his followers and not push back. He told his followers to go make disciples of the nations of the world—nations ensnared by paganism, false ideologies, and even demonic influence.

Just as it was two thousand years ago, believers are fundamentally in a conflict of the spirit and of the mind, not of the flesh. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Note that the weapons have the ability to “destroy arguments.” Spiritual warfare isn’t just, or even usually, about showdowns with demons. Much of the time, spiritual warfare is about articulating and defending the knowledge of God in a spirit of power and love.

A Christian Response to After School Satan Clubs
So how can Christians concerned about After School Satan Clubs respond? Christian groups on school campuses could devote time to help young people think carefully and critically about the nature of reality. In fact, Christian groups could consider this even if their school doesn’t have an After School Satan Club. Christian educators and parents alike can prepare for these discussions by developing a knowledge of sound apologetics, honing their biblical understanding, trusting in the Holy Spirit, and walking in a spirit of love, grace, and humility.

It’s especially crucial to have humility when discussing apologetics and faith with children. A question or an objection from a child is an opportunity to winsomely articulate the Christian worldview and explain why it is reasonable. But students often raise tough issues. Sometimes the best response is to admit you don’t know or aren’t sure of the answer. Young people are on their own spiritual and theological journeys—just like we all are—and deserve our respect and honesty.

Young people can benefit from intellectual depth and the freedom to search and question for themselves. In my experience, younger students in particular are often more interested in and capable of depth than one might think. In the end, a child’s faith that is their faith will be deeper and more resilient—whether or not there’s a Satan Club down the hall.

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A former journalist, Grant Walker Broadhurst writes fiction, poetry, and philosophy, and he believes philosophical apologetics can be beautiful. He holds an M.A. in Apologetics, specializing in philosophy, from Houston Christian University where he received the C.S. Lewis Award for Apologetics. He currently serves on the Board at An Unexpected Journal, a pop-academic cultural apologetics journal. You can find and follow his work at MindBehindtheUniverse.com.