A Satanist ‘children’s ministry’ in Tennessee has announced plans to teach the tenets of Satanism to students who don’t want to study the Bible and would prefer to worship the devil.
Knox County officials say they are considering a program that will allow students to miss class for Church-sponsored bible study, with local school board members preparing to vote on the proposed program.
But the Satanist group responded to the proposal by launching the Satanic Children’s Ministry of Knoxville, because they believe schools should not promote religion, and if they do, all religions should be represented, including devil worship.
A spokesperson for the group said in a written statement the organization was legitimate and that between five to 10 children were initially expected to take part if the plan went ahead, but there ‘may be more people interested’ than initially thought.
The Knox County School Board will vote on the Bible Release Time program in December.
The program would fall under a Tennessee statute that excuses students to attend an hour-long released time course in religious moral instruction if authorized by the local school district.
We would prefer that the school board vote down any policy written for religious release programs but if they do not, we are prepared to roll out a program. We have the financial backing and volunteers needed to make it happen.
Superintendent Bob Thomas reportedly agreed to a trial run at Sterchi Elementary School after the Elgin Foundation and The Church at Sterchi Hills proposed the idea.
The Elgin Foundation already sponsors several bible release programs across East Tennessee, including in Anderson, Roane, Scott and Union counties.
We just educate churches and schools in the legality of it. We ask schools to just simply accommodate schools parents who would participate in that.
They do not announce that their goals are to promote proselytization in our public classrooms by teaching children to do this for them.
‘They will send the kids back with toys, candy, and propaganda to help them achieve these goals.
This creates problems in the classroom not just for us as Satanists but also any Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or atheist child in the classroom as the children involved in the Bible Release Time are taught to challenge the beliefs of their classmates and promote that their god is the one true god.
‘We do not send our children to schools to be converted by outside religious organizations. We send them to get a state-approved education.
SMKC has repeatedly asserted that it is not affiliated with The Satanic Temple or the Church of Satan and said that the majority of its members do not believe in a literal Satan, but see him as a symbol of free thought.
‘Should a policy be passed allowing for Bible Release than I support any organization who meets the criteria of the program to be able to offer it.’
Other board members did not return request for comment, but WVLT reported that Susan Horn of District 5 and Terry Hill of District 6 are planning to vote to approve the bible program, while Evetty Satterfield of District 1 is undecided.
News Punch / ABC Flash Point News 2019.