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Meadowlark

Satanic after school clubs?

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Huh, well, I am just trying to understand this because normal clubs are 30-45 min. after school.  I can't see how one club meeting for 30-45 min. will provide some kind of stable childcare situation and I don't think there is a different club/group coming each day to provide this, so I guess I don't see this as a solution to anyone's after school issues (and typically busses or transportation provided by the state) doesn't run after clubs or activities, so it would prove to be more problematic transportation wise.

 

For example, school here ends at 2:50. Add a 45 min club starting at 3pm, and you're at 3:45. Kid walks home, you're getting close to 4pm. A 2nd grader being home alone for an hour and a half until parent gets home is borderline doable, but 2.5 hours alone would be really pushing it. The more days a week you can put your kid in an after school club like that, the better. Like someone else said, patchwork solutions. Maybe your kid can have a playdate at his friend's house once a week, but not every day. Who knows.

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For example, school here ends at 2:50. Add a 45 min club starting at 3pm, and you're at 3:45. Kid walks home, you're getting close to 4pm. A 2nd grader being home alone for an hour and a half until parent gets home is borderline doable, but 2.5 hours alone would be really pushing it. The more days a week you can put your kid in an after school club like that, the better. Like someone else said, patchwork solutions. Maybe your kid can have a playdate at his friend's house once a week, but not every day. Who knows.

 

I understand the concept, it just doesn't seem that it is that much of a solution.   And, if the kid is old enough to walk home, he/she is probably old enough to be alone for a couple of hours.   If they really didn't want whatever the club was, the kid could just come home.

 

Here we have busses, most kids don't live close enough to walk, and even if they did, it isn't safe.  Narrow streets and no sidewalks and  having to cross busy streets without crosswalks.   I realize this isn't where everyone lives, but I could not, in any good conscience, put my kid in a club with a religion I were completely in opposition to, even if I had no other alternatives.   I would prefer he ride the bus home and be a latchkey kid.

 

I guess my point is, in this particular scenario, they do have a choice.  And, all religions have the opportunity to offer an after school day.  Instead of saying "those Christians are so horrible because they trap kids who don't have alternatives,"  why not offer an alternative?   Want an agnostic club?  Go for it.  Start one.  Want a Muslim club?  Great, get one going.  Want a Jehovah's Witness club, get one going!

 

I would assume that if you start a club, you will indeed talk about your own beliefs and ideologies.  

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In some cases a "real" atheist is fine to live and let live.  And then she sends her child to a public school, where other children try to convince him that Jesus is the answer to everything and make him feel bad that he doesn't have Jesus, every single day.  The teachers might mention Christianity in class and discuss Creation Science.  The fun clubs that ALL the kids are part of are Christian.  There are even Christian groups that sponsor assemblies or offer Christian prayer at events.  Then the atheist parent might feel that the "live and let live" is a bit one-sided.  

 

If "Jesus" is replaced with "Muhammed" and "Christian" is replaced with "Islam," you might get an inkling of how she feels.  

 

The hypothetical family probably ought to move out of the Bible Belt, but sometimes that isn't possible and gosh-darn-it public schools are not supposed to push a specific religion.  (Some frustration here might explain the origin of the club from the OP.)

 

 

See, I see this as completely different than offering an after school club that preaches Jesus.  This is a PS situation where a child is lead to feel shame.  I honestly do have a problem with some of the shame culture I see in Christianity.  And I am a Christian.  I went to a Christian school for a while where there was a lot of shame manipulation.  I still struggle with some of the things we were told in our 3 day revival meetings we had to go to each year.   I won't go into details, partly because I don't want to bring it all up again.

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I understand the concept, it just doesn't seem that it is that much of a solution.   And, if the kid is old enough to walk home, he/she is probably old enough to be alone for a couple of hours.  

 

Here they let 1st graders (kids 5.75yo+ due to cut-off) walk home alone for up to 1 mile. A 5.75yo should not be staying home alone for 2+ hours, at least not according to all of society around me (I'd be scared to death of CPS).

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Here they let 1st graders (kids 5.75yo+ due to cut-off) walk home alone for up to 1 mile. A 5.75yo should not be staying home alone for 2+ hours, at least not according to all of society around me (I'd be scared to death of CPS).

 

 

And I don't think a 5-6 year old should be walking home alone.  Another fear of CPS involvement.

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And I don't think a 5-6 year old should be walking home alone.  Another fear of CPS involvement.

 

See, I'm not concerned about it, since the school is letting them, so I doubt CPS is going to get involved over something the entire school district has as their policy.

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Not just my opinion.

 

Dictionary.com: 

noun

1.

a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Merriam-Webster: 

 
a :  a disbelief in the existence of deity
b :  the doctrine that there is no deity

 

 

 

 

Instead of "real atheist" maybe "polite atheist" or "reasonable atheist" would be more accurate? Being a twit is an equal-opportunity vocation. I've known real atheists who are twits, real Christians who are twits, real Muslims who are twits, etc. It doesn't negate their belief system, it just makes them annoying. :)

Edited by mellifera33
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Ok, I guess I am not understanding.  So the Christian clubs come to the school every day after school and offer free childcare on the school property?

 

In some places they do.  I had one of mine in a summer program.  It was free and run in part by the city and in part by some sort of religious mission group thing.  There was nothing religious about it though.  Religious based stuff like this tends to be pretty tame around here. 

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And I don't think a 5-6 year old should be walking home alone.  Another fear of CPS involvement.

 

They do around here.  There is no law/rule prohibiting it.  And if there were I'd argue then that the school has to provide a solution at no cost to me. 

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Not just my opinion.

 

Dictionary.com: 

noun

1.

a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Merriam-Webster: 

 
a :  a disbelief in the existence of deity
b :  the doctrine that there is no deity

 

 

 

 

Some people would take denial in the existence of a supreme being as mockery. 

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I think it is regional. Around here, no one would bat an eye at a group of two or more kindergarteners walking home together, let alone a single third grader. We also have "walking clubs" in our elementary schools, which are adults that lead groups home after school or activities when they have further to go or must cross busy roads after the crossing guards have left.

 

Also, keep in mind that shift work hours are much different. 45 minutes may be just enough time if your shift ends at 4pm. Or, if you have an older child that gets out of middle or high school at 3:30 pm so they can supervise the younger until you get home. And while many of us here would never put a child in a club that didn't match out values, this is because we are speaking from a place of privilege. When the option is a club with a questionable motive or not being able to work and eat that week, the club starts to seem like a better choice.

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I understand the concept, it just doesn't seem that it is that much of a solution.     

 

Not to derail the thread but 'not that much of a solution' is the best some people can manage, y'know? A little bit better is better than nothing. 

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Huh, well, I am just trying to understand this because normal clubs are 30-45 min. after school. I can't see how one club meeting for 30-45 min. will provide some kind of stable childcare situation and I don't think there is a different club/group coming each day to provide this, so I guess I don't see this as a solution to anyone's after school issues (and typically busses or transportation provided by the state) doesn't run after clubs or activities, so it would prove to be more problematic transportation wise.

 

But I fear I am far too tired to really get my point across tonight.

In my district, the Christian clubs are at churches that either run busses to the school and pick up kids, or are close enough that the kids walk (with permission), and they keep the kids until after 5:00, often providing dinner for families (and sometimes segueing info Wednesday night church activities). They're basically a VBS type program, and also involve some supervised homework time (and possibly tutoring or reading instruction), outside play, and so on. They absolutely are used frequently by parents to reduce child care costs (which are about $20/day for a similar program through the YMCA or a child care center). I imagine that a similar program run by the Satanic temple might get a good response, but they'd have to have it off campus, just like the church run programs are.

 

In schools that have on-campus after care /extended day, clubs are part of the after school program, and are usually run by paid staff, often faculty in the school. So, the music teacher will teach choir as part of the after school program, and either have a free period earlier in the day or get a little extra to supplement. You also might see a math club that, again, a teacher is paid to run, or maybe a sports class or team taught by the PE teacher. In schools without such programs, you don't see after school clubs because there simply aren't many kids to participate in them. Either they're getting on an after school care bus, or they're getting on a school bus to go home. The only schools I know of that have outside clubs/instruction on campus are private ones, and most of those are religious in nature.

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They do around here.  There is no law/rule prohibiting it.  And if there were I'd argue then that the school has to provide a solution at no cost to me. 

 

 

Do they provide bussing?  They do provide free transportation for our students.  That is the transportation, they do not cater to everyone's working schedule.  They provide transportation to and from school.

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In my district, the Christian clubs are at churches that either run busses to the school and pick up kids, or are close enough that the kids walk (with permission), and they keep the kids until after 5:00, often providing dinner for families (and sometimes segueing info Wednesday night church activities). They're basically a VBS type program, and also involve some supervised homework time (and possibly tutoring or reading instruction), outside play, and so on. They absolutely are used frequently by parents to reduce child care costs (which are about $20/day for a similar program through the YMCA or a child care center). I imagine that a similar program run by the Satanic temple might get a good response, but they'd have to have it off campus, just like the church run programs are.

 

In schools that have on-campus after care /extended day, clubs are part of the after school program, and are usually run by paid staff, often faculty in the school. So, the music teacher will teach choir as part of the after school program, and either have a free period earlier in the day or get a little extra to supplement. You also might see a math club that, again, a teacher is paid to run, or maybe a sports class or team taught by the PE teacher. In schools without such programs, you don't see after school clubs because there simply aren't many kids to participate in them. Either they're getting on an after school care bus, or they're getting on a school bus to go home. The only schools I know of that have outside clubs/instruction on campus are private ones, and most of those are religious in nature.

 

 

That actually sounds like a wonderful service to the community and people can choose to participate or not.  

 

It is similar to the homeless shelters around here run by churches.  Many don't want to go because they might have to attend a church service first.  That is certainly their choice.

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They do around here.  There is no law/rule prohibiting it.  And if there were I'd argue then that the school has to provide a solution at no cost to me. 

 

 

Is there a law forbidding them to be home alone for a couple of hours?  

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See, I'm not concerned about it, since the school is letting them, so I doubt CPS is going to get involved over something the entire school district has as their policy.

 

 

Personally, I think it would be safer to take the school bus home and go inside your house and lock the door.  That was more my point.  

 

The child may be home alone 2 hours instead of 1.  Big deal.   

 

My point is that if you really and absolutely do not want whatever club is being offered, you do need to either attend and be ok with it, or find another solution.

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Do they provide bussing?  They do provide free transportation for our students.  That is the transportation, they do not cater to everyone's working schedule.  They provide transportation to and from school.

 

Yes they do provide busing, but it is based on how far one is from the school and not how old they are.  It's not about catering.  I see nothing wrong with allowing a first grader who knows their way well to walk to school.  Here they have crossing guards in various places.  I see very little kids walking to school regularly. 

 

Although I don't live in a safe area.  I would worry about my kid, but a lot of people really do not have any choice.  They themselves don't have vehicles to drive their kids to school and they might have to get to a job at that time so they send their kids off to school.  I don't think they are doing anything careless. 

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Personally, I think it would be safer to take the school bus home and go inside your house and lock the door.  That was more my point.  

 

The child may be home alone 2 hours instead of 1.  Big deal.   

 

My point is that if you really and absolutely do not want whatever club is being offered, you do need to either attend and be ok with it, or find another solution.

 

The cut off for elementary here is 1.5 miles.  If you live 1.5 miles or closer you have to walk.  There probably aren't very many people who live that far though because they have many elementary schools and the city is very densely populated, but overall small in area.  There is nowhere one can live where there isn't a school fairly close.

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Yes they do provide busing, but it is based on how far one is from the school and not how old they are.  It's not about catering.  I see nothing wrong with allowing a first grader who knows their way well to walk to school.  Here they have crossing guards in various places.  I see very little kids walking to school regularly. 

 

Although I don't live in a safe area.  I would worry about my kid, but a lot of people really do not have any choice.  They themselves don't have vehicles to drive their kids to school and they might have to get to a job at that time so they send their kids off to school.  I don't think they are doing anything careless. 

 

 

I don't necessarily either, although I still think it would be safer not to, but the point about they don't have a choice because the parents are working (with after school clubs) doesn't seem to hold much water for me.  If you  really hate the club, have your child come home and lock the doors, if they are going to be alone for 1 hour, 2 really won't be a stretch.

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I don't necessarily either, although I still think it would be safer not to, but the point about they don't have a choice because the parents are working (with after school clubs) doesn't seem to hold much water for me.  If you  really hate the club, have your child come home and lock the doors, if they are going to be alone for 1 hour, 2 really won't be a stretch.

 

Well I hate the boys and girls club.  That's the free afterschool care around here.  But I'd send my kids there rather than have them home alone for hours after school every day. 

 

Here I know a lot of people rely on free summer bible camps.  I'd have to be pretty desperate to do that though.

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Well I hate the boys and girls club.  That's the free afterschool care around here.  But I'd send my kids there rather than have them home alone for hours after school every day. 

 

Here I know a lot of people rely on free summer bible camps.  I'd have to be pretty desperate to do that though.

 

 

Right.  If you don't like something but it is not "that bad" then yeah, you might need to do it.  But if I were adamantly opposed to the ideology taught to my children somewhere, I would not even entertain the idea.    

Edited by DawnM
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The cut off for elementary here is 1.5 miles. If you live 1.5 miles or closer you have to walk. There probably aren't very many people who live that far though because they have many elementary schools and the city is very densely populated, but overall small in area. There is nowhere one can live where there isn't a school fairly close.

Yeah. Here the cut for walking or receiving district transportation is apparently counted as the crow flies and not as one actually has to walk it and with no consideration of the area/conditions you have to walk in. My niece and nephew were supposed to be able to cross busy streets without crossing guards, including an actual highway and a protitution/drug sales strip. Plus the distance you had to walk (because of which streets went through and which dead ended) was a far bit farther than the actual cutoff for transportation services. Great. Fortunately when they cut their bus service, their mom or I was able to drive them.

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Yeah. Here the cut for walking or receiving district transportation is apparently counted as the crow flies and not as one actually has to walk it and with no consideration of the area/conditions you have to walk in. My niece and nephew were supposed to be able to cross busy streets without crossing guards, including an actual highway and a protitution/drug sales strip. Plus the distance you had to walk (because of which streets went through and which dead ended) was a far bit farther than the actual cutoff for transportation services. Great. Fortunately when they cut their bus service, their mom or I was able to drive them.

 

Oh no I do think they'd consider other circumstances.  For example, I know of districts that won't allow students to walk if they don't have sidewalks all the way to the school.  I can't think of any place around here that is like that, but one town over most kids don't walk because so many areas have no sidewalks. 

 

I think the worst thing here is that the walk from where I live to the nearest school would involve walking in an area with heavy traffic with a lot of crossing that has no cross lights.  There are a few crossing guards in the worst spots closest to the school, but there is still a few areas that don't that I think should.  That hasn't happened though because I didn't move here for the schools.  But I'm such a spazz that I remind even my 14 year old to be very very careful in certain areas.  It's not unheard of for even adults doing what they are supposed to do getting hit and killed because of drivers who drive like idiots.  I hate it, but I can't imagine not letting him go. 

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But if I were adamantly opposed to the ideology taught to my children somewhere, I would not even entertain the idea.    

 

Good thing you've been so privileged then.

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Right. If you don't like something but it is not "that bad" then yeah, you might need to do it. But if I were adamantly opposed to the ideology taught to my children somewhere, I would not even entertain the idea.

That is your privilege speaking.

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Some people would take denial in the existence of a supreme being as mockery. 

 

But that isn't mockery.

 

Calling yourself the "satan" club, when you are mocking religious belief is an entirely different thing.

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I don't understand why being polite has become the end all and be all. Being polite is not what wins rights and changes society.

 

When fighting for separation of church and state, and at a time when people in the US are all shouting about religious freedom but what they really mean is Christian religious freedom. groups like this are vital.

[/quo

 

So, basically the Christians are supposed to be polite and tolerant but the atheists aren't. Gotcha.

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I don't understand why being polite has become the end all and be all. Being polite is not what wins rights and changes society.

 

When fighting for separation of church and state, and at a time when people in the US are all shouting about religious freedom but what they really mean is Christian religious freedom. groups like this are vital.

[/quo

 

So, basically the Christians are supposed to be polite and tolerant but the atheists aren't. Gotcha.

 

Er, no. Basically, people need to accept that either all religions get access to the public square, or none of them do. I wouldn't expect Christians to be polite and remain quiet if their rights were being infringed upon, but in this situation, they aren't. 

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I understand the concept, it just doesn't seem that it is that much of a solution. And, if the kid is old enough to walk home, he/she is probably old enough to be alone for a couple of hours. If they really didn't want whatever the club was, the kid could just come home.

 

Here we have busses, most kids don't live close enough to walk, and even if they did, it isn't safe. Narrow streets and no sidewalks and having to cross busy streets without crosswalks. I realize this isn't where everyone lives, but I could not, in any good conscience, put my kid in a club with a religion I were completely in opposition to, even if I had no other alternatives. I would prefer he ride the bus home and be a latchkey kid.

 

I know a lot of people in my area who rely on patchwork solutions to cover childcare needs. Afterschool clubs even ones that meet 45 min fit into the patchwork.

 

I can find a neighbor to watch dc before school, work 7-3 and manage to get to school by 4 when the club finishes. Another day I might pick up from a neighbor. But if I can get three days in a club that is less I have pay babysitting rates for afterschool.

 

It's awful to have to rely on such a patchwork, but many people do.

 

Additionally, just because a child is old enough to stay home alone doesn't mean a parent won't think that is the safest choice for that child.

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So, basically the Christians are supposed to be polite and tolerant but the atheists aren't. Gotcha.

 

If the Christians would be polite and tolerant, then the atheists wouldn't have to make noise.

 

When the Christians stop trying to prevent other people from enjoying the same rights Christians demand, then everyone else will stop feeling the need to agitate for equal treatment.

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Mockery is not how you counter ideas you find unconstitutional.

An organization (group, person) who does that is just being a jerk. 

 

I disagree with your first statement. Mockery, satire, and parody are long established ways of exposing perceived injustices. From Ben Franklin, to political cartoons, to Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, mockery of problematic policies and people has been a popular tool in the toolbox of criticism. People have routinely mocked those in power to bring attention to situations argued to be unfair, detrimental, or downright absurd. The more negative attention a policy receives, the more likely it is to be modified. So, not only is mockery one way to counter ideas perceived to be unconstitutional, it's often an effective way.

 

Being a "jerk" is a purely subjective call, and while it can be lobbed both ways (as that's how subjective opinions work), it's ultimately a distraction from the point being made. The Satanic Temple is making a statement that legal rights should not be suppressed. After Congress passed the Equal Access Act of 1984, after-school bible clubs were deemed perfectly admissible on public school grounds, just like any other club. Well, the Satanic Temple's "After School Satan Club" is another club, and it has the right to gather kids for a specific purpose. In other words, what's good for the goose (Christian churches) is good for the gander (Satanists, Muslims, pagans, atheists, LGBTQ, etc).

 

Other secular groups have offered similar clubs, but they don't really catch on. The Satanic Temple has something that others don't - they're instantly recognizable. While many may find the name of the temple personally insulting, it shouldn't be a distraction from the function of the club - focusing on free inquiry, rationalism, the scientific basis for what we know about the world. It should also be noted, this club is offered only in districts where the Good News Clubs already exists (source, The Friendly Atheist).

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I'm sorry, Sadie, but you know I can't agree. Satan, demons, and Jesus either exist, or they don't. My opinion has no bearing on that objective truth. The experiences I mentioned here were solidly in the physical realm. You have my word, for what it's worth.

 

This is a really, really important issue, and one the After School Satan club will (hopefully) tackle. The question is, do subjective explanations of one's personal experiences accurately explain the natural world? Maybe so, maybe not. How can one tell? Well, different methods have been trusted throughout history, but there's been only one methodology that has been shown to be the most accurate and reliable. It's founded on making observations, collecting data, doing experiments, analyzing data, exposing results to peers so they can catch any unknown, personal biases (which we all have, and hardly ever see in ourselves). This is the exact kind of thing these After School Satan clubs ought to be exploring, imo, because religious and superstitious beliefs really do feel like accurate explanations of the world and if we want to solve our problems, it behooves us to be right. 

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Albeto.!!!  Great to see you back!  Missed you!

 

Thanks, 8circles! I find conversations like this really interesting as well. There are so many things that catch different people's attention, different angles that one person finds more important than another. It's been interesting to watch the things people are focusing on. A few examples:

 

So, basically the Christians are supposed to be polite and tolerant but the atheists aren't. Gotcha.

 

Polite and tolerant are social skills, which, grateful as we are to run into them, is actually not a part of the equation here. Some people have better "people skills" than others. We can't all be like Captain Picard, eloquent and articulate and calm under pressure. But then, neither are we all like Christian Bale, ranting the moment our [comparatively low] tolerance for frustration is breached. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and even this changes from day to day. But really, this is about allowing all religious organizations the opportunity to benefit from the same law. Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal advocacy group that promoted the Equal Access Act of 1984, now states it will offer pro bono legal counsel to the schools "targeted by this disruptive group." (source, The Friendly Atheist

 

One might ask, what is disruptive about teaching kids about free inquiry and rationalism, and the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world? What do they imagine is going on? What could possibly be dangerous about teaching science? 

 

Teaching the difference between the scientific inquiry and faith-based inquiry shouldn't be a threat, and yet it really does seem to be perceived in just this way. No one comes out and says this, but consider what is being said:

 

I've met a few Satanists before. In my experience, they are more likely to be militant anti-theists rather than neopagans or even occultists -- the ones I've met have usually been from religious families or communities that treated them poorly. Whether that makes them more or less dangerous from a Catholic perspective I don't know.

 

I say anti-theist to distinguish from atheist, because I've found atheists who were simply raised in irreligious environments are harmless; they have no personal stake in religion, and are no more likely to harass Christians than non-baseball players would be likely to hang around at Little League games trying to convince children that baseball was a cruel and nasty sport. They have no personal wounds related to Christianity, which removes much of the motivation to do something which is very time-consuming.

 

Maybe this can be part of a difficult conversation about how churches and their communities sometimes fail their members, and how to reconcile the teachings of the Bible with its imperfect followers.

(my computer is attributing this quote to Luanne, but it belongs to Anacharsis)

 

What is a "militant anti-theist"? What kind of military techniques do these extremists use? How do they harass people? In what way is "harass" being understood here? In what way are anti-theists, militant or otherwise, potentially "dangerous" from a Catholic perspective, or any Christian perspective? What' the perceived threat here? There seems to be one, and it's not just found here in this little community (nor does Anacharsis or others bear any blame for expressing this general opinion). Consider the letter the Liberty Counsel sent to Roskruge Bilingual School in Tucson, Arizona this week:

 

 

[The Satanic Temple] especially hates Christianity, and seeks to force permissible expressions of Christian belief from the public sphere, through various publicity stunts and antics. In the past, for instance, TST has presented state and local governments with the false choice of either accepting a statue of “Satan†to go alongside a Ten Commandments monument, or in removing the monument itself, despite the fact that courts have upheld Ten Commandments monuments as being completely legal on government property. See Van Orden v. Perry… Now, TST is seeking to intimidate school districts with another false choice, of either allowing an “After School Satan†club, or eliminating other privately-sponsored after school clubs, especially the Good News Club.

 

There are misleading statements inspired to raise a certain emotional response. For example, the Satanic Temple does not hate Christianity, nor does it seek to force permissible expressions of Christian belief from the public sphere - only to ensure the same legal right extends to all religions. Look how it's being challenged before it even gets off the ground - promises of legal service and inspiration of fear and persecution through misinformation and vague accusations. 

 

No one is being forced from the public sphere. The public sphere is just that - public. It belongs to everyone, not just the majority, not just those who have the most representatives in office. That means it belongs to Satanists too. If a local government opts to allow one religious group to set up a public forum, it must by law allow all. The Satanic Temple is taking advantage of this law, but any religious group can. Any. 

 

Anyway, as one who identifies as an anti-theist herself (that is to say, I believe behaviors inspired by theistic beliefs produce more negative effects than positive), I'm not sure how I *could* be militant. I suppose I could threaten bodily harm or vandalize property, but is this what "militant anti-theists" are understood to be doing? While this is done once in a while (can't think of any examples off the top of my head), there's no comparison to the violence and aggression inspired by religious beliefs. So I'm at a loss with respect to understanding what a "militant anti-theist" is, much less what danger I, or someone like me, poses. The only danger I can think of is that we take the opportunity available to those enjoying a free exchange of ideas to challenge certain assumptions and faith-based claims. In general, we remain a minority voice in society. According to the Pew Research Center, "In the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, self-identified atheists were asked how often they share their views on God and religion with religious people. Only about one-in-ten atheists (9%) say they do at least weekly, while roughly two-thirds (65%) say they seldom or never discuss their views on religion with religious people. By comparison, 26% of those who have a religious affiliation share their views at least once a week with those who have other beliefs; 43% say they seldom or never do."

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And yet it's being argued here that they are not in fact a religious group, they are a group that promotes non-religion and secularism. 

 

I have no issue with saying that religious and non-religious worldviews, theistic and pantheistic, atheistic, and every other variation, all constitute worldviews and should be equally treated as such.  So from my perspective, the principle and the law should protect their worldview as much as the evangelicals - (though not necessarily the way they choose to label their club.)

 

But that seems to be the opposite of what they are saying - they are saying religious worldviews should be excluded.  To say on the one hand that they are by principle a non-religious group makes it rather contradictory to claim they need to be included on the basis that they are a religious group. 

 

According to the Satanic Temple FAQ, they do identify as religious. They do not promote non-religion and secularism, they promote religion, "divorced from superstition":

 

 

It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.

 

Nor are they saying religious worldviews should be excluded (they have a religious worldview remember, just not like yours). They're saying if the public sphere is open to the promotion of one religion (ie, Christianity, for example through a monument dedicated to the ten commandments, or the cross), then by law, and in reality, it should be open to all who ask. They're asking. They're asking in a most publicly unavoidable way, and while this may ruffle the feathers of those who believe Satan to be a real person (or person-like being), nevertheless it must be tolerated in a society that offers freedom and liberty equally. 

 

When one's feathers are ruffled, there are law-abiding ways to go about addressing the offence, and the Satanic Temple is doing just that. They are acting in compliance with the law. I submit that the push-back they get, both in legal action and in pleasant conversation like we see in this forum, exposes just how tolerant society is to religious inequality. There has been unchallenged privileges for many generations. I just learned it wasn't until the Vietnam war that military dog-tags offered religious identity other than Jewish or Christian. Muslims and atheists and Sikhs and Hindu and every other military person who identified with a different religion simply kept quiet (or were ignored). The assumption that only the Abrahamic religions need be taken seriously (and even that is debatable depending on who one speaks with) is one kind of privilege that some people are fighting back against, not just with regard to dog tags and military headstones, but after school clubs, too. 

 

In my opinion, their policies are clever because they kill two birds with one stone. They address the religious inequality that often gets a pass in society because most people are either innocently ignorant of the problem, or apathetic about the issues. And they address the religious indoctrination of school-aged kids by offering seemingly "safe" and "friendly" programs in what should be religiously neutral ground (public school) that are in fact designed to teach a certain worldview is right, a certain worldview that is considered harmful and dangerous to an increasing number of Americans. They address them by exposing them, and they expose them by taking advantage of their legal rights. They just turned it up to 11, and now everyone hears it. The squeaky wheel and all. 

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So I'm at a loss with respect to understanding what a "militant anti-theist" is, much less what danger I, or someone like me, poses. 

 

Come now, albeto. Surely you realize that any time you question the dominant religion, you are being rude, violent, and militant. The dominant religion is immune from questioning and criticism, and it is only people who are threats to the social order who don't fall in line. You are smart; if you pretend not to know this, you clearly are being disingenuous.

 

:001_rolleyes:

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What is a "militant anti-theist"? What kind of military techniques do these extremists use? How do they harass people? In what way is "harass" being understood here? In what way are anti-theists, militant or otherwise, potentially "dangerous" from a Catholic perspective, or any Christian perspective? What' the perceived threat here? There seems to be one, and it's not just found here in this little community (nor does Anacharsis or others bear any blame for expressing this general opinion). Consider the letter the Liberty Counsel sent to Roskruge Bilingual School in Tucson, Arizona this week:

 

Militant is used here to mean aggressively active or combative in favor of a non-military cause. (This use started in the early 1900s.) I think one interesting aspect here is that this language may have been originally borrowed from religious fraternal organizations, which sometimes referred to their members as part of a "Church Militant" in allusion to the Crusaders. I think this is maybe the best way to describe militant -- crusading for a cause, rather than simply advocating for it.

 

My thought on whether they would be considered more dangerous than occultists or neopagans has to do with their relationship.

 

A Kemetist neopagan may pray to Ba'al, unnerving a Christian who knows of Ba'al from the Bible. However, the Kemetist would not see what they do as Satanic, nor as something done to spite Christians.

 

An occultist, perhaps following the guidance of the Lesser Key of Solomon, might attempt to invoke Ba'al as a demon servant; this is more explicitly within the Christian framework, but the goal is personal and non-missionary. Many occultists are highly secretive, and not interested in increasing their visibility.

 

A militant anti-theist, however, sees their goals as more than personal, even as the motivation for those goals is often highly personal. To re-visit my original analogy, they would gain personal vindication through turning away Little Leaguers from baseball due to their own negative experiences in Little League, while also seeing working towards an end to children playing baseball as part of a larger social good. So they might be willing to go to greater lengths to attack the institution than other groups that would traditionally be called Satanic by Christians.

Edited by Anacharsis
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Militant is used here to mean aggressively active or combative in favor of a non-military cause. (This use started in the early 1900s.) I think one interesting aspect here is that this language may have been originally borrowed from religious fraternal organizations, which sometimes referred to their members as part of a "Church Militant" in allusion to the Crusaders. I think this is maybe the best way to describe militant -- crusading for a cause, rather than simply advocating for it.

 

Thanks for this. For some perspective, when I see the word "militant" used with regard to some religious action, I expect it to be accompanied by some level of violence and aggression. "'Militant Christians' bombed another women's health facility where abortions are offered." Or "'militant Muslims' kidnapped school children and sold them as slaves for profit." Whereas "'militant atheists" don't stop asking, 'Why should this particular public policy revolve around faith-based claims that cannot be corroborated by any evidence, or when in fact the evidence suggests the contrary?'" Do you see the disconnect here? Violence and terror vs. exposing hypocrisy or injustice? 

 

A militant anti-theist, however, sees their goals as more than personal, even as the motivation for those goals is often highly personal. 

 
This interests me because as someone who has been tagged as a "militant anti-theist," I would say I don't relate to this at all. 
 

To re-visit my original analogy, they would gain personal vindication through turning away Little Leaguers from baseball due to their own negative experiences in Little League, while also seeing working towards an end to children playing baseball as part of a larger social good. So they might be willing to go to greater lengths to attack the institution than other groups that would traditionally be called Satanic by Christians.

 

(I bolded the phrases to divorce them from the specific analogy)

 

Upon what do you base this premise? To bring the topic back to the Satanic Temple, I don't get the impression they exist to deny children Christian experiences. Do you see the After School Satan club as "attacking" Christianity in some way? Or do you not consider the Satanic Temple a "militant anti-theist" group? 

 

 

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I'm anti-theist most of the time, and I've had periods of being militant - if by militant we mean not prepared to put up with the dominant religion behaving disrespectfully in  the public space.

 

It's personal AND political.

 

When dominant religions do their own thing in a respectful manner, I'm not lining up at the youth group door to hand out freethinker fliers. Or picketing the local church.

 

It does amuse me, this militant idea. It's not remotely militant aka violent or extremist to stand up for the idea that church and state ought to be separate, or that religions should be treated equally as far as rights to the public space.

 

Doesn't even seem as if this group is particularly confrontational. They are just dedicated and persistent. And they have a nose for what makes a headline. Good for them!

Edited by StellaM
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Militant is used here to mean aggressively active or combative in favor of a non-military cause. (This use started in the early 1900s.) I think one interesting aspect here is that this language may have been originally borrowed from religious fraternal organizations, which sometimes referred to their members as part of a "Church Militant" in allusion to the Crusaders. I think this is maybe the best way to describe militant -- crusading for a cause, rather than simply advocating for it.

 

My thought on whether they would be considered more dangerous than occultists or neopagans has to do with their relationship.

 

A Kemetist neopagan may pray to Ba'al, unnerving a Christian who knows of Ba'al from the Bible. However, the Kemetist would not see what they do as Satanic, nor as something done to spite Christians.

 

An occultist, perhaps following the guidance of the Lesser Key of Solomon, might attempt to invoke Ba'al as a demon servant; this is more explicitly within the Christian framework, but the goal is personal and non-missionary. Many occultists are highly secretive, and not interested in increasing their visibility.

 

A militant anti-theist, however, sees their goals as more than personal, even as the motivation for those goals is often highly personal. To re-visit my original analogy, they would gain personal vindication through turning away Little Leaguers from baseball due to their own negative experiences in Little League, while also seeing working towards an end to children playing baseball as part of a larger social good. So they might be willing to go to greater lengths to attack the institution than other groups that would traditionally be called Satanic by Christians.

 

More dangerous? That would imply Pagans and occultists are dangerous as well. In what way do you think you're in danger from these people? 

 

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Come now, albeto. Surely you realize that any time you question the dominant religion, you are being rude, violent, and militant. The dominant religion is immune from questioning and criticism, and it is only people who are threats to the social order who don't fall in line. You are smart; if you pretend not to know this, you clearly are being disingenuous.

 

*snrk*

 

I think I've seen a comic about this somewhere.

 

Time for me to bow out again, btw.

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Thanks for this. For some perspective, when I see the word "militant" used with regard to some religious action, I expect it to be accompanied by some level of violence and aggression. "'Militant Christians' bombed another women's health facility where abortions are offered." Or "'militant Muslims' kidnapped school children and sold them as slaves for profit." Whereas "'militant atheists" don't stop asking, 'Why should this particular public policy revolve around faith-based claims that cannot be corroborated by any evidence, or when in fact the evidence suggests the contrary?'" Do you see the disconnect here? Violence and terror vs. exposing hypocrisy or injustice?

 

I think this is because the term can still be used in its original sense to refer to military action, so it is sometimes used in a way where it is not clear how they mean it. Stories about militant atheists using the original definition were more common during the Cold War, I think. For instance, the Khmer Rouge could probably be described as militant atheists in the traditional sense of using military action.

 

This interests me because as someone who has been tagged as a "militant anti-theist," I would say I don't relate to this at all.

 

 Perhaps they've misunderstood your views or actions?

 

(I bolded the phrases to divorce them from the specific analogy)

 

Upon what do you base this premise? To bring the topic back to the Satanic Temple, I don't get the impression they exist to deny children Christian experiences. Do you see the After School Satan club as "attacking" Christianity in some way? Or do you not consider the Satanic Temple a "militant anti-theist" group?

 

The motivations behind the Satanic Temple founders seem complex. It's a bit hard to determine because not much is known about their personal lives. A good place to start for context might be the writings of shock-publisher Shane Bugbee. Bugbee has a lot to say about the origins of the Satanic Temple, as he saw it grow from the beginning.

 

He met Lucien Graves back when he was Doug Mesner, a high-schooler looking for a copy of Might Is Right, which Bugbee's publishing house had recently re-printed with a new introduction by Anton LaVey.  After developing his relationship with Bugbee, a limited edition of Might Is Right was released that had Mesner doing the chapter opening illustrations. Here's an example:

 

pqMxmOr.jpg

 

What were Mesner's motivations? We don't know.

 

After Mesner was accepted to Harvard, he met the other founders of the Temple: Malcolm Jarry, who was then known as Cevin Soling, and David Guinan, who doesn't have a stage name as he has largely remained out of the limelight. What were their motivations? Again, we don't know. I thought the article in the Village Voice made an effort to outline things in a balanced way, although I'm sure things are more complicated.

Edited by Anacharsis
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Idk. I read that article and they sound neither militant nor dangerous to me. A bunch of dudes making a political point. They're not recruiting kids into the devil's army or something.

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It reads to me like Mesner and the others' motivations are to make sure that "separation of church and state" is, you know, separate. That public accomodations are...public.

 

I see no nefarious motivations like human sacrifice or eating babies. Why do you keep questioning their motivation when they repeatedly say exactly what their motivation is? And that, again, you can go directly to the source website to read what they have to say about their own motivations.

Edited by fraidycat
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I think this is because the term can still be used in its original sense to refer to military action, so it is sometimes used in a way where it is not clear how they mean it. Stories about militant atheists using the original definition were more common during the Cold War, I think. For instance, the Khmer Rouge could probably be described as militant atheists in the traditional sense of using military action.

 

This argument is used generally only with those new to debating such topics. Many articles and essays have been written to explain the appeal, and the failure, of this particular tu quoque (“you tooâ€) fallacy, and I won't waste the time or the good will of others reading repeat it here.

 

This is a short attention-span, light-hearted, fairly spot-on response

 

 Perhaps they've misunderstood your views or actions?

 

I think that's exactly what's happened, but then, I think this same misunderstanding explains most (all?) accusations of "militant atheism." 

 

The motivations behind the Satanic Temple founders seem complex....

 

What's wrong with going to the source itself? They answer frequently asked questions, and explain what their mission is. Upthread you made a reference to Catholicism. Are you Catholic? I ask because I was Catholic, and began my homeschool journey on a homeschool forum populated with mostly Evangelical Protestants. We constantly fielded questions and accusations of what our faith supposedly was, according to people who did not share or understand the faith. I want to respect the Satanic Temple in the same way I appreciated when someone respected me enough to believe that my faith was what I said it was. 

 

Like others, I cannot find any dangerous or militant elements in this club (even when using the word broadly). It's an after school club that offers a tried and true way to understand and know the world around us. Kids are curious, I hope the clubs are fun. Anyway, I've found that when I go for too many rounds here some people assume I'm trying to insist on having the last word, or am being uncivil. I'll go now, but I wanted to thank you for taking me seriously and being so kind. I appreciate that. I'm happy to continue any of these ideas in PM. I believe we can include up to 5 people in a single PM. 

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​​

Why do you keep questioning their motivation when they repeatedly say exactly what their motivation is? And that, again, you can go directly to the source website to read what they have to say about their own motivations. This is 2016 - the age of the internet - easy access to information.

​

Two people can deliver truthful autobiographical accounts of the same event, experienced at the same time in the same place, yet have their stories disagree. You can then ask the same two people to reflect on those same events years later; they may not even agree with their former selves.

 

​Motivation is especially complicated. There may be a difference between how people see themselves and how they want to be seen by others; the way they describe events to someone they want to impress may be different than the way they describe events in their diary. There may also be a difference in self-awareness; a person might see themselves as someone who never gets lost, while their friends will bemusedly tell you that they are someone who never asks for directions.

​

This is just talking about individuals. When you talk about a group, you are talking not only about individual motivations, but the turbulence caused when those motivations meet up together in a shared group bond. Understanding why organizations do things can be very complicated without taking a cautious approach to their mission statements.

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Just another view, because I don't like militant for non-violence:  I think of people like albeto* as evangelical atheists (or maybe anti-theists).  They believe the world would be a better place if everyone eschewed religion, and they share this view with other people and try to persuade them.  In the same way, evangelical Christians think the world would be a better place if everyone accepted Christ as their savior, and they share this view with other people and try to persuade them.  I'm using the third definition below:

 

e·van·gel·i·cal

ˌēvanˈjelək(ə)l/

adjective

 

 

1. of or according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion.

synonyms:      scriptural, biblical; fundamentalist

"evangelical Christianity"

 

2. of or denoting a tradition within Protestant Christianity emphasizing the authority of the Bible, personal conversion, and the doctrine of salvation by faith in the Atonement.

synonyms:      evangelistic, evangelizing, missionary, crusading, proselytizing; informalBible-thumping

"an evangelical preacher"

 

3. zealous in advocating something.

 

 

All religions have militant members who bomb abortion clinics, or mosques, or community centers... I'm sure there are actual militant atheists in the U.S., too.

 

I see other categories on the spectrum:

-There are live-and-let-live members of most religions.  Sometimes you hear the Christians referred to as silent witnesses.  They live their life in a Christ-like manner, but don't push religion on people. In diverse cities, people of all religions work together without pushing their religions on others.  I think most atheists fall in this category (though they are not the only "real" atheists.)

 

-And there is something between evangelical (encouraging people to their viewpoint) and militant (violence), where members try to deprive the other group of rights.  An example would be not allowing a Muslim mosque or a Hindu temple in an area where a Christian Church permit would be easy to get. Or allowing Christian groups or prayers in government organizations, but not other religions. There are also lots of examples of Christians not being able to build churches or worship in other countries.

 

When they are deprived of rights, even the live-and-let-live members of groups start to speak up.  They say, "Hey, you can worship however you like, just allow me to do the same."

 

*ETA: albeto, I'm characterizing you based on your posts.  My apologies if I'm way off reading between the lines.  

 

Edited by Joules
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