To counter the influence of Christianity in the public school system, a school district in Portland, Oregon has approved an "After-School Satan Club" at Sacramento Elementary School.
The program, which begins October 29th, aims to give children "an opportunity to realize that the evangelical materials now creeping into their schools are representative of but one religious opinion amongst many" and will focus on "free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us."
The Satanic sent letters to schools across the West Coast in an effort to promote its new program, which will be held at the same time and day as the Good News Club, a previously established after-school club promoting discipleship and the Gospel.
Reads the letter, in part: "Many school districts across the country (including yours) have (or have had) Good News Clubs using their facilities. As a result, those schools have opened their doors to school clubs of all religious viewpoints. While The Good News Club is 'working together with parents and the school to build solid moral and spiritual character into the lives of their children' based on their religious point of view, The Satanic Temple (TST) also has plans to enrich the lives of children in your district."
It adds, "Today TST is active in a rapidly growing number of states and is expanding just as rapidly into foreign countries, fighting for Free Speech, Religious Liberty, and rational, sciencebased inquiry and education. TST's 'After School Satan Clubs' are led by caring Satanists from local chapters in the community near the school."
According to a report from the Washington Post, Doug Mesner, the Satanic Temple's co-founder, said that if evangelical groups are able to influence after-school programs, Satanists should be able to, as well.
"It's critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think," Mesner, who goes by Lucien Greaves, told the Post.
In August, evangelist Franklin Graham lamented that the United States has already seen the "devastating effects of secularism" and urged believers to pray that God would transform Mesner's heart.
"Will you join me in doing something unexpected? Let's pray for this man's eyes to be opened to the truth of the Gospel and his own personal need of a Savior. Pray for his heart to be touched and softened by the working of God's Holy Spirit."
Graham, 64, emphasized that no one is beyond the reach of God's love and mercy, and used the Apostle Paul as an example: "Before he came to to faith, the Apostle Paul was once the greatest enemy and persecutor of the church," he recalled.
The evangelist also encouraged Christians to pray for school leadership to have wisdom to decline the letter of request for these After School Satan Clubs.
The Salem, Massachusetts-based temple, which formed in 2012 and has 19 chapters in the U.S., is also seeking to place its programs in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., according to CBS News.