Religious conversion would not be part of a proposed club at a Tucson, Arizona elementary school called After School Satan, according to the person who would lead the club.
The Satanic Temple requested Monday to charter the club at Roskruge Bilingual School, according to Stu de Haan, spokesman for the Tucson chapter of The Satanic Temple. The school, near downtown Tucson, includes kindergarten through eighth grades.
“First thing I think of is evil,” said Conrad Duarte. Duarte has a daughter who will be a seventh-grader at Roskruge when school begins this week.
De Haan noted that chapters of The Satanic Temple are working to start the clubs at schools around the country, but only at schools that have a chapter of The Good News Club, a Christian-based group.
"We're not here to get special privileges, we're here to get equal privileges,” de Haan said in an interview Monday night.
A local contact for Child Evangelism Fellowship, the organization that runs The Good News Club, declined an interview request Monday night.
The Satanic Temple tried and failed earlier this year to gain permission to lead invocations at Phoenix and Scottsdale City Council meetings. De Haan said that as a Satanist, he does not believe in a literal Satan. Instead, his religion is based on resisting tyranny and questioning authority.
The club, he said, would not seek to convert children and would be age appropriate. Meetings would include lessons on science, morals and empathy.
“In our religion, science and reason are the most valued, rather than superstition and supernatural,” de Haan said.
In a statement, a Tucson Unified School District spokesperson said the group’s application does not meet district requirements because a faculty member is not a sponsor of After School Satan.