ORLANDO — A prominent Satanist organization plans to distribute pamphlets and other materials to public school students in Florida after an atheist group that took issue with the distribution of Christian materials was given the green light to also share its printed publications.
As previously reported, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) learned last year that a Christian ministry had made Bibles available to Orlando high school students on “Religious Freedom Day.” To counter the Bible distribution, FFRF sought permission from the school district to give students a variety of atheistic and anti-Christian materials.
According to reports, the Orange County School Board permitted FFRF to distribute several books and pamphlets, including a booklet entitled “What’s Wrong With The Ten Commandments?” and a brochure entitled “What Is An Atheist?” However, the board prohibited FFRF from giving students several other publications, citing the materials’ “disruptive” and inappropriate content.
FFRF promptly sued the school board for not allowing the distribution of the materials, and eventually it complied with the organization’s demands. In July, a district judge officially dismissed the FFRF lawsuit, thus giving the green light to the in-school distribution of atheistic materials.
Now, the New York-based Satanic Temple has announced that it will likewise distribute its publications to area schools so that it can have its equal time before students.
“I am quite certain that all of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the Christian religion and it’s Bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of Satanism,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves wrote in a recent press release about the matter. “We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer.”
According to CBS Tampa, one of the materials to be made available to students is The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, which includes a coloring page that features “Annabel’s study filled with Satanic literature and philosophy,” a pentagram connect the dots complete with a goat’s head, and a secret code that reads “Satana Blessed Be.”
“We would never seek to establish a precedent of disseminating our religious materials in public schools because we believe our constitutional values are better served by respecting a strong separation of Church and State,” Greaves said.
“However, if a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students—as is the case in Orange County, Florida—we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth,” he added.
The Satanic Temple is also behind a proposed “homage to Satan,” which it seeks to place next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol building.