According to June Everett, the After School Satan Club's campaign director, a parent or community member reached out to her about starting the club at B.M. Williams Primary School to counter the evangelical Good News Club, which is sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).
Everett claims the Satan club has nothing to do with Satan, nor do they worship the devil. The group's flyer does, however, mention that the meetings are voluntary and that they want people – in this case young children – to look at the world scientifically and rationally.
Stephen Mannix, chairman of the Christian organization, disagrees with the club's tactics, but he believes they should have the right to meet. CEF spokeswoman Lydia Kaiser agrees and adds that parents have the power here.
"What we do want to do is call their bluff and say, 'It's a free country. Start your Satan club,' and just see how many parents sign the permission slips," Kaiser comments. "Parents are the gatekeepers. They have to give permission for any child to attend any club."
Last month, many parents attended a school board meeting to express their disapproval. With that in mind, Kaiser believes the After School Satan Club will be short-lived in Chesapeake.
"They're not nearly as well organized, so they will have difficulty having enough volunteers, if they have more than just a couple of children sign up," Kaiser continues. "I don't think they've lasted more than one semester in any place that they have started."
The December 15 meeting date the club initially set was made tentative as school leaders conduct a safety assessment. There is no timeline on a new application, and the safety assessment will be the determining factor.