Judicial Watch Creates Bizarre Fabricated News Story Claiming IRS Gave After School Satan Club “Fast-Track” Tax Exemption
Chalice Blythe – After School Satan Club Director
Stu De Haan – The Satanic Temple Legal Counsel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On March 16, 2017 the website Judicial Watch published an article entitled “IRS Gives ‘After School Satan Club’ Tax-Exempt Status in 10 Days” which claimed that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “fast tracked a deranged Satanic cult to operate as a nonprofit in taxpayer-funded elementary schools.” While this claim has been repeated by several news organizations, including Fox and The Washington Times, it is utter fiction. The Satanic Temple (TST) does, in fact, run After School Satan Clubs (ASSC) as a reason-based science-centered counterbalance to fundamentalist evangelical after-school programs, but the IRS played absolutely no role in the approval of these clubs. The After School
Satan Clubs are sponsored by the non-profit 501(c)(3), Reason Alliance, Ltd.; however, Reason Alliance earned its tax-exempt status long before ASSC existed and did not, despite claims, receive its exemption in 10 days. Further, nothing in the filings for Reason Alliance make reference to Satan or Satanism. Clearly, any insinuations that “Obama’s IRS” struck a secret alliance with Satanists are nothing more than an absurd fabrication.
Not only is Judicial Watch’s story demonstrably false, it is a clear example of gross journalistic negligence across the reporting spectrum and an inability to comprehend not only what the After School Satan Club is, but also what procedures ASSC underwent to get approval for operation in public schools. Procedures, it should be noted, that are very clearly laid out in the documentation they themselves obtained and released.
Reason Alliance, Ltd., was formed in 2014 by the founders of The Satanic Temple (TST). The non-profit was set up to encourage reason and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, promote justice, and advocate pragmatic common sense. Reason Alliance also supports activities that advance these core values. When the After School Satan Club was formed in July 2016, Reason Alliance was used to sponsor this program as ASSC operations are consistent with its mission statement. This sponsorship supports The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club by way of covering the rental fees and liability insurance coverage required by law. The assertion by Judicial Watch and all other news outlets that ASSC is somehow itself a tax exempt entity or operated by Reason Alliance Ltd. has no grounding in reality nor does the documentation they’ve obtained support this claim.
Additionally, multiple news outlets have and continue to refer to The Satanic Temple as a “cult.” This slanderous categorization of our organization is precisely the type of irresponsible, lazy, and sensational journalism that Americans have come to expect. This expectation, however, does not absolve the media from propagating such falsehoods. By any definition of the term, The Satanic Temple does not fall into this category and any accusation of such is not only a bald face lie, it’s libelous due to the heinous connotations implied. Any cursory research of this organization would debunk this allegation, calling into question the actual efforts these journalists put into verifying the facts prior to publishing. This, in essence, is why the After School Satan Club is so necessary in schools to teach critical thought and rational inquiry so this type of vitriol can be avoided in the future.
We hope that news outlets exercise more skepticism toward Judicial Watch press releases in the future.
The Satanic Temple leverages Religious Freedom laws to put After School Clubs in elementary schools nationwide
This school year The Satanic Temple will have After School Clubs in public elementary schools across the nation leveraging Religious Freedom laws established by decades of Evangelical litigation
The Satanic Temple (TST) has announced that this coming school year (2016) will find their organization operating in elementary schools across the nation where they will be offering their new After School Satan Club program to students. While the presence of a religious organization in public schools will no doubt be shocking to some, evangelical litigants — primarily the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) represented by lawyers from the Liberty Counsel — have solidly established the legal rights of religious organizations to operate clubs in public schools.
According to the CEF website, “[…] the United States Supreme Court ruled that a public school which allows use of its facilities to secular groups may not discriminate against religious groups.” And now that the CEF has established its Bible-based Good News Clubs across the nation, TST are eager to offer their own after school clubs, which will focus upon “critical reasoning, independent-thinking, fun, and freethought.”
According to TST spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, “School districts across the nation have received letters from The Satanic Temple explaining that we will be offering our clubs in their schools this coming school year, and parents in those schools can expect to be presented with a permission slip from their children in the first weeks of the Fall semester. All of the districts we’ve approached are nearby to local chapters of The Satanic Temple, and each school district has hosted, or is now hosting, Good News Clubs in their schools. This being the case, we are sure that the school districts we’ve approached are well aware that they are not at liberty to deny us use of their facilities, nor are they at liberty to deny us any level of representation in the schools that they afford to other school clubs — such as fliers, tables, brochures, and school-wide announcements. We would like to thank the Liberty Counsel, specifically, for opening the doors of public schools to the After School Satan Club through their dedication to religious liberty.”
Elaborating the mission of the After School Satan Clubs, Greaves states, “It’s important that children be given an opportunity to realize that the evangelical materials now creeping into their schools are representative of but one religious opinion amongst many. While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling them with a fear of Hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.”