Satanists have announced that they will be joining a national atheist group in handing out controversial literature to public school students in Orange County, Florida.
Among the materials reportedly planned for this school year are a Satanic-themed coloring book, “pamphlets related to the Temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of Satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice Satanism in school,” according to a press release from The Satanic Temple.
While both the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a secular activist group, and The Satanic Temple, a New York City-based organization that “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists,” disagree with the decision to allow religious materials, both plan to combat Bible dissemination by giving out their own ideological literature at public schools in Orange County.
“If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students … we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions,” Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. “As opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.”
Among the literature that the Satanist organization reportedly plans to deliver to kids is “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities,” a coloring book that focuses on Satanic themes and human tolerance.
“Damian is showing his class the way to make an inverted pentagram. Connect the dots to make one yourself,” one activity reads. The book also encourages students to go to The Satanic Temple’s website for more information about the religious group.
While some parents might protest the presence of these materials on campuses, district policy now essentially allows it following a battle with a local affiliate of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The Central Florida Freethought Community sued Orange County Public Schools last year for the right to hand out literature after learning that a local Christian group was permitted to distribute Bibles.
The lawsuit was dismissed in July 2014, with the district allowing the atheist group to distribute its materials. At least one of the literary works, “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible,” had initially led the district to ban the materials.
An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation said that, if the open policy is slated to continue, the Satanist materials must also be permitted.
“They have no ability to keep out the Satanists and the literature they want to distribute unless they close the forum altogether,” Andrew Seidel, an attorney for the atheist group, told the Orlando Sentinel.
It is unclear when The Satanic Temple will begin its distribution, though the district said earlier this week that it had not yet received an official request to disseminate the books and materials. See the coloring book here.
It should be noted that The Satanic Temple, which does not believe the devil to be real and instead “advocates for religious tolerance and pluralism,” made headlines earlier this year with plans to put a satanic monument on the Oklahoma state capitol grounds.
The group also cited Hobby Lobby in a recent attempt to exempt female followers from abortion laws that they view as a violation of their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” launching a campaign to advance the pro-choice cause.