A group that claims a satanistic & # 39; children's work & # 39; to be in Tennessee, has announced plans to teach satanism students at local schools after district officials said they were considering a similar program that would make students miss the classroom for church-sponsored Bible study.
Knox County School Board members are preparing to vote for a proposed Bible Release Time program for students who want to take a one-hour Christian course at a local church.
A group claiming to be satanists living in the area responded to the Bible version program by establishing the Satanic Children & Ministry of Knoxville to express their belief that public schools should not promote religion, and if they should all religions should be represented.
If Bible Release Time is approved, SCMK plans to implement its own Satanism Release program for students who do not want to participate in the Bible study.
A spokesperson for the group said in a written statement that the organization was legitimate and that five to ten children initially expected the plan to continue, but that & # 39; perhaps more people are interested & # 39; than initially thought.
The group, which says five people are on the board, refuses to identify themselves & # 39; due to threats of violence & # 39 ;.
The Satanic Children's Ministry of Knoxville announced plans to teach satanism to students at local schools after district officials said they were considering a similar program that would allow students to miss the classroom for church-sponsored Bible study. The SCMK logo is shown
The Knox County School Board will vote on the Bible Release Time program in December. The program would fall under a Tennessee statute that apologizes to students to take a released one-hour time course in religious moral instruction if allowed by the local school district.
& # 39; We prefer that the school board vote on any policy written for religious release programs, but if this is not the case, we are willing to roll out a program & # 39 ;, a spokesperson said from the DailyMail.com group Tuesday.
& # 39; We have the financial support and volunteers needed to make it possible. & # 39;
Superintendent Bob Thomas reportedly agreed to a test run at Sterchi Elementary School after the Elgin Foundation and The Church in Sterchi Hills had suggested the idea.
The Elgin Foundation is already sponsoring various Bible version programs in East Tennessee, including the provinces of Anderson, Roane, Scott and Union.
& # 39; We only teach churches and schools in their legality, & # 39; told executive director Tim Rogers WVLT.
& # 39; We ask schools to simply accommodate parents of schools who can participate in this. & # 39;
In a statement announcing the answer to the Bible program, SCMK said: & # 39; The Elgin Foundation and The Church at Sterchi Hills will broadcast that their program & # 39; opt-in & # 39; and that children do not have to be present. They do not announce that their goals are to promote proselitization in our public classrooms by teaching children to do this for them.
& # 39; They send the children back with toys, candy and propaganda to help them achieve these goals. This causes problems in the classroom, not only for us as satanists, but also for every Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or atheistic child in the class, because the children involved in the Bible Release Time are taught to understand the beliefs of their challenge classmates and promote that their god is the one and only god.
& # 39; We do not send our children to schools for conversion by external religious organizations. We send them to follow a state-approved training course. & # 39;
The statement went further: & # 39; Satanic Children & # 39; s Ministry would rather not introduce our own program. We do believe in separation of church and state; however, if another religion is allowed to introduce a program to indoctrinate children, we feel the need to act and ensure that our children have their own program to participate.
& # 39; Our children would already lose valuable teaching time through the schools that house Elgin's program, so we might as well unsubscribe and allow them to receive their own religious education focused on the principles of satanism.
& # 39; We prefer that all parents of Knox Co realize the importance of keeping religion completely out of public schools.
& # 39; It is in the interest of all children to keep these programs together and in homes and churches where they belong outside the school. They create division among students based on their religion and create conditions that are optimal for bullying. & # 39;
The statement was concluded by calling on Knox County residents to contact their local schools and school administrators about blocking the implementation of release time programs.
Knox County School Board members are preparing to vote for a proposed Bible Release Time program for students who want to take a one-hour Christian course at The Church at Sterchi Hills (photo)
Inspector Bob Thomas of Knox County School District reportedly agreed to a test run at the Sterchi Elementary School (photo)
The SMKC spokesperson told DailyMail.com that many Knox County teachers have expressed support for the organization and its intentions.
& # 39; They may not be for the actual program, but they seem to appreciate the fact that it sheds light on the problem of allowing one church to have their religious release program in school, & # 39; said the spokesman.
& # 39; From our conversations, it sounds like many Sterchi Elementary teachers are against the program because it loses their instruction time.
& # 39; The school has completely rearranged the class schedule to make way for De Kerk in the Bible Release Program of Sterchi Hill and that alone seems like a promotion of a religion within the school.
& # 39; The vast majority of the people we have spoken to are against a policy that allows release programs, but the director of Sterchi Elementary and certain school boards – against the wishes of their voters – are pushing. 39;
SMKC has said that if the Bible version program is approved, it fully intends to implement it with its own version.
& # 39; Our goal is to teach children the empathy, compassion and kindness that promote the principles (of the Satanic temple), & # 39; the spokesperson told DailyMail.com.
& # 39; We initially thought we would just unsubscribe our own children with this program, but amid the outrage, we learned that the interest in our program extends beyond our families. & # 39;
A group of satanists living in and around Knoxville founded the Satanic Children & # 39; s Ministry to express their opinion that public schools should not promote religion, and if they do, all religions should be represented
SMKC has repeatedly stated that it is not connected to the Satanic Temple or the Church of Satan and said that the majority of its members do not believe in a literal Satan, but see it as a symbol of free thought.
The group announced on Thursday that it had applied for 501 (c) 3 non-profit status. A spokesperson said the form would not be released before the organization was approved and required by law to do so.
& # 39; We need time to reduce indignation. & # 39;
When asked about SMKC's proposal, Elgin Foundation executive director Tim Rogers told DailyMail.com: “We trust that public school boards in our area respect the right of parents to let their children leave school for religious and moral instructions according to the guidelines of state and federal law. & # 39;
The church in Sterchi Hills and Knox County Superintendent Bob Thomas did not immediately return requests for comments from DailyMail.com.
DailyMail.com also contacted members of the Knox County School Board about how they intend to vote on this issue.
Virginia Babb of District 4 replied: I have never supported the Bible edition program and it has nothing to do with the satanic ministry that wants to offer its own program.
& # 39; Should a policy be adopted that allows Bible version, I support any organization that meets the program's criteria to be able to offer it. & # 39;
Other board members have not returned the request for comment, but WVLT reported that Susan Horn of District 5 and Terry Hill of District 6 are planning to vote to approve the Bible program, while Evetty Satterfield of District 1 has not yet been decided.
It is unclear how the other five board members lean.
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