For parents and students looking to help their children navigate the onslaught of secularism in education, after-school Bible clubs have been a positive and effective tool in recent decades.
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Yet newfound debates have unfolded in recent years as Satanists have begun to target these gatherings by launching clubs of their own, a dynamic Moises Esteves, executive director of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), the Christian organization that runs Good News Clubs, knows all too well.
Esteves recently told CBN Digital his organization, which has been around since 1937, is very much at the heart of the After School Satan Club debate, as he believes Satanists intentionally focus on schools where Christian clubs are present.
This is a strategy seemingly noted on The Satanic Temple’s website, where it’s written that “The After School Satan Club does not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus.”
Thus, the Good News Club tends to come into Satanists’ crosshairs.
“They come and make a big splash with the media,” Esteves said. “They invite all the media to come, and, basically, their strategy is to shut down our clubs, and so they bring the media and they present themselves as … Satanic, which gets everybody riled up.”
With parents and administrators reacting, Esteves said the retort tends to immediately be one aimed at not letting in the Satanists to host their club.
“And, of course, that’s what they want,” he said. “They want to be pushed out, because, once they’re pushed out, they will actually use our victory that we had in the [Supreme Court in] … 2001 to then turn around and file a lawsuit against the school to say, ‘Hey, we have the right to be there.'”
Esteves continued, “And then … if the school still wants to push them out, they got to shut down all the after-school clubs. That’s their strategy.”
The CEF leader was referencing the Good News Club v. Milford Central School District Supreme Court case in 2001, a victory for the ministry. The high court ruled the “Good News Club must be given the same access to school facilities accorded any other non-school-related outside group.”
Despite Esteves’ beliefs about Satanists’ motivation and strategy, he said such efforts haven’t been successful in shutting down his Christian clubs.
“It hasn’t accomplished their goals to shut our clubs up,” he said. “As a matter of fact, sometimes it does the opposite, because Christians that are not aware about the work we do in the public schools … go, ‘Hey, we like what you guys are doing. Can we help? So, it helps us have more clubs.”
As CBN News recently reported, Connecticut is one of the latest states where Satanists have made headlines for their efforts to launch an elementary school club, with meetings set to start this month.
Some parents have spoken out against the effort.
“If you look on their website and the different things that they’re handing out, there’s symbolism of the devil, and I think that that’s inappropriate,” parent Kate Prokop told WTNH-TV. Others agree, though it should be noted The Satanic Temple and other groups like it are atheistic in nature.
In the organization’s FAQ section, the question: “Do you worship Satan?” is presented. Here’s the organization’s response:
No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.
Satanist drama aside, CEF is pushing full-steam ahead with its goal of reaching 100 million children with the Gospel within the next 10 to 15 years.
Undeterred, Esteves said he’s inspired by stories like that of a little girl named Brianna and her sister, two kids who attended Good News Club.
“Mom and dad were divorced, the girl gets saved,” Esteves said. “Of course, kids come home [and] all they talk about [are] the things of God they’re learning in Good News Club.”
This led to curiosity within the mom, who soon also became a Christian. Then, when the dad saw the changes in the home, he, too, started asking questions and going to church before finding Jesus.
“Today … the parents are volunteers in the Good News Club where the two girls attend.” Esteves said. “And we see this transformation happen all the time.”
Find out more about the Good News Club and CEF here.
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