The Satanic Temple is considering when to open a legal case against the Cobb School District pending the district’s efforts to decide on the Temple’s after-school program’s application.
Fred Mephisto, the head of the Atlanta chapter of The Satanic Temple, said the temple’s legal counsel could start the legal process by the end of the month if the political organization’s application has not moved forward.
“The waiting game only goes so far,” he said.
The Satanic Temple applied to start its after-school Satan club at Still Elementary School in Powder Springs on Sept. 16 after the national Temple announced its intention of starting After School Satan Clubs at nine schools across the country — including Still Elementary.
John Adams, deputy superintendent for the Cobb School District, said The Satanic Temple’s application is still pending and being processed by the school district.
In mid-November, Mephisto, an east Cobb resident, said he and Grant Rivera, former chief of staff for Cobb schools, discussed the Temple’s application, and Rivera asked for more information.
Mephisto said he had to supply the official name of the organization hosting the program, which is the Reason Alliance, Limited — The Satanic Temple’s nonprofit foundation. Rivera also asked for the temple’s official address and if the organization were a registered nonprofit with Georgia Secretary of State’s Brian Kemp’s office.
“It is not clear to us why this would be of importance regarding the application. However if it can be demonstrated that other organizations in similar scenarios have been required to make this registration, we are happy to follow that precedent and request instructions and references to this as a requirement,” Mephisto said in an email.
Mephisto supplied the information to Rivera — who will be Marietta’s superintendent on Jan. 1 — Monday afternoon in an email.
TRYING TO MOVE FORWARD
The Satanic Temple’s application requests to use a classroom at Still Elementary that can hold up to 20 people — including 16 students — to meet for up to an hour-and-a-half immediately following school.
The after-school program would include a “healthy snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, science lesson, puzzle solving and (an) art project” to teach curriculum based on “secular moral values, critical thinking and self-determination” principles, according to the temple’s application.
Still Elementary was chosen because the school hosts the Good News Club — an after-school Christian evangelical program — Mephisto said.
Other locations of the after-school program have made progress such as the Portland and Seattle chapters hosting community members in November and this month to gauge the communities’ interest in the program.
Mephisto said the Atlanta chapter is taking other chapters’ progress as a hopeful sign for Still’s program.
“I think we’re really ready to ramp back up,” he said
The Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple, which formed in 2012, is a political group known for attracting headlines for its efforts to get public agencies to adhere to the separation of church and state and equal treatment of all religions, such as trying to install a satanic statue at the Oklahoma Statehouse, reciting a satanic prayer at a Florida city council meeting and performing a ceremony at the gravesite of the mother of the Westboro Baptist Church’s founder.