Satanic Temple holds on in fight to get club into Cobb County sc - CBS46 News

Satanic Temple holds on in fight to get club into Cobb County schools

Posted: Updated:

Members of the Satanic Temple of Atlanta say they will not back down in their efforts to either have their club admitted to Cobb County after school programs, or to see the removal of the Good News Club from those schools. The Good News Club is a Christian-based after school program with a presence in several Cobb County schools.

"We really are not advocating or ourselves believing there's an actual Satan that stands in opposition to an actual God or anything like that," said Fred Mephisto of the Atlanta Chapter of the Satanic Temple. "We treat it purely as a literary symbol that represents the concepts we're trying to advocate."

He says the premise of their club would be to promote community service, respect for others, and secular values. Therein lies the heart of what has become a holy war, involving the Child Evangelism Fellowship. The organization sponsors more than 4,500 Good News Clubs throughout the country, including several in Cobb County.

"They (the Satanic Temple) are trying to scare parents with pitchfork and devil horns," said Moises Esteves of C.E.F. "These are atheists who are basically trying to remove a good Christian club that has a long history of doing a lot of good in public schools. We've been teaching Good News Clubs for now 79 years."

He said the clubs meet after school and involve stories from the Bible in helping teach elementary school-aged kids the values of good character and behavior.

"To this point, we have not lost one single good news club," said Esteves, referencing other efforts nation-wide by the Satanic Temple in trying to oust religious groups from schools. Esteves said their position is upheld by a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision, in which the justices ruled 6-3 that it is constitutional to allow religious clubs equal after-school access as other clubs.

Mephisto said his group has been frustrated by the long application process set forth by the Cobb County School District, which still has not rendered a decision on that application, filed in August.

"We have no intentions of just disappearing or losing a battle from attrition just because we're not getting a response," said Mephisto. "In fact, no response is ultimately a defacto denial."

He said the Satanic Temple is prepared to take legal action, if necessary.

Cobb County Schools do not have a timeline on when they expect to issue their ruling on the Satanic Temple's application.

Copyright 2016 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.