by Megan Sheets, Daily Mail:
- The Knox County School Board is preparing to vote on a proposed Bible Release Time program in December
- The program would allow students to miss class to attend an hour-long bible study course each day at a local church
- A group of Satanists responded to the proposed program by founding the Satanic Children’s Ministry of Knoxville last Thursday
- Ministry members believe public schools should not promote religion, and if they do, all religions should be represented
- If Bible Release Time is approved, SCMK claims it plans to roll out a Satanism Release Program for students who don’t want to attend the Christian course
- An SCMK rep told DailyMail.com: ‘We would prefer that the board vote down any policy for religious release programs, but if they do not, we are prepared’
A Satanist ‘children’s ministry’ in Tennessee has announced plans to teach their beliefs to students who don’t want to study the Bible.
Knox County officials said they were considering a program that would allow pupils to miss class for church-sponsored bible study.
Local school board members are preparing to vote on a proposed Bible Release Time program for students who want to attend an hour-long Christianity course at a local church.
But the group of Satanists have responded to the proposal by launching the Satanic Children’s Ministry of Knoxville, because they believe public schools should not promote religion, and if they do, all religions should be represented.
If Bible Release Time is approved, SCMK plans to implement its own Satanism Release Program for students who don’t want to attend the bible study.
A spokesperson for the group said in a written statement the organization was legitimate and that between five to 10 children were initially expected to take part if the plan went ahead, but there ‘may be more people interested’ than initially thought.
The group, who says five people are on its board, refuses to identify itself ‘due to threats of violence’.
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 pupils to miss class for church-sponsored bible study. SCMK’s logo is pictured
The Knox County School Board will vote on the Bible Release Time program in December. The program would fall under a Tennessee statute that excuses students to attend an hour-long released time course in religious moral instruction if authorized by the local school district.
‘We would prefer that the school board vote down any policy written for religious release programs but if they do not, we are prepared to roll out a program,’ a spokesperson for the group told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
‘We have the financial backing and volunteers needed to make it happen.’
Superintendent Bob Thomas reportedly agreed to a trial run at Sterchi Elementary School after the Elgin Foundation and The Church at Sterchi Hills proposed the idea.
The Elgin Foundation already sponsors several bible release programs across East Tennessee, including in Anderson, Roane, Scott and Union counties.
‘We just educate churches and schools in the legality of it,’ Executive Director Tim Rogers told WVLT.
‘We ask schools to just simply accommodate schools parents who would participate in that.’