(CNSNews.com) -- Despite their continued verbal commitment to keeping religious materials out of public schools, both the Satanic Temple and The Freedom From Religion Foundation have publicly announced plans to disseminate printed information among public school students in Orange County, Florida.
On the Satanic Temple’s official website, the New York-based group stated that, “In cooperation with The Freedom From Religion Foundation, and in accordance with School Board policy that allows religious material dissemination, The Satanic Temple announces they will distribute Satanic literature in Florida Public School district.”
According to the announcement released on Sept. 14, distributed materials will include “pamphlets related to the Temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of Satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice Satanism in school.”
The Satanic Temple’s website also advertises activity books for children, including coloring pages and connect-the-dots activities to help children learn to draw pentagrams.
Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves told CNSNews.com during a phone interview that the Satanist group decided to pass out their own materials after talking with The Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“I don’t know if you could define it as a partnership, but we consulted with them and we ran it through them because we knew – we found out about this through the stories that were written about The Freedom From Religion Foundation,” Greaves explained. “They had a previous lawsuit and they took issue with the previous religious materials being disseminated in schools.”
“We’ve been quite clear about the fact that we don’t want to disseminate our own materials in the school, if the other materials aren’t there,” Greaves said.
“[FFRF’s] thinking is the same as ours: that religious materials are probably better off left away from the schools. But so long as there’s going to be one represented, they have to accept them all,” he said, adding the group plans to pass out information primarily to high school students.
The day after The Satanic Temple announced their plans to give out their own materials in conjunction with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the foundation issued a statement apparently seeking to distance itself from the Satanic Temple’s materials.
“FRF does not believe that Satanists or Christians or even atheists should be distributing literature to public school students,” the group said in a news release on Sept. 15.
When asked if he thought passing out Satanist materials while condemning the distribution of any religious information could be considered hypocritical, Greaves said he did not think so.
“Well, it would be hypocritical of us if we were to push to have our literature disseminated to the school when there wasn’t already this breach of church and state, but I don’t think there’s a hypocrisy in us putting our material out when the other material is there. Because that is our position, that so long as that is taking place, it’s orders of magnitude better that a plurality of voices is represented rather than just one,” he said.
Like The Satanic Temple, the Freedom From Religion Foundation claims to be against the distribution of materials of any kind, religious or non-religious, in public schools, but has filed lawsuits demanding the right to do that very thing.
After discovering a local Christian group was handing out Bibles in Orange County public schools,The Central Florida Freethought Community, a subgroup of The Freedom From Religion Foundation, sued the Orange County School last year over the right to distribute their own atheist materials. While the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, the group has since been permitted to pass out their materials.
In the latest news release, the group announced it will distribute its materials again in January to public school students in Orange County.
“FFRF will only distribute its own materials this January, including pamphlets such as An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible, the group announced.
This book, essentially a small collection of brochures the foundation has passed out for nearly two years, includes a cover showing an image of an anthropomorphized, cartoon Bible sexually assaulting a screaming woman.
In the news release, the group also claimed to be “consistent” in their message.
“FFRF has remained consistent throughout this ordeal: Public schools should not be allowing the distribution of Bibles, atheist materials or any other religious or nonreligious material,” the group said in the news release. “We do not want the Satanic Temple preying on students any more than we want evangelical Christians preying on students.”