A religious group called The Satanic Temple is making plans to hand out literature in Orange County Public Schools later this school year, following distributions by atheist and evangelical Christian groups.
The New York-based Satanist group hopes to use a distribution as a form of protest.
“If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students, as is the case in Orange County, Florida, we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions,” said temple co-founder and spokesman Lucien Greaves.
The district has not received a formal request from the temple, but school officials say they reserve the right to review materials.
However, Orange has twice allowed a group called World Changers of Florida to distribute Bibles, and an atheist group gave out materials last year. In both cases, district counsel Woody Rodriguez said the pamphlets and books were being allowed to avoid a lawsuit.
The Satanic Temple, a relatively new group that supports social justice causes and believes Satan is the “eternal rebel against the ultimate tyrant,” wants to give out materials such as The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.
Greaves said the book contains information for students on protecting themselves from corporal punishment at school.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and its local affiliate, the Central Florida Freethought Community, sued Orange schools last year after some of their materials were censored. The case was dismissed earlier this year when the school district agreed to allow all of the materials to be given out.
“They have no ability to keep out the Satanists and the literature they want to distribute unless they close the forum altogether,” said FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel.