Graduating high school students looking to score some college scholarship money can apply at the Satanic Temple under their Devil's Advocate scholarship grant. The group recently launched its scholarship campaign on July 20 and will be accepting applicants until August 31,2020.
In an interview with CNN, its co-founder Malcom Jarry revealed they have already received 50 submissions in just two days after they opened applications. He said his inspiration to set up the program came from a student who asked him for a recommendation to be used for a religious scholarship. However, he was disappointed when the student was not awarded the scholarship. This became the jump off point for him to offer a scholarship grant that would reflect their own set of core values.
Jarry explains, "in addition to promoting our values by honouring those who engage in pro-social rugged individualism, the scholarship allows students a rare opportunity to be critical of an institution that only rewards sycophantic adulation."
The organisation based in Salem, Massachusetts has been pushing for the separation of politics and religion as part of its mission. Their belief centres on the idea that Satan is a "literary construct" and does not actually exist in a physical form or being.
In their website, the Satanic Temple highlights their advocacy on the "pursuit of knowledge" but asserts their belief that learning is not the same as schooling. They stride on the idealism that "learning is a self-directed approach to better one's understanding while schooling involves the imposition of an oppressive hierarchical structure that demands obedience to authority first."
Interested entrants are required to answer two questions focused on what the applicants have done to promote the temple's doctrine and a detailed discussion on a teacher who has undermined one's self-confidence which caused them to hate being forced to attend school. These can be presented in any creative form of their choice.
Chosen applicants need not be members of the Temple but have to be 12th grade graduates to qualify. There will be two recipients of the scholarship money worth $500 (£392).
The Satanic Temple has always used iconic symbols of Satan in their effort to criticise the use of religious symbols on government property. This has brought them to petition for the inclusion of a Baphomet statue in the Oklahoma state Capitol as the building had erected a representation of the Ten Commandments.
The Temple enjoys tax exempt status and has a growing congregation of 16 chapters across the US and thousands from around the world. Anyone who is inclined to donate funds to the group can write the amount off as tax deduction.