A group of midshipmen at the Naval Academy have formed a study group to discuss beliefs aligned with The Satanic Temple, academy spokeswoman Cmdr. Alana Garas said.
An internal email was sent to all midshipmen on Oct. 8 announcing the start of “satanic services,” but Garas said that the email was not approved by the academy’s Command Chaplain and did not represent the U.S. Naval Academy’s Command Religious Program.
Instead, the midshipmen who wanted to hold the services were given a study group to talk about The Satanic Temple, an atheist political group recognized as a church for tax purposes by the IRS.
Garas did not provide details about the midshipmen in the group or further details about the email.
“Midshipmen have the right to assemble to discuss their beliefs as they choose, but, to be clear, in accordance with Department of Defense Policy, military members will not engage in partisan political activities, and will avoid the inference that their activities may appear to imply DoD approval or endorsement of a political cause,” Garas said.
Other religious groups at the academy include Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Buddhists, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Christian Science Organization and a Mindfulness Meditation Group, according to Garas.
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