The Satanic Temple is offering its first scholarship to college students – and it’s called the Devil’s Advocate.
The Salem-based group, which aims to drive a wedge between religion and politics, will award two winners $500.
Co-founder Malcolm Jarry told CNN the scholarship had 50 entries on Wednesday, just two days after applications opened.
He said he was inspired to set up the scholarship by a student who wrote to him for a recommendation for a religious scholarship.
He added: ‘I was disappointed that she did not receive the scholarship and saw that moment as an opportunity to offer our own scholarship that reflects our values.’
Entrants have to submit a creative answer to one of two questions; what applicants have done to promote the temple’s mission or a description of a teacher who ‘crushed your spirit, undermined your self-confidence, and made you hate every minute you were forced to be in school’.
Members of Satanic Temple believe Satan is a ‘literary construct,’ and not real.
Its website says the group advocates the ‘pursuit of knowledge,’ but does not agree with schooling.
‘Students are often expected to praise their schools in spite of the fact that many students endure unconscionable abuse at the hands of faculty, administration, and their peers,’ Jarry said.
The Satanic Temple has used symbols of Satan to criticize the use of religious symbols on government property.
It previously petitioned to have a Baphomet statue — a goat-headed symbol — in the Oklahoma state Capitol because the building featured a Ten Commandments statue.
The scholarship is open until August 31. Winners will be announced on the temple’s website on September 15.
Last year Satanic Temple was given section 501(c) tax exempt status, which put it in the same bracket as major religions such as Catholicism and organizations such as the Salvation Army.
The recognition means the temple, which has 16 chapters in the U.S. and thousands of followers around the world, can apply for certain federal grants.
Anyone who donates money to the group can also write it off as a tax deduction.