On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania school board turned down a request from an individual to establish an after-school Satan Club at Northern Elementary School.
Except for one board member, no one was in favor of the club’s establishment. Participants in the Satanic Temple’s two-hour meeting debated the age range of potential club members, as well as cultural and biblical implications of such a club’s founding and the program’s website material.
“Look at the range of our students the children suffering from mental health issues, suicide, anxiety, depression all these things are off the chart and my heart goes out to these kids,” one resident at the meeting said. “More than ever we need a God in this world and this proposal in the opposite direction.”
The inclusion of the club was welcomed by some parents. As the world is always changing, another parent argued that the school district would be harming the children by not authorizing the club, which would allow them to learn more about what the club is and why it exists in the early stages of their lives.
There is no need to enjoy or support anything just because you’ve accepted its existence.
Parents who were supportive of their children’s decision to create a club noted that it was a constitutional right.
Samantha Groome, a district mother, came up with the idea for the club as an alternative to the Joy El Christian club, which offered kids off-campus, faith-based activities during school hours.
Faith-based activities including Bible memory exercises, scripturally-based character education, and learning skills are taught to students in third through eighth grades. During the school day, pupils are taken out of class and transported to the program location by bus.
Non-religious Groome said she did not want her children to lose out on extracurricular activities like Joy El, but there were no other options for her to choose.
As a result of a Supreme Court judgment in the 2001 case “Good News Club v. Milford Central School,” all religious clubs in districts are entitled to have a “limited public forum,” regardless of religion practices. Groome discovered the After School Satan Club program.
In the United States, there are four After School Satan Clubs in operation, according to June Everett, the club’s director.
It’s a way to point out what Lucien Greaves feels are flaws in our country’s separation of religion and state, according to the Satanic Temple co-founder.
“What you can’t do is you can’t pick and choose between viewpoints, you can’t say that you’re going to only accept certain religious voices but not others,” Greaves said. “That is religious discrimination.”
Greaves predicted that the Satanic Temple will take legal action if its request to join the club is refused.
“That’s not something we like to do,” Greaves said. “Unfortunately, we have to put up the funds for our own litigation to move forward to make sure that people understand the Constitution, understand what religious liberty actually means, where their authority ends and what’s covered under the First Amendment.”