YORK, PA – A Board of Education in Pennsylvania has voted down an attempt to establish an “After School Satan Club” – a program run by the The Satanic Temple – at one of the district’s elementary schools.
After School Satan Clubs have existed in limited numbers across the county since 2016; there are currently four, with the most recent one established in a Moline, Illinois, elementary school in January, initially drawing protests from concerned parents in the community.
The Satanic Temple says that Satan Clubs offer activities such as science and crafts projects, puzzles and games, in addition to teaching kids such concepts as benevolence, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving and creative expression.
However, the school board of Northern Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania – following an initial rejection by the school’s principal after local parent Samantha Groome suggested it – put the matter of a Satan Club to a vote on Tuesday, with the proposal being soundly voted down, 8 to 1.
Parent Amy Wintermyer told local media that the idea of any program run by The Satanic Temple would be an anathema to her.
“I never thought anything like this would come to the district,” she said. “I don’t want my son to be exposed to anything of the sort.”
But despite their spooky name, The Satanic Temple has stated that they do not worship Satan. Instead, they instead consider themselves “a nontheistic religious and human rights group” that ironically uses Satanic imagery to support their mission to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people” and “expose Christian privilege when it interferes with personal religious freedom.”
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves has stated that the Satan Clubs serve an alternative to the many religiously-affiliated after-school programs that are currently available to children, and has threatened Northern Elementary with a potential lawsuit for voting it down.
“If they deny us the use of a public facility, which they have no right to do, it’ll have to move into litigation, costly litigation that the community is going to have to pay for,” Greaves said. “I’m hoping that with our presence, people can see that good people can have different perspectives, sometimes on the same mythology, but not mean any harm.”