PA School District OK's Satanic Temple's Request to Host Back-to-School Event at Public School
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After voting against allowing an "After School Satan Club" at an elementary school last April, a Pennsylvania school district has given The Satanic Temple (TST) permission to host a back-to-school night event.
The Northern York County School District approved an application submitted by TST to use the auditorium of Northern High School located in Dillsburg for the event scheduled for Sept. 24. Details about the event have not been released.
"As a public school district, the use of our school facilities must be permitted without discrimination. We cannot and do not arbitrarily pick and choose which organizations may or may not use our facilities," Superintendent of Schools Steve Kirkpatrick said in a statement. "In approving any request, the School District does not endorse the activity of any outside organization that rents our facilities, nor are those entities permitted to use the School District's name or logo."
School Board Voted Down 'After School Satan Club' Last Spring
As CBN News reported in April, TST threatened a lawsuit against the school board for not allowing its After School Satan Club at an elementary school. According to The York Dispatch, that lawsuit has not been filed. June Everett, the After School Satan Club campaign director said TST has five years to pursue legal action.
Numerous media outlets reported the approval of the Satanists' event came just a few days after the school district permitted a night of worship and prayer by a Christian group.
"We wanted to host something similar for our members in the community and those that may not have felt welcome or comfortable at the event," Everett told The Dispatch.
Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of the Salem, Massachusetts-based TST, told WPMT-TV that members of TST should have the same access to use school facilities.
"We don't decry or begrudge anybody having a prayer event or anything like that," said Greaves. "It does become a problem, a serious problem, when you allow a back-to-school prayer event, but you don't allow any other religious representation."
Greaves told the outlet parents should view the event as people expressing their right to religious freedom. "We're talking about upholding fundamental pillars of democracy and the First Amendment," he said.
As CBN News reported last April, hundreds of people attended the school board meeting where the After School Satan Club was voted down 8-1. The room erupted in applause when the board's vote was counted.
The board listened to more than two hours of comments from concerned citizens and parents with a majority opposed to the club.
"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 is the opposite direction (of God)."
Some residents said they understood parents' concerns, but being able to form the club was a constitutional right.
The club was proposed by Samantha Groome, a local mother who was looking for a non-religious alternative to the Joy El Christian club that provided students with off-campus, faith-based activities during the school day, serving nine of the 16 school districts in the county, according to the York Daily Record.
Groome, who is not religious, told the newspaper she did not want her children to miss out on extracurricular activities like Joy El, but there were no secular alternatives.
There are currently four After School Satan Clubs in operation in the U.S. Those chapters are in Indiana and Ohio.
TST Video Encourages Young Children to 'Embrace Satan as an Imaginary Friend'
As CBN News has reported, the After School Satan Club says its mission is to promote rational thought, not actual Satanism. But a promotional video the group created includes the following lyrics sung in a catchy, semi-animated video that's aimed at encouraging young children to embrace Satan as an imaginary friend:
"Satan's not an evil guy,
he wants you to learn and question why,
he wants you to have fun and be yourself,
and by the way, there is no hell.
Science is important,
so we understand the world,
Satan looks for truth,
Let's help him, boys and girls...
...Everyone is different,
And that's ok with Satan,
He'll always treat you equal,
Whether you're black, white, or gay."
The video repeatedly states "there is no hell" and goes on to claim that "Satan doesn't actually exist, he's an imaginary friend..."
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