As the new academic year starts, public schools across the country are finalizing plans for after-school clubs and activities for students with a variety of interests and skills.
One particularly attention-grabbing example can be found at Northern High School in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, which is expected to offer a back-to-school event on behalf of the local Satanic Temple. The name of the event — After School Satan Club — makes its intent clear, and plenty of parents are outraged that it was approved to be held on a public school campus.
Summer is finally here! Time to celebrate the good work completed this year by the After School Satan Club, Class of 2022!
Read the Full ASSC Newsletter Here⤵️https://t.co/h5hOJYVTI4 pic.twitter.com/1tEJf1pa4v
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) June 30, 2022
Of course, this is not the first time the Satanic Temple, which has been recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt church, has attempted to infiltrate the Northern York County School District. Earlier this year, the local school board ruled against an effort for the so-called church to host a similar club at an elementary school in Dillsburg.
At the time, parents and concerned citizens throughout the community spoke out in opposition, including Jennifer McAllister, who said: “They already took God out of schools, now they’re going to let Satan in. It’s just crazy.”
Local parent Laura Vangeli echoed that sentiment, explaining that with all of the “evil already in the world,” it is abhorrent “to allow it to come into our school and our community.”
Residents of Greensboro, North Carolina, similarly protested a plan to host an After School Satan Club at a local elementary school in May, ultimately succeeding in their effort to shut that event down.
For its part, the Satanic Temple attempted to portray its interest in hosting public school events as analogous to that of any mainstream religious faith.
“We’re talking about upholding fundamental pillars of democracy and the First Amendment,” claimed Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Graves.
The temple has also weighed in as a religious authority on social and cultural debates, most recently in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that struck down federal abortion protections. A statement on its website claims the temple represents a “beacon of light” for Americans who want to terminate their pregnancies, adding: “Satanic abortions are protected by religious liberty laws.”
In Pennsylvania, the school district at the center of the most recent controversy attempted to distance itself from the backlash, noting that it does not endorse any of the activities held on its campuses by outside groups.
An Illinois school district offered a similar response to backlash over its approval of a Satanic event on a public elementary school campus.