An elementary school in California will allow an “After School Satan Club” to begin meeting in its facilities starting in December, according to reports.
The clubs are sponsored by The Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, and have been set up specifically to oppose a number of Christian organizations that hold meetings for children who wish to attend after school hours.
Those would include programs such as the Good News Club, which is hosted by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
It was a Supreme Court ruling from 20 years ago, in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, in which school officials tried to banish the message of Christianity, that said when schools allow one organization to rent facilities, they cannot discriminate against another organization based on its viewpoint.
Religion News documents that the Satan Club will start Dec. 5 at Golden Hills Elementary School in Tehachapi, about 115 miles north of Los Angeles.
The announcement comes from June Everett, a campaign director for the Satan Clubs.
Such events are “set up at the request of local parents, educators or other community members, according to the Satanic Temple website. Everett said a parent reached out a few months ago requesting the club, which will gather once a month through May 2023,” the report said.
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Supt. Stacey Larson-Everson reported to parents in a recent letter the district approved the Satan Club for gatherings after school hours.
The decision, however, was not going over well with parents and grandparents.
Sheila Knight, grandparent to a fifth grader , said in an interview with a CBS affiliate that, “I understand the school by law has to allow them because they allow other after school programs such as the Good News … but I can’t imagine why anyone would want their child to attend.”
In the report, Paul Hicks, a volunteer for the Satan Club, claimed he was “not teaching these kids that they need to hail Satan or identify as Satanists. What we’re doing is we’re thinking critical thinking, we’re teaching science, we’re teaching empathy.”
The New York Post noted the response the move was attracting.
“The school system is going to hell,” its report said.
It cited Brenda Maher, another grandparent, confirming, “Tehachapi said yes, and I think they made a mistake. I know my grandson will not be a part of this club.”
Online, Joe Lathrop noted, “So several people have told me that the new Satan after school club at Golden Hills elementary is not a religion, but a philosophy club … Then why did they choose Satan? … Why not the Jean Paul Satre existentialism club? Why not the Descartes club?”
The Satan Clubs often are proposed in schools that already have a voluntary program for children who want to learn about Christianity. Several time they’ve been proposed, or even started, and have failed simply for lack of interest.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported only weeks ago on a similar decision by the Northern York County School Board in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.
“As a public school district, the use of our school facilities must be permitted without discrimination,” Supt. Steve Kirkpatrick said in a statement on the school’s website. We cannot and do not arbitrarily pick and choose which organizations may or may not use our facilities. If we allow one organization, we must allow all organizations, provided they satisfy the conditions and application requirements as set forth in Policy 707.”
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