YORK, Pa. — A Pennsylvania school district has denied a parent’s request to form an After School Satan Club.
The Northern York School Board voted nearly unanimously, with only one person voting for it, during the meeting Tuesday, WGAL reported.
But the decision was not a quick one. The meeting lasted two hours as community members discussed how the club would be run at Northern Elementary School.
The debate discussed club members’ ages, cultural and biblical issues in the club’s formation and content that was listed on the Satanic Temple’s website that would be used for the program, the York Daily Record reported.
Parents who supported the club’s creation said it is their constitutional right.
But those who opposed the club’s formation cited the Bible, some holding signs containing religious messages. One person who attended the meeting said he opposed the club and that the school needed to “preserve the innocence of our children,” WHTM reported.
Another person who attended said he is not a Christian nor a Satanist, but said he was there to be “a voice of reason.” He said that his children can decide their religious beliefs when they are old enough when discussing his opposition to the club, WHTM reported.
The York Daily Record reported the mother who proposed the group’s formation, Samantha Groome, said it was an alternative to the Joy El Christian club that gives students off-campus, faith-based activities during the school day. That club is made for students in third through eighth graders and focuses on faith-based practices using Bible memory work and character instruction based on scripture.
Groome said that she doesn’t want her children to miss out on activities similar to Joy El Christian club, but that the school did not offer secular alternatives. Groome said she is not religious.
One man who spoke said it doesn’t matter if it is a Satan Club or a Christian group. “Do it off campus after hours,” Ray Sibley said, according to WGAL.
Groome suggested the After School Satan Club, which has four clubs in the U.S. with chapters in Indiana and Ohio. The founder of the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, told the York Daily Record that the intent of the club is to show inconsistencies in the practices of separating church and state.
“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 told the newspaper. “That is religious discrimination.”
Since the board decided not to allow the club to form, Greaves said he may pursue legal action.
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