The Satanic Temple is hosting an event at a Pennsylvania high school next month after the local school board said Friday it had to approve the group’s request.
The Northern York County School District said that it approved an application for “the Satanic Temple to use our facility as we were required to do so by Board police No. 707,” according to a statement provided to WHP-TV, the CBS affiliate in Harrisburg.
In its statement, the school district said it doesn’t endorse the activities of any outside organizations that rent its facilities.
This approval follows the school board initially voting down the Satanic Temple’s April request to host “After School Satan Club.”
“There is a lot of evil already in this world, so to allow it to come into our school and our community is not OK,” parent Laura Vangeli told the station in April.
The Temple threatened a civil lawsuit against the board for its decision, but legal action has yet to be taken, according to the York Dispatch.
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WHP reported that the Satanic Temple took interest in hosting its event after a group of parents reached out in response to the Christian-affliated Dillsburg Community Worship and Prayer being permitted to host an event at the high school. The worship group’s event was held on Aug. 20.
Although the group uses Satanic symbols and iconography, the Temple’s school-based activities don’t claim to be religious in nature.
“Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism,” the mission statement for the school-based club says on its website. “After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us.”
Co-founder Lucien Greaves said that the Satanic Temple doesn’t begrudge anybody for having a prayer event, but it does become “a serious problem when you allow a back-to-school prayer event, but you don’t allow any other religious representation” according to WPMT, the Fox affiliate for York.
The Satanic Temple is based out of Salem, Massachusetts. In 2019, the IRS granted it tax-exempt status, per the York Dispatch.
The Satanic Temple is not to be confused with the Church of Satan, a separate strand of the belief system that was founded in the 1960s.
“After School Satan Club” will be hosted on Sept. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Northern High School. It is designed to teach children as young as five.