Judge rules that Pennsylvania school district must allow After School Satan Club

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By James Kay

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A judge has ruled that a school in Pennsylvania must allow the Satan Club to meet after school as banning them will infringe on their first amendment rights.

Back in March, the ACLU (The American Civil Liberties Union) of Pennsylvania wrote a letter to the Saucon Valley School District after they banned the After School Satan Club (ASSC) from using school facilities to hold meetings.

Part of the letter read: "We write to request that you immediately reverse your decision rescinding approval for our clients’ use of school facilities and reinstate the previously agreed upon meeting dates for the ASSC.

"The District has intentionally opened up its facilities for general community use and, in so doing, may not limit access to this forum based on the content of our client’s speech, their religious identity, or their viewpoint — even if some may find their beliefs controversial or divisive."

Sara Rose, the deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, stated: "Under the First Amendment, the government can’t treat one religious group less favorably than another, and it can’t give objectors or hecklers a ‘veto’ over unpopular speech by denying groups like the After School Satan Club access to a public forum."

The ASSC is an after-school program run by the Satanic Temple, with their website stating that they "[Do] not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus."

They go on to explain that they encourage free thinking and are an alternative to mainstream religious groups that "use threats of eternal damnation" in order to get kids on board with their faith.

They state that they have no interest in converting children to Satanism, but they focus on creativity and science in order to get young ones to love the world around them, as opposed to fearing the possibility of an afterlife.

On Monday (May 1), a judge ruled that the ASSC must be allowed to meet on school premises, which was met with great excitement from those who campaigned for it.

ACLU penned: "In a victory for free speech and religious freedom, a federal court has ruled that the Saucon Valley School District must allow the After School Satan Club to meet in district facilities."

In the filing, issued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a judge found: "Although The Satanic Temple, Inc.’s objectors may challenge the sanctity of this controversially named organization, the sanctity of the First Amendment’s protections must prevail."

The ASSC will now be able to meet on school premises on three previously agreed-upon dates and permission slips will not be needed from the parents.

Featured image credit: AWP / Alamy

Judge rules that Pennsylvania school district must allow After School Satan Club

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A judge has ruled that a school in Pennsylvania must allow the Satan Club to meet after school as banning them will infringe on their first amendment rights.

Back in March, the ACLU (The American Civil Liberties Union) of Pennsylvania wrote a letter to the Saucon Valley School District after they banned the After School Satan Club (ASSC) from using school facilities to hold meetings.

Part of the letter read: "We write to request that you immediately reverse your decision rescinding approval for our clients’ use of school facilities and reinstate the previously agreed upon meeting dates for the ASSC.

"The District has intentionally opened up its facilities for general community use and, in so doing, may not limit access to this forum based on the content of our client’s speech, their religious identity, or their viewpoint — even if some may find their beliefs controversial or divisive."

Sara Rose, the deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, stated: "Under the First Amendment, the government can’t treat one religious group less favorably than another, and it can’t give objectors or hecklers a ‘veto’ over unpopular speech by denying groups like the After School Satan Club access to a public forum."

The ASSC is an after-school program run by the Satanic Temple, with their website stating that they "[Do] not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus."

They go on to explain that they encourage free thinking and are an alternative to mainstream religious groups that "use threats of eternal damnation" in order to get kids on board with their faith.

They state that they have no interest in converting children to Satanism, but they focus on creativity and science in order to get young ones to love the world around them, as opposed to fearing the possibility of an afterlife.

On Monday (May 1), a judge ruled that the ASSC must be allowed to meet on school premises, which was met with great excitement from those who campaigned for it.

ACLU penned: "In a victory for free speech and religious freedom, a federal court has ruled that the Saucon Valley School District must allow the After School Satan Club to meet in district facilities."

In the filing, issued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a judge found: "Although The Satanic Temple, Inc.’s objectors may challenge the sanctity of this controversially named organization, the sanctity of the First Amendment’s protections must prevail."

The ASSC will now be able to meet on school premises on three previously agreed-upon dates and permission slips will not be needed from the parents.

Featured image credit: AWP / Alamy