YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – There was outrage in a Pennsylvania school district this week following a proposal for a new after-school program: a “Satan Club.
The club, suggested by a parent at the Northern Elementary School in Dillsburg, was proposed as an alternative to a faith-based program that already existed at the school, the York Daily Record reported. The mom also cited a lack of secular clubs available to students, according to the outlet.
Parents and residents from district packed a high school auditorium for Tuesday’s school board meeting to protest the proposal.
“My friends sent me a thing, and at first I thought it was just another news story,” said Wes Gessamn, a 2020 Northern High School graduate. “But to have to have it here in Dillsburg, which is very, you know, right-wing area of the country, the fact that it’s already happening, I mean, I am incensed.”
Rebecca and Jeff Paulus attended the board meeting even though they live outside the Northern York School District.
“We heard that they want to put a Satanist club in here and that just so obviously, my son pretty much says that Jesus gives life abundantly. Satan is here to kill and destroy,” Rebecca said. “What happens to one school district makes a difference in the rest of our area because it could be easy enough moved to some of the rest of the area.”
“It goes down to, we take Bibles and prayer out,” Jeff said. “Satan automatically comes in and now we’re inviting him, and that’s, obviously I’m going to take a stand against that.”
According to the official website of the club, and in accordance with the Satanic Temple’s tenets, the After School Satan Club’s curriculum involves “no proselytization or religious instruction,” but rather provides activities designed to promote self-education and development.
“Proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism,” reads a message on the site. “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.
“We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors,” the site reads.
At least a few parents voiced their support for the club. One man, who identified as nor Christian or Satanist, said he worried about the implications of barring the program.
“I’m here tonight as a voice of reason,” he said. “I do not push my beliefs on my children. That is something I do not do. When they’re old enough, they can decide for themselves.”
The district’s board members eventually announced the results of the vote, with eight opposing and only one approving.
“No. Motion fails eight to one,” a board member announced, after which cheers filled the auditorium.
Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of the Satanic Temple, told the York Daily Record that his organization is considering legal action in response to the vote.