A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that The Satanic Temple must be allowed to hold its “After School Satan Club” in a public middle school in Pennsylvania’s Saucon Valley School District.
U.S. District Court Judge John Gallagher, sitting in Allentown, issued the preliminary injunction just days after The Satanic Temple held its second annual conference called “SatanCon” in Boston, which was heavily protested by Catholics.
The Satanic Temple, which, according to its website, denies the existence of God and Satan, is a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces and mocking Christianity by offering “unbaptism” and hosting “black masses.”
The school district, located in Northampton County, on Feb. 16 approved The Satanic Temple’s request to hold an After School Satan Club at its middle school.
In response to a shooting threat that referenced the club, however, the district received dozens of emails from concerned parents and staff who wanted the approval withdrawn for safety reasons.
Groups not affiliated with the district that use school facilities must make it clear in their advertising that their events aren’t sponsored by the public school system.
The district rescinded its approval on Feb. 24 because it said some of The Satanic Temple’s posts and fliers violated the policy. The group then filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that it was discriminated against because of its viewpoints, which the district denied.
In his injunction order, the judge said that “the District must permit the [After School Satan Club] (ASSC) to meet at the location and on the dates upon which the parties contingently agreed … during the current school year.” Those dates are May 10, 17, and 31. The ruling will remain in effect until the case is finally decided in court.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of The Satanic Temple by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Dechert LLP.
According to The74, when choosing where to start clubs The Satanic Temple targets schools that are used by religious clubs.