A federal judge’s recent decision to allow The Satanic Temple (TST) to use a Pennsylvania school district property for its clubs has outraged conservative communities across the country. At issue is TST’s desire to host their “After School Satan Club” and the school district’s initial approval of the request, which it later rescinded after parents of children in the district expressed their outrage.
Federal Judge Orders School District To Allow After-School Satan Club via @DailyCaller https://t.co/sJUXAv4Mqf
— Chris 🇺🇸 (@Chris_1791) May 1, 2023
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Saucon Valley School District (SVSD), claiming that it denied TST’s application to host the club on campus. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Monday, requiring the district to allow the controversial group access to school property, despite community objections.
BREAKING: 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.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 1, 2023
Conservative news networks and commentators are decrying the ruling as an assault on religious freedom and insulting the sensibilities of parents who don’t want their children exposed to Satanism. They argue that TST’s views have no place in a public school and that allowing the group access to school property is a violation of the First Amendment’s protections for religious expression.
The judge disagreed, writing in the ruling, “When confronted with a challenge to free speech, the government’s first instinct must be to forward expression rather than quash it… it is the First Amendment that enumerates our freedoms to practice religion and express our viewpoints on religion and all the topics we consider sacred.”
Critics of the ruling are calling for more action to be taken to protect children from exposure to what they see as the dangerous and offensive teachings of TST. However, the ACLU sees the decision as a victory for the First Amendment and the rights of all Americans to express their beliefs freely and without fear of discrimination.
It remains to be seen what impact the ruling will have on other communities across the country facing similar controversies over religious expression in public schools. But one thing is clear: the debate over the role of religion in our schools is far from over.