By Michael McCutcheon
HELLERTOWN, PA – The ACLU of Pennsylvania last week sent a letter warning the Saucon Valley School District it must reinstate the After School Satan Club (ASSC) access to school facilities because a previous denial to the ASSC violates the First Amendment.
In a press statement, the ACLU said The Satanic Temple (TST) sponsored the ASSC in hopes “to bring the region a non-Christian religious club that would be safe and inclusive for their non-Christian children.”
The First Amendment, however, prohibits the government from denying access to a school’s facilities on the basis of objections or reactions to a club’s speech or religion, insists the ACLU.
According to the ACLU, “the reason cited for the district’s decision to rescind approval for TST’s application – that TST failed to make clear that the club is not sponsored by the district – is pretextual and discriminatory.
“Not only has TST included a disclaimer on its introductory letter to parents and permission slip, but other organizations using district facilities, including a Christian after-school club, have not done so and are still permitted to meet at district school,” the ACLU added.
“We have done nothing,” stated June Everett, director of TST’s ASSC programming, “other than merely existing and exercising our religion, to cause the threats made against the district. The district’s suggestion that we are to blame is deeply offensive…We will not accept discrimination by government officials. The After School Satan Club is a vital resource for children and families, and we will continue to defend its right to meet.”
“The district made the right decision by initially granting TST’s application, and we urge officials to do the right thing now,” concluded Sara Rose, the deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.