On March 31, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against Pennsylvania’s Saucon Valley School District after it dismantled the “After School Satan Club,” an after-school program sponsored by the Satanic Temple with chapters across the country, allegeding the club failed to communicate that it was not formally sponsored by the district. The ACLU argues that the removal was actually motivated by the hundreds of angry messages the district received from local parents and the general public.
Saucon Valley is not the only American community bedeviled by Satan clubs. Similar clubs in Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, California, and New York have all generated controversy. The primary concern, as one Pennsylvania parent put it, is that “Satan is here to kill and destroy.” Other parents have asserted that the United States is “one nation under God” and that to deny Satan a place in public schools is therefore a necessary and prudent measure. The Napa Legal Institute’s Frank DeVito even used Satan clubs to justify restoring the pre-World War II tradition of blasphemy laws.
After School Satan Clubs (and most modern Satanists) do not literally worship Satan. Satan clubs espouse “free inquiry and rationalism,” and “[do] not believe in introducing religion into public schools and will only open a club if other religious groups are operating on campus.” The Satanic Temple openly rejects the supernatural, using Satan’s name and image for shock value.
But even if Satan Clubs were actually worshiping Satan, there’s little that can (or should) be done about them. A defense of American pluralism requires a defense of, or at least apathy toward, Satanism.