Last Wednesday, members of Seattle’s Satanic Temple debuted their “After School Satan Club” for kids at Point Defiance Elementary School in Tacoma, and according to temple leader Lilith Starr, the opening has been a “success,” according to The News Tribune.
“I was worried people might be scared away,” Starr said, referring to protests and community outrage since the club was announced in August.
According to Starr and corroborated accounts from parents, Wednesday’s opening drew 11 parents and 9 kids — much larger numbers than a recent ASSC opening in Portland, according to Starr.
From the Tribune:
The group included two students who identified themselves as Christians, she said.
Starr said one parent signed a permission slip for a student to join the club, which is to meet monthly at Point Defiance throughout the school year.
The temple, part of a national group based in Salem, Massachusetts, is launching Satan Clubs around the country as an alternative at public schools that host Christian after-school programs.
Point Defiance has an after-school Good News Club, a national Christian program developed by the Missouri-based Child Evangelism Fellowship. It meets Tuesdays at the school, one of a handful of Good News Clubs within Tacoma Public Schools.
Some parents at the Wednesday opening actually supported the club. Topher Welsh, who has two children at the school, said he supports the club’s agenda, but was careful to point out that he’s not a Satanist.
“They are just people who don’t believe in religion,” Welsh said referring to the Temple’s members. “They are a group that doesn’t want to see religion in schools.”
After a group of Point Defiance parents asked the Tacoma School Board to ban the club, district officials cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says if public schools take on after-school programs, should make their facilities available to all groups.
The Tribune reports that Superintendent Carla Santorno told parents that to keep the club out of the school, the district would have to deny other groups.
Starr says the clubs focus on rational thought and science, not devil worship, and “aren’t about proselytizing to children, but rather giving them the critical-thinking skills they need to make their own decisions about the world.”
Watch the Tribune’s report on the story below:
Featured image via screen grab