Federal Judge Prevents School from Banning ‘After School Satan Club’, Citing 1st Amendment

On the heels of a ‘Satancon’ gathering in Boston that attracted a significant amount of controversy, Satanists won an important victory in a federal court in Pennsylvania.

The legal victory happened after Saucon Valley Middle School students attempted to establish an After School Satan Club. The school rescinded permission for the group to use its facilities due to allegedly violating its advertising policies.

The Satan club claims to teach kids “benevolence and empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative expression, personal sovereignty, and compassion.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the school had to allow the organization, citing free speech concerns.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge John M. Gallagher wrote in his ruling that the After School Satan Club should be afforded First Amendment protections, particularly because it is controversial.

“When confronted with a challenge to free speech, the government’s first instinct must be to forward expression rather than quash it. Particularly when the content is controversial or inconvenient.” He added, “Here, although The Satanic Temple, Inc.’s objectors may challenge the sanctity of this controversially named organization, the sanctity of the First Amendment’s protections must prevail.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which assisted the Satanist group in securing the victory, celebrated the court’s ruling on Monday, calling it a ‘victory for free speech.’

“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,” the ACLU announced in a tweet on Monday.

Leadership at ACLU accused Saucon Valley of ‘brazen discrimination’ against followers of the Satanic’ religion.’

“We applaud the court for recognizing the threat to the First Amendment rights of the After School Satan Club and The Satanic Temple and preventing Saucon Valley School District from continuing its brazen discrimination,” said Sara Rose, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, in the release.

The Satanic Temple, the organization offering After School Satan Club programs, also celebrated the decision, saying that the ruling ‘affirms that schools may not discriminate against groups on the basis of their beliefs.’

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“This is welcome news for Saucon Valley students and families seeking to participate in the supportive and inclusive community provided by ASSC meetings,” said June Everett, director of The Satanic Temple’s ASSC programming. “The ruling affirms that schools may not discriminate against groups on the basis of their beliefs or faith. The district must allow all qualified organizations to use district facilities, even if some in the community object.” They further said.

The ruling came just days after the Satanic Temple drew hundreds of participants and counter-protesters to its ‘Satancon’ convention in Boston.

The event drew outrage from Christians, resulting in a large counter-protest near the convention.

In one viral video, a participant at the convention could be seen tearing apart the bible, causing controversy on social media.

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