DILLSBURG, PA (WTRF) — The Northern York School Board in Dillsburg Pennsylvania came to a decision Tuesday night to strike down a proposal to create an After School Satan Club at the Northern York Elementary School.
It came to a near-unanimous vote with only one board member voting in favor of the club, according to pennlive.
Samantha Groome, a resident of the district, was the one who initiated the proposal.
At least 300 people gathered at the school board meeting all to either share their support for the club or to show their disgust and opposition to the idea. The majority, however, voiced dissent.
Pennlive reported that many of the parents cited scripture at the meeting. Some heckled opposing speakers and some rose to the microphone to tell Christians to show Christian love to all.
Some residents took to the microphone and told the community to cast those in favor of the club out of town.
“You shouldn’t be here. There’s no room for you here. If this group does get voted in, let’s do something about it,” a resident told the crowd reported pennlive.
According to their website, The After School Satan Club is an after-school program that promotes self-directed education by supporting the intellectual and creative interests of students.
The website continues to say that the mission of the Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.
The group does not worship Satan, nor does it try to proselytize. It seeks to promote free inquiry and rationalism, according to its website.
Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of the Temple of Satan, told pennlive, “It was clear these people had no idea who we are, and what we are doing.”
A junior from Northern York County High School defended the group saying that the club could provide a place for kids who know they are different to go without being asked demeaning questions or having to explain themselves.
“I am a religious person myself, however, I’ve often found myself at the teeth-end of Christian love,” the junior told pennlive. “I find they can be quite intolerant at times. They can push people away easily.”
William Dacheux, of Dilllsburg, spoke to the group saying, “I do not want my town’s image to be destroyed. I do not want Dillsburg to be known as the town that accepts everyone so long as you believe what we do. If we shelter our children from different worldviews that are out there, we are doing them a disservice.”
A member of the audience held a crucifix above the crowd as Dacheux spoke, reported pennlive.
Another Dillsburg resident, Deanna Weaver, also spoke up at the meeting saying that although a significant number of people in the room were Christians, there were also people who do not believe in a superior being.
Weaver continued to say that Groome had been misrepresented and continued to read the seven tenets of The Satanic Temple, all found on their website.
When Weaver was finished she asked the crowd what was objectionable about what she just read to which the auditorium answered, “Everything!”
Greaves called the experience unnecessarily traumatizing for those who wanted the group brought to Northern York County and said religious freedom does not come down to a school board’s vote, reported pennlive.
Greaves said the group tried to do everything in their power to meet the standards of district policy and to work with them as smoothly as possible but, “They instead decided to make a controversy out of it and turn it into the spectacle it became. That’s very regrettable,” Greaves told pennlive.