Saturday, June 22, 2024

Judge Orders Pennsylvania District To Allow After-School Satan Club

Saucon Valley School District in Pennsylvania must now allow The Satanic Temple (TST) to use school facilities for its After-School Satan Club as courts continue to examine a civil rights lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania in late March, for changing its mind about approval for its club.

US District Judge John M. Gallagher wrote in a filing that the Saucon Valley School District violated the After School Satan Club’s free speech privileges when it rescinded its agreement to let the group meet on school grounds.

The club, which is sponsored by the Satanic Temple, had its official approval revoked earlier this year after its promotional flyers caused a stir in the Lehigh Valley community.

The national ACLU, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Dechert LLP subsequently sued the district on behalf of the Satanic Temple in March, the Hill reported.

Gallagher reasoned in his decision that “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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“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. Nothing less is consistent with the expressed purpose of American government to secure the core, innate rights of its people,” Judge Gallagher wrote in the Monday ruling.

In Virginia, an After School Satan Club was also allowed to meet earlier this year following a similar controversy that made headlines.

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