A proposal for an after school Satan Club was made by The Satanic Temple and one local student’s parent to create a chapter in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania public schools, but it was struck down on Tuesday by the Northern York County School Board after an outcry by residents and other parents.

This club has successfully opened a chapter in an elementary school in Moline, Illinois as a counterpoint to Christian after-school programs in the area, and also received widespread protests there by Christian groups.

The Satanic Temple, which is a non-theistic religious movement involved in a large variety of forms of activism, says on the club’s website that they “focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us.”

They also insisted that “proselytization is not our goal, and we’re not interested in converting children to Satanism.” It’s important to note here that despite its name, The Satanic Temple does not worship a supernatural Satan as depicted in Christianity. Their beliefs reportedly embody the literary interpretation of Satan and encourage open skepticism and autonomy.

Parents in Pennsylvania were not at all convinced of this, however. At one public school board meeting, a woman said, “Satan is a liar and Satan will show himself as light when he is in fact not light.” The co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, said that this negative response was an example of “these old witch hunter mythologies that never served a positive function.”

The Satanic Temple has been known to draw headlines in the past for big public stunts meant to anger Christians. One of the first moves that drew attention to them was when they performed a “pink mass” ritual they held at the grave of the mother of Fred Phelps, founder of the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church. Multiple same-sex couples kissed at the gravesite and the Temple said that they successfully made Phelps’ mom “gay in the afterlife.”

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