PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Satan came to school in Portland Wednesday morning, but so did religious groups from around the country.
The After School Satan Club hosted its first open house at Portland’s Sacramento Elementary School, the club’s first official event at any school in the U.S.
The event was open to Parkrose School District parents and community members interested in learning about the club’s curriculum. It started around noon the same day another religious group, The Good News Club, held its open house.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves told KOIN 6 News the After School Satan Club serves as an alternative to the “Bible-centered” Good News Club “whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“We want them to have an option where they’re not trying to indoctrinate their children into a bizarre, superstitious belief system,” Greaves explained.
If the Good News Club wasn’t there, Greaves said they wouldn’t be, either.
“We feel that evangelical clubs coming in and proselytizing children, trying to get other children to convert to their fundamentalist way of thinking creates a need for us here,” Greaves continued. “Something that presents scientific rationalism being put forward by a different religious group.”
But some parents, community members and other people like Jack Burnham with the Pennsylvania-based group America Needs Fatima see it differently.
“They want to balance with Satan?” Burnham asked. “We think people are very much afraid of Satan and Satanism and what it represents.”
Jose Delgado, whose 8-year-old daughter attends Sacramento Elementary School, came to protest the After School Satan Club on the day of its open house.
“Everybody knows there’s nothing positive about a Satanic club, Satan is Satan,” Delgado said. “I’m upset because I feel like we didn’t even get a say in this.”
But Satanic Temple members said their after-school program doesn’t contain items of religious opinion and students do need a permission note to attend.
The After School Satan Club has another open house next month in Seattle.