Opponents of an evangelical Christian children's club in East Portland's public schools have filed a request to start an After School Satan Club at Sacramento Elementary.
In a facility-use request filed with the Parkrose School District on Sept. 5, the Portland chapter of a group called the Satanic Temple asks to host meetings on campus.
The filing follows a WW report last month that Sacramento was one of three schools within Portland city limits hosting the controversial Christian after-school program called Good News Club.
After School Satan Clubs have followed the establishment of Good News Clubs nationwide, including chapters in Seattle, Los Angeles and Nehalem, Ore.
Finn Rezz, spokesman for the Satanic Temple, says the club won't actually introduce children to the occult.
"Our program isn't trying to recruit kids into Satanism," Rezz says. "The curriculum is more secular humanism. Our perspective is that Satan is a rebel, a questioner."
Parkrose Superintendent Karen Gray says she may assign the Satan Club to another school in the district.
"I get to make the decision as to which school we have room at," she says.
Gray says the Satan Club has the same rights and restrictions as any other religious club that asks to meet on school grounds.
"They may not proselytize," she says, "or pressure anyone into their religion (we cannot promote religion over no religion) and parents are welcome to send their kids. Just like with any other religious group."
The Child Evangelism Fellowship, the organization that sponsors Good News Clubs, has called the mission of the After School Satan Clubs hypocritical.
"They think there should be a broad, range of thought presented to the children," John Luck, told WW. "Which is really interesting, because for the last 15 years tried very hard to keep us out of the school."
The 2001 Supreme Court case Good News Clubs v. Milford Central School established that banning religious clubs from public elementary schools is a violation of the First Amendment. That same ruling protects After School Satan clubs.
The permission slip for the After School Satan club advertises the club as "a fun-filled hour once a month." It says the club includes "science, creative learning activities, songs, art projects and educational stories." Like the Good News Club, the After School Satan Club is led by volunteers.
Rezz says the Satan Club will operate in Parkrose as long as the Good News Clubs remain.
"We've been finding a lot of parents who have concerns [about Good News Clubs] and who don't know what their curriculum entails," Rezz says. "They're not aware that their children are being indoctrinated with hellfire. We're offering a counter-perspective, to give people options and to restart conversation."