MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A lawyer hired by the Mount Vernon School District has advised officials to allow the Satanic Temple of Seattle to start an after-school program at one of their elementary schools.
The Skagit Valley Herald reports attorney Duncan Fobes said if the district were to deny the application, they would face costly litigation which would not end in their favor.
Fobes said the district was one of nine throughout the country, including Mount Vernon's Centennial Elementary School, to receive such applications.
The Satanic Temple has been targeting schools that have a Good News Bible Club. Satanic Temple of Seattle spokesman Tarkus Claypool has said a parent brought the bible club to their attention over concerns the club was teaching children to evangelize to other children.
Claypool said their curriculum teaches children logic, self-empowerment and reasoning and they don't worship a deity.
According to the website, the group says it does not believe in nor does it worship Satan.
“They use the term Satan, I think, as a very successful attention-getter,” said Duncan Fobbs.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, schools must allow all organizations, religious and secular, to use school property as long as it doesn't promote hate speech or violence.
Wednesday night at the Mt. Vernon School Board meeting, concerned parents spoke out against the group's application for an afterschool program.
“I'm very frustrated but as you heard, the attorney says their hands are tied,” said resident Dova Thursk.
“If people were to define what satanic temple means, I think they’d be alarmed,” said grandparent Mike Cheek.