By Jenna Hanchard | 14 December 2016
KING 5 NEWS — A satanic after school club at a Tacoma elementary school is causing concern among some parents and community members.
The Seattle Satanic Temple hosted an open house at Point Defiance Elementary Wednesday to gauge interest among elementary school kids and families.
“We are a no theistic religion. We don’t worship Satan, we don’t have a belief in a higher power, or anything like that, but we do promote our tenant,” said Vapula Lix, a member of the temple, who serves as one of the after school teachers. “We have seven tenants. We promote compassion and empathy and that our beliefs should conform to science and no the other way around.”
Lix said the kids would monthly, and activities would include a lesson plan, an art project, and a snack.
A spokesperson for the Tacoma Public Schools district officials said the request to host a satanic after school club at the elementary school that came in a couple of months ago was unusual, but the district had to accommodate the request.
“We realized there is a state law and also a U.S. Supreme court ruling that says we have to rent our facility to an organization regardless of their viewpoint, so we do have a Christian based organization that rents space from us for their program, and now we’ve made space for this other organization,” a district spokesperson said.
Opposition flew in from across the country.
“America is one nation under God, and we want to keep it that way,” said John Ritche, a member of the Catholic organization, Tradition, Family, and Property.
Ritche came from Pennsylvania to protest the Satan Club. Tradition, Family, and Property started circulating a petition to urge the Tacoma Public Schools District to kick out the Satan after school program.
“George Washington said religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society. The constitution was written for a people that respected God’s law, respected moral values,” Ritche said. “The Satan Club attacks God, undermines moral values, and really is un-American.”
Parents like Lani Vaiolo say they’re also concerned.
“Anything that represents the name or the word Satan to me is anything but evil, and I don’t appreciate the fact that they’re letting evil come into the safe haven of learning for our kids,” Vaiolo said.