Joseph Rose, the founder of the Satanic Delco Satanic Congregation, successfully petitioned the Delaware County school district to change its dress code which it claimed was discriminatory against Satanists.
Satanism banned from school…but not anymore
The ban included clothing and items with sexually suggestive images, those that advocate violence or promote the use of alcohol or drugs, any with obscene or “disrespectful” language, or images or messages that were “satanic in nature.”
“The idea that a public school would allow religious expression in school, but choose to single out and prohibit the expression of one specific religion obviously seemed like a problem for us,” Rose said.
After raising the issue with the school district via email and phone, the district superintendent relented, sending out a notice that read, “Although we have had no complaints or concerns brought forward by any student, parent, or resident we will remove this language from our current dress code information in the student handbook.”
“It just sort of raises awareness for what Satanists are, what we’re not, and maybe helps empower us a little when we have to reach out to the next high school, which I’m doing,” Rose told 6ABC.
Rose is currently petitioning the Garnet Valley School District which has a similar prohibition against satanic or “cultish” imagery.
Satanic Temple: a religion or not?
The Satanic Temple’s seven tenets are reason, responsibility, compassion, justice, freedom, science, and autonomy. Satanic Delco’s website says its followers do not worship Satan or believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural.
“We believe that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition,” the site reads. “As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”
Satanic Delco members don’t believe in the supernatural but instead believe in “a science-first viewpoint.” They invoke Satan’s name in their own, Rose said, because Satan is “symbolic of the eternal rebel.”
Satan ‘yes’, Jesus ‘no’
The story of the Satanic Temple’s victory in the name of freedom of religious expression stands in stark contrast to the case of Mississippi mother Jennifer Booth. Last year, Booth’s nine-year-old daughter, Lydia, was required to wear a surgical mask to school due to pandemic regulations. She chose to wear a mask decorated with the words, “Jesus loves me.”
Booth was notified by the school that the mask violated school policy. The principal said it was against school policy “to have religious symbols or gestures on her mask.” But upon inspecting the school handbook with the principal, Booth says, the only policy the principal could point to referred to “drug culture, profanity, [and] obscenities.”
Booth persisted and two days later was sent the policy that included a restriction on religious symbols. Booth discovered that the policy she received had been revised less than an hour before it was emailed to her to include the restriction on religious symbols.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on the family’s behalf alleging the school district infringed on the girl’s first amendment right to free speech.
“Public schools have a duty to respect the free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them,” said ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross. “…Other students within the school district have freely worn masks with the logos of local sports teams or even the words ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This student deserves an equal opportunity to peacefully express her beliefs.”