In a world where civil liberties are under attack almost daily, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community need all the help they can get - even if it's from the Satanic Temple. Yes, the Satanic Temple regularly advocates for religious freedom, especially for the non-religious.
The Satanic Temple's long history with abortion rights, women's reproductive rights, and as well as their history of trolling Hobby Lobby, states like Ohio and Missouri, and the Westboro Church, may make them an unlikely ally, but they are certainly committed to their cause. The Temple has even made headlines for its continued investment in an ongoing lawsuit from 2015 where a Missouri woman was forced to undergo several state-mandated requirements before she was allowed to have an abortion.
Though the Satanic Temple is not related to the Church of Satan, you may still find horns and lots of black robes - or you may just find people who vehemently oppose the restrictions placed by the religious right. You definitely won't find anyone sacrificing animals... or any Trump supporters.
HELL YES, STATUE OF BAPHOMET IN LITTLE ROCK AT THE CAPITOL pic.twitter.com/FkfsiCyDqZ— John Hornor (@johnhornor) August 17, 2018
Officials in Little Rock, AK, approved the installation of a Biblical Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds in 2017. During a First Amendment rally on August 16, 2018, Satanists unveiled their own religious statue on the government property: a monument of Baphomet, a winged-goat deity.
The defiant act was meant to call out the blatant disregard for the separation of church and state represented by the Ten Commandments statue. Satanic Arkansas co-founder Ivy Forrester said, "if you're going to have one religious monument up then it should be open to others, and if you don't agree with that then let's just not have any at all."
Legally speaking, Satanists need legislative sponsorship to have their monument approved. The Satanic Temple said they would sue the state if they didn't get permission, citing religious discrimination.
When a Satanic Temple member went to a Missouri Planned Parenthood seeking an abortion, the woman was given consent materials saying that life begins at conception, forced to listen to the fetal heartbeat via ultrasound, and was told she had to wait for 72 hours before she could have the abortion. The woman - Mary Doe - says that this law goes against her religious freedom; the Satanic Temple claims bodily autonomy as one of its most important beliefs.
The lawsuit has been going on since 2015, but the Satanists have made progress. Missouri's Silicitor General John D. Sauer said that the ultrasounds actually aren't required for abortions; the state's only requirement is to offer one. If a woman says she doesn't want an ultrasound, then the abortion can proceed and the state's legal responsibility has been met. Missouri admitting that the ultrasound itself is not legally mandated is helpful for Mary Doe's case, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules.
Jex Blackmore, the chapter director of the Satanic Temple Detroit and a national spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, started the Unmother Project after she found out she was pregnant and decided to seek an abortion. Michigan's abortion laws include mandatory counseling and a 24-hour wait period, and Blackmore's blog showed how difficult the process was - intentionally difficult, she felt.
Blackmore had to pick up consent materials written by the State of Michigan (not doctors), and the materials include information about fetal development stages, pre-natal care, and parental responsibilities. Likewise, the State of Michigan provided her with a list of clinics that provide pre-natal ultrasounds. In her words: "These clinics are state funded non-medical, crisis pregnancy centers whose mission is to dissuade women from choosing abortion. In 2014, the state of Michigan allocated $800,000 to these anti-abortion centers. If you pay taxes, you help to fund these groups."
She did successfully get an abortion, and left her blog up as a resource for other women seeking to navigate the complicated process of abortion in Michigan.
Ohio, a state that loves to make women's bodies its business, has recently felt the wrath of Satan (LOL). The Satanic Temple was not a fan of Ohio's "Heartbeat Bill," which was Ohio Republicans' attempt to ban abortions after six weeks. Though the Heartbeat Bill made it through the Ohio legislature, governor John Kasich did not sign it into law. But worry not - Ohio Republicans had another bill at the ready, sponsored by Ohio Right To Life. This bill, SB 127, banned abortions after 20 weeks with zero exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies or mental health. Kasich did indeed sign this ban into law, making Ohio one of 15 states to ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Lucien Greaves, spokesperson and founder of the Satanic Temple, said: "To us, the heartbeat is irrelevant to the claim of personhood. We do not advocate for a belief in the soul, therefore we feel that complex cerebral functions necessary for perception are what makes a person a person."