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.
They Erected A Statue Of Baphomet In Arkansas In The Name Of Religious Freedom
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.
The Satanic Temple Is Going Hard Against Missouri's Abortion Laws
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.
Their Spokesperson Got Real About Her Abortion
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.
The Satanic Temple Was Also Not A Fan Of Ohio's Crazy Restrictive Abortion Laws
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."
Satan-Themed Cakes? Yes, Please
After a Colorado bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple citing the baker's Christian religion, the couple sued - and the Satanic Temple got involved. Though the lawsuit was originally filed in 2012, a ruling from the Supreme Court isn't expected until 2018, and the Satanic Temple isn't optimistic considering the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Court. Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple's spokesperson, said: "Gorsuch’s record of ruling 100 percent of the time against church-state separation, and in favor of religious privilege."
The Satanic Temple's point is that since religion is protected under the court, bakeries cannot refuse to make cakes for the Satanic Temple. “If these self-proclaimed defenders of religious freedom want to leverage their religious privilege to deny service to same-sex couples, perhaps they’ll appreciate making a cake for Satan instead," Greaves said. The Temple has also offered to throw a party for any same-sex couples at its Salem, MA, headquarters.
Westboro Baptist Church Is An Obvious Target For The Satanic Temple
After the Westboro Baptist Church said they were planning to protest at the funerals of Boston Marathon bombing victims (they didn't show up), the Satanic Temple decided to take a page from the Church's book and do their own graveyard protest, Satan-style.
The Satanic Temple performed a "Pink Mass" over WBC founder Fred Phelps Jr.'s mother. A Pink Mass is, in case you're wondering, a ceremony to turn a dead person gay. The Temple performed a ceremony with a female couple and a male couple just to make certain that Phelps Jr.'s mother's spirit had turned gay.