Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

Surprising Tactic In The Fight To Preserve Abortion Rights In The U.S. Comes From None Other Than The Satanic Temple, Which Upholds Religious Abortion Rituals
167points
7.3K
Good News, Social Issues1 month ago

Surprising Tactic In The Fight To Preserve Abortion Rights In The U.S. Comes From None Other Than The Satanic Temple, Which Upholds Religious Abortion Rituals Interview

“One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” You would hope that this was a universally accepted and acted-upon law. However, this is very much not the case as we see the aftermath of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Reversed after nearly 50 years, it made abortions no longer protected at federal level, instead allowing individual states to decide whether the medical procedure is legal within their state boundaries.

Thirteen states have passed so-called “trigger laws” that will ban abortion within 30 days. But one religious group which follows the previously-stated principle is standing up to this ruling because “terminating a pregnancy is a central part of a religious ritual that encourages self empowerment and affirms bodily autonomy.” That religious group is none other than The Satanic Temple (TST)Bored Panda got in touch with Malcolm Jarry, one of the cofounders of TST, to get a more detailed overview of the situation and mission at hand. With lots of lore, rumors, and prejudice surrounding the group, let’s try and peel back the layers of a very complex, yet intriguing, onion.

More info: The Satanic Temple – Statement | Facebook

The Satanic Temple (TST), a religious group, is taking a stance in securing abortion rights for their members, which will see a filing of multiple lawsuits

Image credits: The Satanic Temple

If you grew up in a Christian household, were taught in a Christian school, or have attended a Church service at least once in your life, you’ll know that the opposite of Heaven – the glorious place of eternal life and goodness – is Hell. Festering with demons and evil, the worst of the worst end up there to burn for the rest of eternity. Or those that have tattoos, but I digress…

It seems there’s more than meets the eye, as The Satanic Temple is once again at the forefront of fighting for human rights in the United States. Started in 2013 and recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt church in 2019, the group has launched multiple actions and lawsuits related to the separation of church and state.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, wreaking havoc on millions of people’s reproductive rights, the group released a statement claiming that “a religious exemption will be the only available challenge to many restrictions to [abortion] access.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the group claim that “a religious exemption” will be the only challenge to abortion restrictions

Image credits: The Satanic Temple

“The news that Roe v Wade has been overturned is extremely distressing. The Satanic Temple (TST) has nevertheless positioned itself to try to protect religious abortion access for our members,” the public release read. At the moment, the religious group is said to have over 700,000 registered members.

Ministers for The Satanic Temple created an “abortion ritual,” in which a woman affirms her own autonomy, obtains an abortion, and then concludes the ritual. The ritual is not intended to convince a person to have an abortion, but instead to instill confidence when undergoing a safe and scientific procedure.

Since abortion is central to a religious ritual, TST argues that subjecting a woman to a waiting period is the same as the government interfering with a baptism or communion. They note that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed religious rights, such as taxpayers having to fund religious schools in Maine on the basis of religious freedom.

Image credits: Emma Guliani (not the actual photo)

“The Satanic Temple is currently suing the state of Texas to protect our civil rights,” the post said. “We have requested alternative science-based abortion counseling in Minnesota. We will also be suing the FDA for unrestricted religious access to Mifepristone and Misoprostol.”

The latter are drugs commonly used to induce abortion, however, at the moment, these drugs are only available with a doctor’s prescription, and the doctor must adhere to any state restrictions before providing them.

According to PolitiFact, opponents of the group have argued that abortion is a medical procedure, not a protected religious practice. But The Satanic Temple’s lawyer, Matthew Kezhaya, argued that abortion can be both secular and religious, depending on context. You can read about our current lawsuits here.

“One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone” is one of the group’s seven Fundamental Tenets

Image credits: Derek French (not the actual photo)

“The future is always dependent on people willing to stand up and fight to protect their rights,” said Malcolm Jarry. “There are many good people who want to defend their rights but they don’t know what to do or they are led astray by bad actors with ill-conceived self-indulgent agendas.”

“For instance, there had been a groundswell of public support to engage in instigating police reform. The approach did not have to be antagonistic, but rather a process by which people, who are employed to keep the peace and the system in which they operate, become dramatically better at meeting the needs of their communities. Instead, a movement to eliminate the police dominated the discourse and undermined the implementation of needed reforms.”

“That whole discussion has ended and the revolutionary impulses that drove that movement have dissipated. The opportunity for change was squandered multiple times and now people are afraid to go there. That is unfortunate. Developments such as that make us a bit cynical about the future, but if we were not hopeful, we would not be taking on the challenges we engage in.”

The group also has a list of things to consider for an effective protest. “People must [protest] in a manner that is constructive and not a narcissistic exercise, where the struggle is about the protester as opposed to the objective,” Malcolm explained.

TST upholds an “Abortion Ritual,” which means “terminating a pregnancy is a central part of a religious ritual that affirms bodily autonomy”

Image credits: The Satanic Temple

Image credits: thesatanictemple

Malcolm explained that “if TST wins, then we will have secured access to abortion for our members without any unnecessary interference from the state. That means no waiting periods. No narrated ultrasounds. No forced counseling.”

“The long-term outcome would be the recognition that religious liberty can be used to advance civil rights as opposed to being an expression of perverse moral righteousness utilized to deprive others of their rights.”

However, “if TST loses, it would be a consequence of one of two things. Because the law is so clearly on our side, either the ruling would diminish religious liberty in a way that impacts all religious organizations and thereby overturns many SCOTUS rulings, or the ruling would be biased and unjust in which case we would find the opportunity to file new lawsuits until we find a judge who has the integrity to apply the law when writing their decision.”

In addition to legal efforts, Malcolm believes that the two focus points should be the change to legislature and the cultural beliefs surrounding abortion as a whole. “Legislators need to be lobbied to pass bills that ensure abortion access,” he said. “On the cultural side, the narrative that a fertilized egg is a human being must be challenged.”

“The soundbite that ‘life begins at conception’ has been interpreted and accepted by many as meaning that a fetus at any stage of development has personhood. That deceptive language turned a fringe group of radicals into a mainstream movement. A scientifically accurate soundbite needs to be invoked that undermines this dishonest claim and instigates rational discourse.”

The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed religious rights, such as taxpayers having to fund religious schools in Maine on the basis of religious freedom

Image credits: Marc Nozell

“I think many people have preconceptions about The Satanic Temple and do not bother checking to see if their assumptions are valid,” Malcolm said. “There are bad actors spreading lies about the organization fueling misunderstandings. We are working to inform people about the things that we do.”

One element that needs to be addressed is the fact that The Satanic Temple does not worship or believe in Satan, yet they acknowledge Satan as a powerful symbol of rebellion.

Its members believe that “religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition,” with their main mission being to “encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.”

Two of the Temple’s seven tenets read, “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone” and “Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.”

Often TST is confused with an earlier organization, the Church of Satan. They joke on their website that if you want to sell your soul, get rich or join the Illuminati, then you should look elsewhere.

Image credits: The Satanic Temple

“Most people know of the organization for its efforts to fight the privileging of any one religion over others by the state,” Malcolm explained, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Alongside offering to place a statue of Baphomet next to a State-erected 10 Commandments statue and “requesting the opportunity to deliver an invocation at public forums where other religious invocations are recited,” they’re working to assist the people most in need of help.

“We have services that we provide to assist with addiction recovery. We fight for the rights of students in public school not to be subjected to solitary confinement, corporal punishment, and restraints. We have after-school programs which promote self-directed education. We do good works such as charitable drives that provide resources to women’s shelters, the homeless, and animal shelters.”

A previously held fundraiser, called the “On the Offensive Fundraiser,” which aimed to grant TST members the tools to receive medically-safe abortions and protect reproductive rights raised $150,000.

Malcolm hopes that “as word gets out, people will better understand the organization and judge us by things we say and do and laugh at the people who misrepresent us.”

TST is not alone. One synagogue filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida as, under Jewish law, an abortion “is required if necessary”

Image credits: The Satanic Temple of Salem

Some Jewish communities have also stood up to the abortion bans throughout the US, as it violates their beliefs.

MSNBC spoke with Rabbi Samantha Frank, a rabbinic fellow at Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., who explained that in Judaism, reproductive justice goes back to the Torah (the Hebrew Bible), in which a differentiation is made between the life of a fetus and the life of a pregnant person: “The fetus is regarded as potential life, rather than actual life.”

According to Pew Research, 33 percent of American evangelicals believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 82 percent of Buddhists and 83 percent of Jews. A South Florida congregation said that under Jewish law, an abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being” of a pregnant woman.

Image credits: The Satanic Temple

The synagogue filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida on June 10 after a bill was passed to lower the maximum threshold for abortions from 24 weeks down to 15 weeks.

They argued that the Jewish faith holds the right to an abortion to be inviolable: “If a fetus poses a threat to the health or emotional well-being of its mother, at any stage of gestation up until birth, Jewish law not only entitles but requires the mother to abort the pregnancy and protect herself.”

It remains to be seen whether TST will win the lawsuits but it is clear that the retaliation against the overturn of Roe v. Wade is just beginning

Image credits: Emma Guliani (not the actual photo)

It is only the beginning of retaliation against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. If you or someone you know are in need of resources, Planned Parenthood has a list of clinics and are ready to advise. Abortion Finder details the laws per state if you’re interested to learn more.

Constitutional law professor Jay Wexler has encouraged the work of groups like TST, stating, “Only by insisting on exercising these rights can Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and everybody else ensure that the Court’s new religious jurisprudence does not result in a public space occupied exclusively by Christian messages and symbols. At stake is nothing less than our national public life.”

People have shared their thoughts on the matter, supporting TST’s stance. Let us know your thoughts in the comments

Share on Facebook
You May Like
Popular on Bored Panda
Hey pandas, what do you think?
Tomas Holicka
Community Member
1 month ago

Just for those who do not know, the Satanic temple was established to fight for the separation of the church and the state in the U.S. by pointing out how absurd the relationship between the state and churches is. If you read up on the principles, they are essentially humanist and very agreeable. I think they chose the figure of Satan or Baphomet because it is just as random as any biblical (or other religious) figure. The Satanic church is, in my opinion, basically anti-religious (and I mean that as a good thing).

von Funnyname
Community Member
1 month ago

Came here to say similarly. TST has always been provocative in the notion that they do not believe church and government should be mixed. Hedonistic lifestyles that they otherwise profess are ones based in getting what you need, and not having religious opposition to those things. They fight for these equalities in school systems, local governments, federal-level arenas, and many, many other areas beyond those. This is the furthest thing from a surprising move -- it's on brand, and awesome.

Load More Replies...
Jayne Kyra
Community Member
1 month ago

If having an abortion goes against your beliefs, whatever they are, then don´t have one. But they will NOT dictate how others should live their life and what they should do with their bodies.

Monday
Community Member
1 month ago

Precisely. Susan's religion controls Susan's life, not mine.

Load More Replies...
Suzanne Tilson
Community Member
1 month ago

You know it's bad when the devil is making more sense

Snowfoxrox
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm straight up stealing this from Thomas Holick because he wrote it best: The Satanic temple was established to fight for the separation of the church and the state in the U.S. by pointing out how absurd the relationship between the state and churches is. If you read up on the principles, they are essentially humanist and very agreeable. I think they chose the figure of Satan or Baphomet because it is just as random as any biblical (or other religious) figure. The Satanic church is, in my opinion, basically anti-religious (and I mean that as a good thing).

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Tomas Holicka
Community Member
1 month ago

Just for those who do not know, the Satanic temple was established to fight for the separation of the church and the state in the U.S. by pointing out how absurd the relationship between the state and churches is. If you read up on the principles, they are essentially humanist and very agreeable. I think they chose the figure of Satan or Baphomet because it is just as random as any biblical (or other religious) figure. The Satanic church is, in my opinion, basically anti-religious (and I mean that as a good thing).

von Funnyname
Community Member
1 month ago

Came here to say similarly. TST has always been provocative in the notion that they do not believe church and government should be mixed. Hedonistic lifestyles that they otherwise profess are ones based in getting what you need, and not having religious opposition to those things. They fight for these equalities in school systems, local governments, federal-level arenas, and many, many other areas beyond those. This is the furthest thing from a surprising move -- it's on brand, and awesome.

Load More Replies...
Jayne Kyra
Community Member
1 month ago

If having an abortion goes against your beliefs, whatever they are, then don´t have one. But they will NOT dictate how others should live their life and what they should do with their bodies.

Monday
Community Member
1 month ago

Precisely. Susan's religion controls Susan's life, not mine.

Load More Replies...
Suzanne Tilson
Community Member
1 month ago

You know it's bad when the devil is making more sense

Snowfoxrox
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm straight up stealing this from Thomas Holick because he wrote it best: The Satanic temple was established to fight for the separation of the church and the state in the U.S. by pointing out how absurd the relationship between the state and churches is. If you read up on the principles, they are essentially humanist and very agreeable. I think they chose the figure of Satan or Baphomet because it is just as random as any biblical (or other religious) figure. The Satanic church is, in my opinion, basically anti-religious (and I mean that as a good thing).

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda