The Satanic Temple, a Massachusetts-based self-proclaimed religious organization, is turning the tables on conservatives' 'religious liberty' argument.
On Tuesday the temple argued in front of the Missouri Supreme Court that a Missouri abortion law violated their religious beliefs...
The case was brought on behalf of one of their members, referred to as "Mary Doe," who received an abortion at a St. Louis clinic in 2015.
Her complaint came down to the fact that she had:
“deeply held religious beliefs that a nonviable fetus is not a separate human being but is part of her body and that abortion of a nonviable fetus does not terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."
Fellow Temple member, Jex Blackmore, agreed that Mary Doe's religious freedom was being ignored, and that Missouri's law favors specific religions, which believe that life begins at conception:
“The State has essentially established a religious indoctrination program intended to push a single ideological viewpoint. The law is intended to punish women who disagree with this opinion. Missouri’s state-mandated informed consent booklets explicitly say that life begins at conception, which is a nonmedical religious viewpoint that many people disagree with. Forcing women to read this information and then wait 72-hours to consider the State’s opinion is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause.”
The Temple declared victory on Wednesday:
Justices of the court asked the State’s representative if, “it’s the position of the State that an ultrasound does not have to be conducted unless a person says they want the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.”Missouri’s Solicitor General Sauer affirms that the State’s interpretation of statute (MO Rev Stat § 188.027) is that women only be offered the “opportunity,” to have an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat, and if a woman declines hearing the audio, the ultrasound need not be performed and the requirement has been satisfied.
Many on Twitter cheered the Satanic Temple for challenging the law...
Well done Church of Satan (words I never expected to say). In all seriousness, there are godly religions that explicitly say eg don't name a fetus til it is born a baby because it's not a person yet. They have a right to #religiousfreedom too. #Missouri https://t.co/OLH1MVFPFy https://t.co/U8hpBnQDQZ— Zoe Samuel (@zoe_samuel) January 24, 2018
People were surprised to be cheering a self-identified 'Satanic' organization but they kind of embraced it...
The irony was not lost on anyone...
Although to be fair, The Satanic Temple isn't really about worshipping Satan at all.
According to its website:
It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan.
And its purpose is to:
strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
OK, Satanic Temple, you do you and thanks for fighting the good fight!