The Satanic Temple is back at it, this time attempting to test the strength of “religious liberty” against certain laws of the land that might clash with those beliefs. We’ve covered The Temple in the past, mostly over their efforts in Florida and Oklahoma, but this time their focus is in Missouri and it has nothing to do with statues.
The topic this time is abortion, everybody’s favorite slice of dinner conversation. It seems that Missouri requires a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion and one must make several trips to the clinic in that period, the first, according to The Independent, is to receive counseling with “information designed to discourage her from having an abortion” and the second being the actual procedure itself.
The Satanists feel this cuts into their way of being and they’re out to help temple member “Mary” to skirt past these laws and stand as an example to fight for their religious beliefs, skipping all that red tape to get right down to business. They outlined their goasl in a statement from their official website:
An important precedent is taking shape in Missouri, where our exemptions may soon be tested. “Mary,” a Temple member, will be formally notifying her doctor that her deeply held beliefs would be violated if she is forced to receive inaccurate information as required by the State, and if she is forced to endure a mandated 72 hour waiting period. These requirements unreasonably violate the sovereignty of her and body.
Since 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court which safeguarded the legality of abortion, the conservative religious right has instigated anti-abortion initiatives. Many lawmakers have introduced “weasel bills” transparently designed to make the process of receiving an abortion more difficult, and emotionally and logistically harrowing. Those who define the issue in terms of personal choice typically find their views marginalized as being outside of the realm of religious protection. While religio-conservative views seek to undermine abortion rights, they have also steadily worked to define “religious liberty” to be understood in terms of reserving the right to deny contraceptives and oppose rational family planning practices. We intend to show that religious liberty can also protect and promote these legal practices.
Much like most of their antics, The Satanic Temple is attempting to highlight the absurdity involved with such laws and mandates. It’s made to garner outrage and to pull people out to flip flop on their stated beliefs, something Rolling Stone lays out perfectly by highlighting a number of folks who have already spoken out against The Temple’s mission here:
When Cheryl Chumley of The Washington Times wrote in 2014 about invoking “religious liberty” to take away women’s access to birth control, she noted that “Christians stand strong.” Protecting religious freedom to exert power over someone else’s body is, she seems to think, the great civil rights issue of our time.
Writing about the Satanist case, however, Chumley characterizes it as an attempt to “skirt state abortion laws.” So when you invoke “religious liberty” to control your own body, you’re just a corrupt person looking for loopholes I guess?
There’s a few more over at their piece, but you get the picture. The only thing missing from this everybody’s favorite religious leader “Lucien Greaves.” Sadly he’s only around in spirit, surely pulling the strings from behind the scenes. I doubt their plan to skirt around the mandate and assist “Mary” is going to work at the end of the day, but they’ve highlighted something worth discussing at least.