Written by Kathy Thompson
FLI recently reported that Satanists in Queensland had invoked their ‘right to religious freedom’ when holding a public Black Mass at a community arts venue. That dubious ‘right’, as the article explained, rests on an erroneous definition of freedom of religion which has prevailed since the Enlightenment and which has been adopted by western liberal democracies. As the article also explained, some argue that this same error was unfortunately promulgated by the Second Vatican Council in diametric opposition to the previous Catholic teaching on religious liberty.
Satanists in the US have been taking this approach for some time and are now demanding a new and highly disturbing entitlement on this basis: exemptions from pro-life pre-abortion protocols and greater access to abortion in the name of religious freedom.
According to its website, [the link is intentionally not provided here] the Satanic Temple is applying America’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – the same law that protected the Christian proprietors of Hobby Lobby from having to pay for their employees’ birth control – to “protect its members from unnecessary abortion regulations that inhibit their religious practices and force them to violate their deeply-held beliefs.”
The “religious practice” referred to in this instance is what Satanists refer to as a “Satanic abortion ritual”, the steps of which are outlined on the Satanic Temple website. The ritual takes place before an abortion and involves the pregnant woman reciting two of the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple before a mirror then affirming herself as her own god. This ritual is said to have been concocted by a Satanic Temple member who had her child aborted and felt the need to “spiritualise” her actions. Note that these Satanists are more in tune with the metaphysical nature of abortion than are pro-abortion activists who insist killing a baby is equivalent to having a tooth removed: even those who serve demons and embrace abortion are aware that ending a life can in no way be treated like a simple medical procedure.
Satanic Temple members claim that it is a violation of women’s deeply-held beliefs to be forced to undergo state-mandated pre-abortion procedures or to be denied abortions under state laws. Under cover of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Satanic Temple offers to provide legal representation to women who have been through either or both of these experiences. Specific examples of practices that violate the “deeply-held beliefs” of Satanists are mandatory waiting periods, medically unnecessary ultrasounds, mandatory listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and compulsory burial or cremation. The Satanic Temple, along with many other pro-abortion activists, believe that these practices are unnecessary and are designed to “instil shame” into abortion-minded mothers.
The Satanic Temple’s legal assistance is being funded in part by a raffle held last year in which the first prize was an abortion to the cost of $2500. As Live Action pointed out, this means that even a late-term abortion would be covered by that amount of prize-money, making it a particularly callous offer.
One legal challenge made on this basis of violating Satanists’ “deeply-held beliefs” took place in Missouri, where the Satanic Temple tried to have a mandatory waiting-period law struck down. The first lawsuit took place in 2018, but the state’s Eighth Circuit Court dismissed the case. Then in 2019, the Satanic Temple tried again, this time representing a plaintiff, “Jane Doe”, who claimed that deferring her abortion for 3 days violated her religious freedom. The legal challenge finally ended last November, when Missouri’s Supreme Court refused to hear the Satanic Temple’s appeal.
The Satanic Temple is trying to draw attention to their legal aspirations by erecting billboards across the country, openly promoting “satanic abortions” as a way of circumventing state abortion laws.
One such billboard has been put up along a freeway in Miami, where Florida’s law requires abortion-minded women to have mandatory pre-counselling and an ultrasound before going ahead with terminating their children’s lives.
A local news service reported on the billboard and legal strategy, noting that in Miami, a similar exemption already exists for practitioners of the black magic cult, Santeria. Under that provision, members of Santeria are allowed to sacrifice animals, which is normally illegal, as part of their religious observance and Satanists believe this provision should be extended to their own abortion rite..
According to the article, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple claims that formal membership in the group is not necessary for a woman to be able to claim the religious exemption. All that is necessary is that the unfortunate woman recite the ‘satanic abortion’ ritual and state that the seven tenets of Satanism are her creed.
Billboards have also been erected in the pro-life state of Texas, in the cities of Houston and Dallas, claiming that “abortion save lives.” The sign states that “Pregnancy complications are the sixth most common cause of death among women between the ages of 20 and 34;” no citation is given for this claim. [For the sake of accuracy, America’s Centre for Disease control states that in 2016 and 2017, pregnancy complications accounted for 1.6% of deaths in women aged from 20 to 44 years, making it the 9th most common cause of death in that age-group.]
The Satanic Temple plans to erect similar billboards in all states that have enacted the RFRA, twenty-one so far, and wants the signs placed near pregnancy crisis centres, which it believes attempt to lure in unsuspecting women for the purposes of dissuading them from having an abortion.
While some advertising companies are obviously happy to do business with the satanists, one advertiser has refused to post the billboards and is now the target of legal action. The Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit against Lamar Advertising last September for refusing to host the pro-abortion billboards in Arkansas and Indiana. Lamar claims that it refused the contract because the billboards are “misleading and offensive”. This case is ongoing and it is to be hoped that the Satanic Temple fares no better than it has in its other abortion-related lawsuits.
Jordan Lorence, of the Christian human rights legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, believes that these lawsuits will continue to fail. He thinks that the legal challenges presented so far by the Satanic Temple are frivolous and are too weak when it comes to proving that pro-life laws exert substantial burdens on religious belief.
“It is difficult to take the pro-abortion advocacy of The Satanic Temple seriously because of its long history of disdaining religious believers with sloppily conceived, publicity-seeking campaigns and lawsuits meant to disrupt and diminish religious liberty protections for all … Perverting constitutional and statutory freedoms because of policy disagreements is wrongheaded, short-sighted, and disrespectful to fellow citizens.”
The Satanic Temple’s mantra of “Thyself is thy master” illumines the ideology at the root of the group’s legal challenges. Far from attempting to achieve justice for its members, the Satanic Temple is in reality simply trying to use the law to achieve total selfishness, at the same time pushing ambivalent women towards abortion when state-mandated protocols could help them avoid killing their children. On the supernatural level, by reciting the Satanic abortion ritual, unsuspecting women are adding to their already grievous sin of abortion, the very worst crime of all, that of idolatry. It is indeed a sign of the times when a woman could be so desperate to have her child killed that she would invoke Satan in order to speed up the process.