The Satanic Temple, Abortion rights & Christianity
After School Satan.
Pretty scary to associate Satanism with children, right? Yet associating education with Satanism was the last thing the Satanic Temple had in mind when they launched this project, which ambitioned to create after-school clubs for kids promoting creative thinking and ethical activities in schools. Among other things, the organisation seeks to counter the influence of popular groups such as the Good News Club, sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) and reported to have about 5,000 after-school clubs across the United States.
The Satanic Temple. You might think you know what to expect from the name itself, but if you dare to go beyond the first look you’ll take at their website, you’ll realise that appearances can be treacherous. First and foremost, there’s the symbolism:
“I think it’s sad when we live in an environment where people just don’t recognise the power of metaphor or the potential for poetry or literature to illuminate and that we must take stories as a literal fact before we draw any meaning from them at all. Jesus has spoken in parables and yet now we have these literalist Christians who can’t understand that a story might have meaning without getting literally interpreted,” founder and spokesperson of the Satanic Temple Lucien Greaves said on the phone.
“Satanism’s symbolic structure as a metaphor for the rebellion against the ultimate tyranny isn’t only something we use as a message to whatever opposition we might have … In the Judeo-Christian culture, Satanism is often a declaration of personal independence from what people feel are oppressive privileged traditional norms.”
. © Lucien Greaves, spokesperson of the Satanic Temple – National Post.
On the organisation’s website, ten tenets can be found, one of them describing a person’s body as inviolable and subject to their will alone, another one encouraging to respect the freedoms of others, which includes the freedom to offend.
April 2016. Grown-up adults are dressed as babies.
Tricked out in BDSM accessories, they are walking towards pro-life protesters. Their attitude is provocative, but their cause is legitimate. Those are members of the Satanic Temple, a political activist and religious organisation based in New York that, according to its website, “facilitates the communication and mobilisation of politically aware Satanists, secularists and advocates for individual liberty”. These scary politically aware babies, members of the organisation’s Detroit chapter, are raising attention by standing up to anti-abortion protesters in order to shed light on the inconsistency of the pro-life activists’ arguments about abortion.
“The point that the Detroit chapter was trying to make when they did that … was that it’s really the pro-life protesters that become absurd [as] they fetishise this idea that the fetus is an actual child … However effective that may be, it seemed to make people aware of our campaign in general, and that we’re fighting this fight,” Lucien Greaves explained.
A 13-year-old Mexican girl was recently denied an abortion in northern Mexico by a judge who probably thought he was being funny when he described the act that the girl had suffered as “sexual coercion” instead of looking at it for what it really was, a rape.
In early June, after Ireland found itself in the limelight with the UN questioning its remarkable lack of access to abortions and inhuman treatment of women seeking an abortion, the issue, which is unsettled despite finally being described as a human right by the UN Committee, was back on the table. The Irish Parliament recently rejected a bill which would have allowed abortions in case of advanced fetal malformation.
The situation on the other side of the Atlantic proves that the fight against abortion restrictions is not specific to Ireland or, as a matter of fact, to Europe. In his answers to questions concerning abortion, Greaves definitively demonstrates that the myth about violation of abortion rights being specific to underdeveloped countries is coming to an end.
The Satanic Temple filed two lawsuits in Missouri in opposition to the local law pushed by the Missouri Family Policy Council in 2010, which put emphasis on the informational packet delivered to women 24 hours before they were allowed to undergo an abortion. The MFPC extended the waiting-time requirement to 72 hours in 2014, an element which was brought into question by the Satanic Temple’s first state-level lawsuit in February.
This form of consent is currently used in the State’s only clinic that allows the procedure. A woman willing to get an abortion would have to enter the clinic, receive a booklet, then wait until the 72-hour requirement period is over before she can actually get the procedure done. What’s in the booklet? “[It shows] how the woman who’s having an abortion kills an individual human being”, according to Greaves.
“[The forms] need to be elevated to the level of scientific facts. We disagree with the terminology being put forward that feels that it’s necessary to chain women into not having an abortion. It’s part of a woman’s body, according to our point of view, and that material kind of invades our religious positions. She should have the procedure immediately,” Greaves said, adding that a member of the Satanic Temple itself was denied an abortion after refusing to wait for 72 hours. This member, who is also the plaintiff of the lawsuits, refused to read the booklet, claiming that the law violated both the State’s religious Freedom Act and her own religious beliefs.
The group’s second lawsuit filed in federal court, based on the law’s promotion of some but not all religious beliefs, was lost in early August. The organisation plans on taking the federal judge’s decision to appeal.
Greaves finds it regrettable that some people might take the organisation’s intentions the wrong way. “It’s certainly not that we don’t believe in the values that we’re fighting to uphold, but people who are claiming we’re doing things just for attention don’t say there would be a much easier way for us to go about this. We absolutely fight for the values we truly do believe in,” Greaves said.
“I would ask people to turn and look upon some of the other religious groups that are politically active and [the sincerity of which] we take for granted … Are these anti-abortion restrictions being pushed forward by politicians who claim themselves to be upholding the Christian faith, are those actually motivated by sincere religious beliefs and Christian tenets or is it political opportunism?”
© Website: After School Satan
Even though the Satanic Temple is a religious organisation, its members argue for secularism, in the sense that each religious voice should be spread equally, according to Greaves. Which is why, according to Greaves, it should all start with education. Already established in Los Angeles and Seattle, the After School Satan clubs are said to prevent what Greaves refers to as an establishment of religion, the act of allowing only one religion into the public school system.