The Satanists are doing god’s work
September 6, 2021
Texas has recently introduced a draconian new abortion law, one that feels not only perverse (in that it allows for civil lawsuits where anyone can sue those who are involved in providing abortion services), but also seems to be yet another attempt to test the Supreme Court’s willingness to overturn Roe v Wade (the landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion that has allowed for legal abortions in the US for many years). And, so far, it seems that the Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, is willing to court this kind of testing of the waters.
However, The Satanic Temple are doing what they can to help women in Texas who require abortion services. They have applied for a religious exemption that would allow them to purchase and distribute abortion pills to their members. It’s a weird way of going about trying to push for a change in law, but it’s far from the first time The Satanic Temple has attempted to use this kind of tactic to do good. I for one have been a big fan of their work for a while now.
The Satanic Temple has used some interesting tactics in the past to fight against religious privilege in the US. They have erected statues to baphomet (opens new window) on government property, as a way to force the hand of those who erected statues of the Ten Commandments, and they’ve also pushed for the inclusion of Satanic prayers (opens new window) to open state and city political meetings.
Other projects have included "Menstruatin' with Satan" (a menstrual product drive), "Educatin’ with Satan" (including several after school Satanist clubs (opens new window) and a Satanist colouring book (opens new window), as a way to challenge the legitimacy of Christian after school clubs), and a Pink Mass (at the grave site of Fred Phelps’ mother). And the local New Zealand Satanists (opens new window) have even joined in, running Soles for Satan (raising money to buy socks for those in need) and Blood for Satan (a blood drive).
It’s obvious that The Satanic Temple is being used by its members as a tool to fight for religious equality, ensuring that the privilege often afforded to Christianity in western countries, especially the US, is challenged wherever possible. Rather than argue for Christian privilege to be revoked, the group argues for inclusion - that their Satanist beliefs are promoted alongside those of Christian groups by government organisations. I’ve even taken a leaf out of their book in the past, and organised a counter-protest when the Jesus for NZ group were arguing on the lawn of parliament that the name of Jesus should be re-added to the parliamentary prayer. Instead of us protesting for the status quo, we carried signs arguing for the inclusion of all gods in the prayer. After all, if Jesus is able to get a mention every day in our parliament, why shouldn’t Ganesh, or Thor, or Cthulhu?
If you’re still in doubt about The Satanic Temple, here’s a copy of their seven Tenets, which I honestly find hard to fault:
I. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
II. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
III. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
IV. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.
V. 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.
VI. People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
VII. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
The last tenet I especially like, as it seems to me to be a direct challenge to the claims of major religions that their rules should be followed whatever the cost, and however much our understanding of the world may change.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Satanic Temple and what they do, there’s a great documentary on Netflix called "Hail Satan?".