Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Abortion access in Missouri is booming. Until this month, the state had only one abortion provider—a Planned Parenthood health center in St. Louis. On Monday, the organization announced that its clinic in Kansas City is now offering medication abortion. Its Columbia outpost will soon offer surgical abortions, too, and two others will likely follow ...
... Missouri’s recent stroke of good fortune in the reproductive rights realm may have to do with intervention from the fiery underworld. On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state’s abortion restrictions violate worshippers’ rights to free religious practice. The organization is challenging two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointments for their abortions. Satanic Temple members argue that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and “consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree” during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.
Read the rest here.
I had to reread the headline on this article twice before it sunk in. Gang, the Satanists are WITH US!!! Actually, that's not much of a news bulletin for anyone who's been paying attention. While some politicians have argued that freedom OF religion does not include the concept of freedom FROM religion, they can't get around the fact that the Satanists ARE a religion, albeit radically different from the fundamentalist Christianity to which they are used. Satanists are about individual rights, autonomy, and skepticism, concepts which are largely foreign to modern-day Christers, and they have used that leverage in Missouri to force state legislatures into compliance with the spirit of Roe v Wade in the courts.
This is one hell of a masterstroke from where I sit, and here's why: the Satanists LIVE in Missouri and therefore have standing. They are a for-real church, 501(c)(3) and all, and unlike the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Pink Unicorn, they are DEAD SERIOUS. They have gone head-to-head with the anti-abortionists and soundly defeated them, using a church which is as much humanist as it is Satanist. And if it can happen in Missouri, any other state where Satanists practice is fair game.
The old saw says sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Could it be that, in some cases, we need to fight religion with religion?
It sounds like they are with us, and do good.
Loren, which groups fighting for separation of church & state do you think do the most good?
Personally, I'm a member of FFRF and American Atheists. Being that I'm on a fixed income, I play my donation cards (for which you man read "dollars!") pretty close to my chest otherwise. I keep telling myself that if my finances ever come to order that I can be more generous.
That day may be coming, but it ain't today. Meantime, I still like the Foundation Beyond Belief, too.
... sometimes you have to fight fire with fire ...
It's unfortunate that religion is privileged so much in our society and legal system that it's sometimes most effective to fight religion with religion. But as long as the privilege doesn't favor one particular branch of Christianity, let's use it to our advantage while it's around!
And groups like The Satanic Temple are doing another valuable service as well: they're pushing the Overton window; they're helping broaden ideas of what a "religion" can be. Their tenets are thoroughly humanistic. Not that they're the first, but they may be harder for folks to dismiss than explicitly godless religions like Ethical Culture.