I saw in the news this morning that the Satanist Temple, inspired by the recent religious-liberty Hobby Lobby ruling, is formulating a case against the Right-to-Know laws that abortion-seeking women labor under in no less than 35 US States. For those not aware of these legislations, right-to-know laws essentially mandate that before a woman can obtain an abortion, she has to sit through an interview with a doctor. However, this doctor is not just there to describe to her what will happen to her body or any realistic health risks associated with abortion . They are also there to guilt trip her into not having one.
Think that's not true? Check out the State of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals website, which talks less about actually informing women about their decision options, and more about badgering them into baby-making with pregnancy support resources and adoption agencies.
The Satanist Temple are claiming that forcing their female members who want abortions to sit through these interviews is against their beliefs as a church. They believe not only that what happens to a body is the business of the owner of that body alone, but that the misleading information presented during these interviews (like the alleged claim that abortions increase your risk of breast cancer) is also against their religion, which mandates that they believe the truth of science and proven fact.
This interested me enough to visit their website, where I became firmly convinced that the ideals of this organization are what America needs. Read their Seven Tenets below:
One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
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 your own.
Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
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.
How did this benign belief system come to be called Satanism? Is it because of the emphasis on personal will, or the grounding in hard facts? Actually, it's both, and also partially timing as well. According to their website, one of their seminal texts was published in the early 20th century, and the metaphor was a little too advanced for the stuffed shirts of the time.
"Ultimately a meditation on the corruption of power, Anatole France’s Revolt of the Angels (1914) utilizes the theological metaphor of Satan as a force favoring free inquiry, the War in Heaven a metaphysical battle against universal tyranny."
And another illuminating quote:
"To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse."
It's not that they love Satan, like fire-breathing, fiddle-playing, throne-sitting devil of Deuteronomy Satan. They appreciate and promote everything Satan represented to the old school Church (and still arguably represents)--personal liberty, treating animals as equals (haha that's a bestiality joke kinda, sorry couldn't resist), and justice over money. Tell that to the Sunday tithe basket--I gave my money to the homeless guy up the street.
If someone ran for President with these beliefs I would vote for them. I would hope that they could actually preserve and act on them once in office. I might even sacrifice a chicken or something to make it happen....if that, like, would work.
Also, they had this hilarious "Chick Tract" inspired cartoon on their website, courtesy of an artist named Doug Mesner. Enjoy.