Satanic Temple Members Explain Their Beliefs, Consider Challenging Texas Abortion Law
One religion joins opposition to Texas’ new abortion measure, saying its members are entitled to exemption from the law as a faith-based organization.
The Satanic Temple, headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, intends to relax its own religious freedom rights by challenging the bill and asking its members to have access to abortion pills .
Faith members in Utah are preparing to defend the church’s position on abortion with a rally scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Utah Capitol, KTLA’s sister station, KTVX, in Salt Lake reported. City.
While the temple images may shock some, Satanists in Utah say they are not bad.
“In my personal experience, the people who identified themselves as Satanists are the nicest people I have ever met and the most generous people I have ever met in my entire life,” said Cody Jones. , head of the Satanic Temple congregation in Utah. “Like any positive word you can think of, I can use it to describe Satanists I have met.”
As it stands, the Satanic Temple has only a few dozen official members in Utah, but Jones said the population are “allies,” or friends of the church who are less involved than a full-time member, numbered in the hundreds.
Satanists in Utah do not have a permanent meeting place and do not rent space for events and activities, but still do many other exercises that involve other religious groups in the state. For example, they clean a section of the road as members of the Adopt-A-Highway program, collect supplies and donations for shelters for families and victims of domestic violence, and organize a product collection program. feminine hygiene for people in need.
According to Jones and Chalice Blythe, who founded the first congregation in Utah in 2016 and now serve as the spokesperson for the church’s international headquarters, the Satanic Temple emphasizes service to the community.
Religion, which does not espouse any gods or divinity, builds its argument against the prohibition of abortion on one of its major principles: the autonomy of the body. The Satanic Temple holds seven fundamental principles, which include:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is a permanent and necessary quest which must prevail over laws and institutions.
- The body is inviolable, subject to its own will.
- The freedoms of others must be respected, including the freedom to offend. to intrude voluntarily and unjustly on the freedoms of others is to renounce one’s own.
- Beliefs must be consistent with our best scientific understanding of the world. You must be careful never to distort scientific facts to adapt them to your beliefs.
- People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any damage that may have been caused.
- Each principle is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom and justice must always prevail over the written or oral word.
While the Temple may seem like a bunch of trolls or political activists pushing an agenda, legally speaking it is a government recognized religion and members like Jones and Blythe say they are serious about their beliefs.
In 2019, the group obtained tax exempt status from the IRS and was classified as a “church or convention or association of churches.”
Some would argue that the Satanic Temple may have a valid argument for demanding the right to abortion for its members by calling it a ritual based on its principles of bodily autonomy and the pursuit of scientific knowledge, reports KTLA’s sister station, KTVX. .
Temple leaders believe that while other religious beliefs can be used to enforce laws and rights, their beliefs should be valued and taken into account as well. The recent conversation on abortion has put the religious freedom debate in the spotlight, with the beliefs and legal status of the Satanic Temple becoming an intriguing argument.
“What we are really doing is trying to assert ourselves in the rights that are granted to us,” Blythe said.
Living in Utah as a Satanist can be a challenge, according to Blythe and Jones.
Jones said he grew up with a Mormon education, and while Blythe says she was never baptized in the faith, she must have lived a predominantly “Mormon” life as she grew up. And while Satanists do not believe in a literal Satan, holding the Prince of Darkness as a symbol of freedom of choice and resistance to arbitrary authority, showing themselves to family and friends as a believer in the principle of Temple had some grief associated with it. .
“Speaking out as a Satanist is potentially losing friends, family and entire communities,” Blythe said. “This is something that you have to face, and it is something that we have seen as we come to terms with this unfortunate thing.”
However, Satanists say they have found a sense of community, understanding, and empathy by being together and holding onto their beliefs. Temple members frequently invite people of different faiths to their meetings to educate about their beliefs.
And although they are few in number, Satanists in Utah see themselves as an extremely tight-knit group, Blythe says.
“If you are a TST member, you have a community that knows you and you have people around you who become your second family. “
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