Idaho's Abortion Debate and the New Satanists
The Roe v. Wade protest at Idaho's Capitol Building was shocking in its vulgarity and ugliness (see below for Action Idaho photos). What is happening?
The short answer: advocates are no longer pro-choice; they are pro-abortion.
The Satanic Temple, a nationwide pro-abortion group, is a key player in Idaho’s pro-abortion movement. Their spirit, it seems, makes the abortion debate more intense, confrontational, and disgusting.
Earlier in the month, members of The Satanic Temple competed with Christians for space at the national day of prayer at Idaho’s Capitol building. At one point, they surrounded the Attorney General’s Office. They have also been seeking to influence Coeur d’Alene’s Arts Commission to produce more Satanic art.
Traditionally, Satanists invert the Christian moral universe. They believe that evil will triumph over good and that the triumph of evil over good is itself good. As the witches in MacBeth say, “Fair is Foul, Foul is Fair.” While Christians condemn murder or stealing, Satanists celebrate such “foul” practices as something “fair.” They often dress in black to show that they embrace the dark side. Satanic rituals often involve animal sacrifices and orgies—both anathema to Christian ethics.
The Satanic Temple (TST) puts abortion at the center of its belief system. Generally, these Satanists claim to favor compassion, to act in accord with reason, and to follow science. But they also celebrate abortion values. “Our bodies are inviolable,” as one of their seven tenets read, “subject to one’s own will alone.” Another tenet reads: “The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend.”
These bland statements understate The Satanic Temple’s embrace of abortion. Abortion has become a ritual, a sacrament, and something sacred to members of The Satanic Temple.
Rebranding abortion as a sacrament as opposed to a choice is central to the Satanic Temple's legal strategy and public relations efforts. As the Supreme Court may be readying to overturn Roe v. Wade, The Satanic Temple is seeking to preserve abortion as a sacrament of its religious order. Its members have a “Religious Abortion Ritual.” With abortion as one of their religious rituals, they claim that the U.S. Constitution protects their newly-minted religious freedom to have an abortion. The Satanic Temple is seeking religious exemptions from abortion laws in Texas and in other states and under the national Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
This is not a pro-choice organization. It is a pro-abortion organization that integrates abortion into its understanding of what it means to be a good Satanic woman. If abortion is a sacred act or a religious ritual among The Satanic Temple's believers, then the more abortions, the more sacred acts from their perspective. And obviously more sacred acts is better than fewer sacred acts. So the more abortion rituals the better. As they write, “The Satanic abortion ritual provides spiritual comfort and affirms bodily autonomy, self-worth, and freedom from coercive forces with the affirmation of TST's Seven Tenets. The ritual . . . sanctifies the abortion process by instilling confidence and protecting bodily rights when undergoing the safe and scientific procedure.” Just as Christians practice baptism or Muslims pray five times a day, members of The Satanic Temple would participate in abortion rituals. Thus the importance of the hangers in their public presentation. They will perform abortions, whether safe or legal.
The ugliness is part of the point for these Satanists. The vulgarity is part of the point. This Satanic Temple is not about securing the right to choose. It knows that it can justify abortion only by inverting the moral order, by getting people to call what is fair foul and what is foul fair and by making ugliness beautiful. What was on display at Idaho's Capitol on Saturday was immensely clarifying.