"One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone."
December 4, 2016 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Satanic Temple Says Texas's New Rules on Fetal Burial Violate Their Religious Freedom
In December, Texas will impose new rules requiring all fetal remains to be buried or cremated, a sneaky way to impede abortion access and make patients feel just a little worse, all at the same time. The Satanic Temple, the nation’s best and foremost trolls, declared today that under federal religious freedom laws, their members must be granted immunity from the new rules.
posted by XtinaS (103 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
laciretsynope
posted by Zerowensboring at 8:33 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


\m/ \m/
posted by SansPoint at 8:34 PM on December 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


God bless the Satanists, indeed!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:37 PM on December 4, 2016 [31 favorites]


I'd say anyone who legislates fetal burial is the real satanist.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 PM on December 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


The Satanists are really doing God's work here.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:42 PM on December 4, 2016 [127 favorites]


So to get this exception, people will have to say (on the record) they're a satanist? Not helping.
posted by ctmf at 8:42 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about converting to Satanism is having to change your name to something like Mycroft d'Arkness. Otherwise I'd say all aboard.
posted by um at 8:47 PM on December 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


What I love most about this is that they're attacking TWO bullshit laws with this. Most talk I've seen is about disposal of aborted fetuses, but they're also taking down the "religious exemption" junk that Christians use to get out of issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. And they can go to that religious exemption well again and again for any number of issues until the silliness of those laws are fully exposed.
posted by LionIndex at 8:49 PM on December 4, 2016 [86 favorites]


I think once the precedent is established with one religion, you could claim any religion that does not view a fetus as a person. It would not be re-litigated for every possible religion. Or the law itself would be entirely struck down as unconstitutional.
posted by RobotHero at 8:49 PM on December 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


Unless I'm misunderstanding something?
posted by RobotHero at 8:53 PM on December 4, 2016


HAIL SATAN!

HAIL SATAN!

Tonight!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:55 PM on December 4, 2016 [18 favorites]


What gets me about the fetal remains bills (besides the sheer brazenness of it) is how it is obviously impossible if you know anything about abortions or menstruation or even paid attention when someone else described the size of their fetus by comparing them to a vegetable. Most abortions happen when the fetus is less than half an inch long. Women have to deal with random clumps of blood and skin tissue that size or larger during their periods all the time. How do you even tell?

So yes, good for them, Satanists. I hope it works.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:56 PM on December 4, 2016 [35 favorites]


And they can go to that religious exemption well again and again for any number of issues until the silliness of those laws are fully exposed.

This is like saying once America realizes that you can foolishly shoot yourself with a gun it will welcome gun control.
posted by srboisvert at 8:57 PM on December 4, 2016 [18 favorites]


I know a couple santanists, and this is just part of their political action. It is smart, calculated and they are general good people.(albeit weird, and attracting young teenage folk who will flutter about because it's contrary, find out they do normal stuff and wonder away which happens WAY OFTEN.)

I cheer them on because they purposely stand out, declare themselves against legislative morality, and advocate treating people with respect. All things I can agree with.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:00 PM on December 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


I really hope they're having a brainstorming session to see how many laws they can challenge with the religious exemption on these same basic grounds. Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients?

This is like saying once America realizes that you can foolishly shoot yourself with a gun it will welcome gun control.

How so? They either get a religious exemption for whatever they bring a challenge for, or the religious exemption laws are repealed to disallow the exemptions for them. It's basically a win-win. I don't get your analogy at all - they're not hurting themselves.
posted by LionIndex at 9:01 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


So Satanists are the good guys? 2016 really is weird.
posted by AFABulous at 9:04 PM on December 4, 2016 [15 favorites]


I think once the precedent is established with one religion, you could claim any religion that does not view a fetus as a person. It would not be re-litigated for every possible religion. Or the law itself would be entirely struck down as unconstitutional.

Yep, once the Satanists get an exception, nothing is stopping the Church of the Spaghetti Monster or anyone else from saying "hey, us too!"
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:10 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Church of the Spaghetti Monster

Hollowed be His holy Macaroni. Praise Cheese!
posted by spacewrench at 9:16 PM on December 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


The 11 satanic rules of earth as copied from Wikipedia.

1.Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.

2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.

3. When in another’s lair, show them respect or else do not go there.
R. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out to be relieved.
7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
9. Do not harm little children.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them.

I certainly don't agree with all of their tenants, but there is a lot much most people can agree with.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:17 PM on December 4, 2016 [39 favorites]


Yep, once the Satanists get an exception, nothing is stopping the Church of the Spaghetti Monster or anyone else from saying "hey, us too!"

In terms of sheer numbers, the biggest religious group that doesn't believe in fetal personhood is liberal Christians.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2016 [32 favorites]


Just as a reminder: there are people on this site who practice Paganism and even Satanism. It can get much grief and misunderstanding.

And it was not created to be a parody of religions like The Church of the Flying Speggetti monster.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


to get this exception, people will have to say (on the record) they're a satanist? Not helping.

Better than nothing? Better than whining on a message board?

In terms of sheer numbers, the biggest religious group that doesn't believe in fetal personhood is liberal Christians.

Not sure if scripture supports you there (honestly I don't) ... but Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, and Hindus seem like they could get on board pretty easily.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:29 PM on December 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Definitely referring to my house as my lair from now on.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:32 PM on December 4, 2016 [20 favorites]


I think people who are actual members of the Church of Satan don't mind a bit of ribbing and twisting of things.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ah--quick note, the Satanic Temple isn't the same thing as the Church of Satan, any more than Lutherans are the same as Baptists. They both come from LaVey Satanism, but there are some pretty key doctrinal differences, and this particular lawsuit is being pushed very definitively by the Satanic Temple. Their seven tenets (not 11) are a bit different from the Church of Satan tenets AlexiaSky lists above:

1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
4. 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.
5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
6. 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.
7. 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 Satanic Temple has made something of a habit of cheerfully insisting that religious exemptions ought to apply just as strongly to their own adherents as to any Christian evangelical, and that their members ought to be given the same religious freedoms as anyone else. They're currently pursuing a case on behalf of a Missouri woman arguing that restrictions she had to face before her abortion violate her sincerely held belief in tenet 3. They've also argued that corporal punishment in schools violates tenet 3 and that their children/any children claiming Satanist affiliation should be exempted from corporal punishment. Recently they have begun to cheerfully insist that if Christian evangelicals are allowed to hold Good News Clubs in public elementary schools designed to convert children, they ought to be allowed to run After School Satan clubs designed to help children learn about the world as viewed through the seven tenets (although the club syllabi are really more "hey, cool science" than anything else).

My whole household officially joined the Satanic Temple a few months ago--me, partner, and roommate--on the encouragement of my partner, who has considered themself a Satanist for about six years. I have had zero regrets about this, because I really love the philosophy underlying the Temple's various causes. This is the first atheistic religion I've encountered that really promotes activism and going out to do things for one's fellow humans, especially and in particular activism that goes beyond "hey, don't force me to say God!" They are generally exactly as dickish as the particular Christians whose nose they're tweaking, and no further. I love them wholeheartedly, and am currently watching my partner make a Baphomet tree topper for the tree at the moment with great delight.
posted by sciatrix at 9:38 PM on December 4, 2016 [232 favorites]


"Praise Jibbers!"
posted by Windopaene at 9:41 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously. It's a strange world where I repeatedly give thanks to Satanists for the good work they do in the world.

But here we go again. Thanks, Satanists, from the bottom of my heart.
posted by greermahoney at 9:42 PM on December 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


9. Do not harm little children.

what about the medium sized ones?
posted by philip-random at 9:43 PM on December 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


Wait a sec are you telling me there is corporal punishment in schools in some part of the USA still???
posted by Joe Chip at 9:45 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Satanic Temple Minneapolis Chapter is pretty cool. You may remember their statement of support for local Muslims after the Paris attacks. Last year they had a Socks For Satan drive ("because winter is cold as hell"). They've also recently starting doing an annual bake sale fundraiser with proceeds going to “combat fundamentalist legislation by supporting reproductive rights campaigns and [its] LGBT friends and family in [the] battle for separation of church and state.”
Although TST members do not worship the devil, they do claim status as a religious group and have a defined mission. As noted on its site, “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.”

The Satanic Temple is often at the forefront of First Amendment, civil rights, and anti-child abuse issues, using a combination of savvy public relations, humor,.and lawsuits.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:49 PM on December 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


R. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.

guys i think i may be a satanist
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:52 PM on December 4, 2016 [28 favorites]


Re: corporal punishment: Yes, and wikipedia has a map, it's mostly in the South.

However, an awful lot of school districts forbid corporal punishment in their districts and it's really not very widely practiced in states where it's permitted. (And it's a fast train to lawsuitville.) Like, for example, it wasn't outlawed in Illinois until 1994 and I served on a school board and met people involved in schools from all over the state, and only met one single person who was subjected to corporal punishment after 1980. Most people -- and these were school officials -- couldn't believe it hadn't been outlawed until 1994 because it had been taboo for so much longer before that. In a lot of states where it's still legal, if you look for cases of corporal punishment, it turns out to be small private schools (often, but not always, fundamentalist religious schools) and/or unlicensed troubled-kid "outward bound" type programs with no actual teachers or shrinks on staff. So it's not quite so dire as the map appears. (I mean it still needs to be outlawed and those small private programs are often where the most horrifying things happen and why regulations are MOST needed, but don't look at the map and faint, it's not quite that widespread.)

The Satanic Temple is truly excellent at choosing its tactics to be both unusually effective (especially for their small size) and honestly amusing. They're always brightening my day.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [24 favorites]


I think that the new administration will have no problem in denying immunity to the satanists because they aren't a "real" religion - and getting away with it. We are in for some hard times.
posted by charlesminus at 10:19 PM on December 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Satanic Temple does seem to be trolls of the old and vaunted order.
posted by wotsac at 10:22 PM on December 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't know if it's been posted before but a little town in Alaska has found itself at the pointy end of this debate in a pretty amusing way. This is the first article, (top comment "I heard if you listen to it backwards you can balance the budget") and this is where they're at now. Hijinks, vetos, ordinances and the ACLU have all ensued with no end in sight.

I've been following it via Facebook because a friend of a friend lives there and is gleefully documenting the whole debacle.
posted by fshgrl at 10:40 PM on December 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think Trump will just declare Christianity the state religion.
posted by fullerine at 12:27 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


>>Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.

Does anybody know what the mating signal is?
posted by b33j at 12:55 AM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


I so seldom say this sincerely, but bless their hearts.
posted by she's not there at 12:57 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Sciatrix.

I've considered joining - and I think the only thing holding me back is laziness and a general wariness of joining any group. I might do it when I get back to the states.

In my social circles, which aren't particularly religious, when people hear "Satanist" they think of try-hard teenaged boys who want to be shocking. So there might be a little bit of embarassment at the name, too. But so far most of what I have heard about the Temple of Satan either make me cheer or break out into a grin. They've taken up the mantle of "the opposition" in a serious way, although with good humor.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:58 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Most abortions happen when the fetus is less than half an inch long. Women have to deal with random clumps of blood and skin tissue that size or larger during their periods all the time. How do you even tell?

The Texas rule gets around that by giving an exemption for abortions or miscarriages that happen at home.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:00 AM on December 5, 2016


The Texas rule gets around that by giving an exemption for abortions or miscarriages that happen at home.

Great idea, discourage people from going to an actual medical provider and encourage them to DIY it at home instead. That's not going to cause problems. /s
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 2:15 AM on December 5, 2016 [34 favorites]


The worst thing about converting to Satanism is having to change your name to something like Mycroft d'Arkness. Otherwise I'd say all aboard.

that would pretty much be the best part ALL ABOARD
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:16 AM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


discourage people from going to an actual medical provider and encourage them to DIY it at home instead

This is part of an effort to do just that. Women suffering and dying is pretty explicitly part of the Texas plan, because if they were good people they wouldn't be having sex or would have been smart enough to be born rich and able to jet off for a safe abortion elsewhere.
posted by Candleman at 2:37 AM on December 5, 2016 [15 favorites]


Talking about “Satanism” is more or less meaningless, as the term is a provocation and a smokescreen. The Satanic Temple (a group founded within the last decade) are essentially liberal-humanist pranksters, whereas the Church of Satan (LaVey's group, founded in the 60s) were/are Objectivist/alt-right types.
posted by acb at 2:52 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


So Satanists are the good guys? 2016 really is weird.

Yes, they've always been the good guys. Like others commented above, Satanism is a rationalist, atheistic, human spit in the eye of religious hypocrisy. With a bit of wacky ritual and fun thrown in.
posted by Laotic at 3:06 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, they've always been the good guys.

With the proviso that a belief system based on the villain of mainstream belief systems and the idea that “evil” is in many cases actually freedom and good does have an unfortunate tendency to attract psychopaths.

This doesn't seem to be the case with the Satanic Temple (who seem to be firmly part of a liberal protest movement, with Satanism as an angle against the Christian theocratic tendency in America), but in “Satanism” in general, you do get these types.
posted by acb at 3:14 AM on December 5, 2016


I seem to recall that Romans didn't really see children as human until they'd been around a few months? That's why we get lots of child remains from that era in sewers? Also then there's burial next to roads, sky burial, river burial, etc etc etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that religious exemptions that impact public health are a really bad idea.
posted by Leon at 3:17 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall that Romans didn't really see children as human until they'd been around a few months

Not just the Romans; in mediaeval Europe, they didn't baptise children (or bestow names upon them) until they had survived long enough to be likely to stick around. The idea that once you're born you're likely to live for a nontrivial time is a fairly recent one.
posted by acb at 3:30 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also then there's burial next to roads, sky burial, river burial, etc etc etc.
I guess what I'm saying is that religious exemptions that impact public health are a really bad idea.


It is worth pointing out that Sky Burial as practiced by Zoroastrians was doing absolutely fine until a massive decline in the vulture population caused by medicating livestock. And part of the point of that article is how the followers of the faith are doing their best to adapt to the changed circumstances and not compromise public health.

I seem to recall that Romans didn't really see children as human until they'd been around a few months?
There is a letter from a Roman husband to his wife, as he was going to be away for the birth of their child, basically saying if it's a boy look after it, if it's a girl, kill it.

Not just the Romans; in mediaeval Europe, they didn't baptise children (or bestow names upon them) until they had survived long enough to be likely to stick around.
Quite the opposite! Unbaptised babies went to hell; there are provisions from the earliest mentions that anyone can baptise a baby in an emergency if it looks like it isn't going to survive - even women could performemergency baptisms. If a baby looked healthy then there could well be a delay for various reasons. But a baby who was felt unlikely to survive was more, not less, likely to be baptised.
posted by Vortisaur at 3:47 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Vortisaur, did those provisions make it into the modern era, and were those baptisms recorded in parish records? I ask 'cos I've trawled a lot of parish records over the years and I don't think I've ever come across one that mentioned that.
posted by Leon at 3:53 AM on December 5, 2016


Yes, they've always been the good guys. Like others commented above, Satanism is a rationalist, atheistic, human spit in the eye of religious hypocrisy. With a bit of wacky ritual and fun thrown in.

LaVeyan Satanism, minus the occult trappings, is self-admittedly Objectivism, about which there is nothing good.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:02 AM on December 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


The Satanic Temple seem not to have taken on quite a few of LaVey's ideas, though. Everything I read about them makes them seem much more sensible than the Church of Satanism, sharing only a certain tiresome dedication to pomp and the ideal of Free Speech (TM) above all else.
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Leon - I don't know, though if I was going to guess I'd suspect that it was something that went out at the Reformation?
posted by Vortisaur at 4:22 AM on December 5, 2016


I love these folks, but declaring oneself a Satanist in Texas is likely to make you a target for violence. People believe in the Devil and they have guns.
posted by emjaybee at 4:26 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also infanticide/abandonment is going to go up the more abortion restrictions are allowed. Desperate people do desperate things.
posted by emjaybee at 4:32 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love these folks, but declaring oneself a Satanist in Texas is likely to make you a target for violence. People believe in the Devil and they have guns.
posted by emjaybee at 4:26 AM on December 5 [+] [!]


Yeah it would be great if there was a Christian denomination willing to stand up this way

Buuuuuut
posted by schadenfrau at 4:33 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


[One deleted. If you've joined the site to participate in discussions in good faith, fine: go ahead and make your point – but please don't drop terse "harumph"-type comments and expect people to read your mind about your objections.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:34 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


But white people making themselves a target for hate is a great way of shedding privilege and sharing the heat with Muslims, immigrants, people of color, and other groups under attack.
posted by rikschell at 4:47 AM on December 5, 2016 [18 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

Twerking?
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:49 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Satanic Temple is down the street from my house here in Salem, MA. Recently, Salem City Councilors have been discussing establishing the city as a Sanctuary City, which basically means little to no local help for Feds looking to round up immigrants.

I'm friends with a few of the councilors and they've shared a smattering of the angry emails they've received about the Sanctuary City proposal and an (un)surprising percentage of them take a HARD PIVOT in the middle of complaining about terrists and jerbs to harp on the Satanic Temple. That place knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to trolling local and state governments.

For all the news reporting it gets, the Temple has a surprisingly small footprint here in town. They have their converted funeral home with the Baphomet statue in a shed outback, a little art gallery, and that about it. While I've noticed a few more black clad folks walking down the street, that could be within the standard deviation for black-clad folks here in the Witch City anyways.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:29 AM on December 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

Someone has been reading Clan of the Cave Bear too many times.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:42 AM on December 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

If you live in a state that outlaws fireworks, mating signal flares will unfortunately be unavailable to you.
posted by XMLicious at 6:01 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know if my favorite part of this is that they're using the pro-discrimination Religious Freedom Restoration Act to make their case, or that "Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves" is also known as Doug.
posted by headnsouth at 6:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Not sure if scripture supports you there (honestly I don't) ... but Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, and Hindus seem like they could get on board pretty easily.

I'm pretty sure the New Testament doesn't talk about abortion. In the Old Testament (aka Torah), the only relevant bit is the law as pertains to a pregnant woman who is struck and loses the baby - and the death of a fetus is not treated the same as the death of a person.

Some Christian translations have (purposely?) mistranslated this bit, but the original is quite clear.
posted by jb at 6:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


One thing I've noticed about the religious exemption business: it seems that it only has to be my sincere, deeply-held religious belief that is being violated. As this expaliner quotes Thomas vs. Review Board, from 1981:
The [lower] court also appears to have given significant weight to the fact that another Jehovah’s Witness had no scruples about working on tank turrets …. Intrafaith differences of that kind are not uncommon among followers of a particular creed, and the judicial process is singularly ill equipped to resolve such differences …. [Protection] is not limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members of a religious sect….

[I]t is not within the judicial function and judicial competence to inquire whether the petitioner or his fellow worker more correctly perceived the commands of their common faith. Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation….

[A religious-exemption case is also] not to turn upon a judicial perception of the particular belief or practice in question; religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others ….
If I'm reading this correctly, I don't have to convert to Satanism once this happens. I could claim that my personal belief, while different from anyone else in my faith, is adequate for an exemption. Cafeteria Catholics* rejoice!
posted by MrGuilt at 6:05 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vortisaur, did those provisions make it into the modern era, and were those baptisms recorded in parish records?

I was taught (raised Catholic) that in a case of necessity any person with the right intention, confers baptism licitly. Case of necessity meaning risk of death. The risk could be health related (an infant unlikely to survive long) or an external threat (a soldier headed off to battle). I'm unsure how those are recorded, but the baptisms are considered legitimate, you don't have the priest re-baptize the person if they manage to survive (only one baptism per customer!).

I guess what I'm saying is that religious exemptions that impact public health are a really bad idea.

Yeah, but basing public health policy on religion is also a bad idea. It's not a law that's addressing a real health risk: fetal remains were already safely disposed with other medical waste by clinics, and the law exempts abortions/miscarriages occurring at home (which it wouldn't if the real motivation was public health). It is a law that will have a negative impact on public health (unnecessarily increasing costs of a medical procedure, encouraging women to DIY at home). When the system is stacked against reason, you use whatever method you can to fight it.
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:08 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Definitely referring to my house as my lair from now on.

Definitely referring to my house office as my lair from now on.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:11 AM on December 5, 2016


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

"Yes."
posted by kyrademon at 6:11 AM on December 5, 2016 [41 favorites]


psst, I live in Texas. I'm less afraid of publicly donning a mantle of Satanism via the Temple than I am the consequences of letting these state laws go unchallenged--and that includes the possibility of neighbors with guns.

Re these challenges being laughed out of the courts because "that religion isn't real" or because Trump will declare Christianity the national religion, it is worth noting that protections for religious freedom are baked very, very deeply into American law, starting with the Constitution and moving deeper into vast reams of legal precedent. Making a move like that to turn the US into an explicitly Christian theocracy would be effectively abandoning the legal infrastructure of the US and overwriting not only documents like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence but also the very first article of the Bill of Rights. I'm not saying that a Trump or Pence administration wouldn't consider it, but I am saying that I think it might be enough to provoke either civil war or foreign intervention with broad support from large swathes of the US.

In addition, the definition of religion in US law and precedent is very deliberately broad and includes atheistic religions, such as some forms of Buddhism. The main yardstick held is generally not whether the doctrine is recognized as "real enough" but rather whether the religious person sincerely holds those religious beliefs. This is the exact language and reasoning used in religious exemption laws recently imposed with fundamentalist Christians in mind.

If we're going to argue that sincerely held religious beliefs can trump legal institutions and professional requirements, then let's be sure that that law applies to everyone.
posted by sciatrix at 6:13 AM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


Although TST members do not worship the devil, they do claim status as a religious group and have a defined mission. As noted on its site, “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.”
So if I am understand this, they say right up front that they are not a worship-based group, but more of a philosophical group...and yet the people they challenge aren't willing to engage with them beyond just their name in order to find out even that simple fact?

I LOVE IT! GO, TEMPLE OF SATAN!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:15 AM on December 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Oh, also, the other thing about Lucien Greaves' name, as my partner explained it to me: yeah, Doug is his legal name, and that's fine. He prefers Lucien most of the time, and that's also fine. The Temple is firmly pro respecting the names that people choose to go by, regardless of the name they were given at birth.

My partner is nonbinary and goes by a name that bears zero resemblance to their legal given name, and we haven't gotten around to getting a legal name change yet. (They've used their name as it is for about ten years now; when someone addresses them by their legal name, I still blink and have to recalibrate, and we've been together for five years. We were going to get it legally changed for free when they went up for US citizenship next year, but under the current political climate they are no longer sure they want to pursue that.) Their name isn't as obviously odd as Lucien's, but it's also not at all a common first name.

For obvious reasons, they find the Temple's stated policies about names and addresses being whatever people choose to go by welcoming.
posted by sciatrix at 6:31 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


>Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

$20, same as in town
posted by ostranenie at 6:36 AM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

It's actually the "matey signal," and it consists of squinting at your partner and saying "Yar, shiver me timbers?" A positive response is generally something like "Aye, matey."
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:39 AM on December 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


The mating signal while unquestionably odd wording refers to consent.
That's is an important thing.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:45 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the New Testament doesn't talk about abortion. In the Old Testament (aka Torah), the only relevant bit is the law as pertains to a pregnant woman who is struck and loses the baby - and the death of a fetus is not treated the same as the death of a person.

Some Christian translations have (purposely?) mistranslated this bit, but the original is quite clear.


There was an FPP a few years ago that talked about the history of Christian positions on birth control and abortion, and it mentioned that the current Catholic position is quite new. IIRC, it also mentioned the Puritans had birth control, and they didn't believe in the morality of anything fun.

I did a search and couldn't find it, but maybe someone else would have better luck.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:47 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just made a donation to the ST, although I thought I had been figuratively doing that all along by skateboarding and listening to Sabbath. I'd join but as an atheist I have to at least make an attempt to be consistent.
posted by photoslob at 6:53 AM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


sciatrix: "Making a move like that to turn the US into an explicitly Christian theocracy would be effectively abandoning the legal infrastructure of the US and overwriting not only documents like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence but also the very first article of the Bill of Rights."

Yeah, in practice I don't think you'll see a sweeping pronouncement of a state religion, but you'll see a lot of piecemeal laws like the one in question.
posted by RobotHero at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2016


> In terms of sheer numbers, the biggest religious group that doesn't believe in fetal personhood is liberal Christians.

So they'd probably be even more effective at publicizing and challenging these sorts of laws than the Satanic Temple is.

It sure would be neat to see them try sometime.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2016 [22 favorites]


If you're talking Bible/abortion, there's also this interesting passage that sounds awfully like God mandating an abortion:

Numbers 5:11-31New International Version (NIV)
11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial[c] offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

posted by emjaybee at 6:56 AM on December 5, 2016 [20 favorites]


"the bitter water that brings a curse" sounds like an outstanding name for a MeFi sock
posted by ostranenie at 7:04 AM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


I have three black cats, one of which is named Damon*, am I automatically a member?

*No idea why, he was named that when I got him at the rescue.
posted by AFABulous at 7:05 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


You should really just call him Catt Damon.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:34 AM on December 5, 2016 [57 favorites]


What gets me about the fetal remains bills (besides the sheer brazenness of it) is how it is obviously impossible if you know anything about abortions or menstruation

I wish I could find the original source of this, but someone in my circle of friends posted about this over the weekend, to the effect of "Something like 70% of all pregnancies spontaneously terminate as missed pregnancies, where if you took a pregnancy at EXACTLY the right moment you'd get a positive result back, but the embryo never implants and it just looks and feels like a normal period. If you're a women who lives in Texas, you're probably violating the new law without realizing it, and the penalties are severe. So, to be completely safe under the terms of the new law, we should start mailing all used tampons and pads to Congressman X, at his home address of 123 First Street, so he can verify for us whether we need to commission burial services."
posted by Mayor West at 7:41 AM on December 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


There was an FPP a few years ago that talked about the history of Christian positions on birth control and abortion, and it mentioned that the current Catholic position is quite new. IIRC, it also mentioned the Puritans had birth control, and they didn't believe in the morality of anything fun.

I don't remember that FPP (and would be interested in a link if anyone can find it!) but there is a decent wikipedia page on the history of Catholic thought and abortion.

The section of the Torah that refers to abortion is Exodus 21:22–25. A man inadvertently strikes a pregnant woman and as a result, she tragically miscarries. The Torah says that the loss of the fetus is not homicide, but if the woman dies, her death would be considered murder. Abortion has been debated pretty thoroughly in Judaism for centuries, and historically-speaking, Jewish law never considered abortion homicide, because Judaism does not assign full human status to a baby until it is born.

Christians don't follow the Mishnah. But in religious Judaism, the Torah is not our only source material. There are a number of rabbinical decisions and rulings documented in the Mishnah that support the idea that a fetus is not a person, including several which say that the the life of the mother must be protected over that of her fetus, which is not a nephesh, or individual living being. Those rulings even cover situations where a baby is presenting breech -- they say that if the fetus must be destroyed in the womb to save its mother during childbirth, that is not murder.

Fast forward to modern times. When American Jews (religious and non) have been polled about abortion, strong majorities (average 85+%) have said they are pro-choice. I suspect many of us probably view the abortion debate's importance as deciding women should have the right to control their own bodies, rather than whether or not a fetus is a person.

Science agrees. Medically speaking, a fetus is not a person. To a large majority of Jews, it is not. To many Christians it isn't either. And yet, a group of politicians in Texas (and other states) seem bound and determined to turn religious oppression into law by imposing their own specific Christian-sect beliefs on everyone. While obfuscating the truth about what they're doing by proclaiming their devotion to religious freedom.
posted by zarq at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


emjaybee, that's an interesting passage in Numbers. I wasn't familiar with it. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by zarq at 8:09 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't remember that FPP (and would be interested in a link if anyone can find it!)

"In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception."

Also, I was wrong - it wasn't that the Puritans had birth control, it was that they were okay with abortions before 'quickening', was generally understood to be around 13 - 16 weeks (or when you can feel the fetus move)
posted by dinty_moore at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


And yes, I was misremembered it being about Catholic views on abortion, not Evangelical. Though for Texas, the Evangelical view might be even more pertinent.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:18 AM on December 5, 2016


This place does fantastic work.
posted by odinsdream at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


side note concerning Anton LeVay's Church of Satan --

according to the wiki, 2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. But not a whisper was heard. And yeah, I'm with acb -- my impression of Mr. LaVey's crowd being "... Objectivist/alt-right types." Probably not much fun at all.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2016


I'd love to see Trump and Pence try to declare some off-brand evangelism as the state religion just to see what Paul Ryan's head explode. Because if there's one thing Catholics really despise its evangelicals. The real religious war wouldn't be between atheists and "Christians" it'd be internecine like all good civil wars.
posted by fshgrl at 9:39 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


zarq,

When you say, "Science agrees. Medically speaking, a fetus is not a person," what do you have in mind? (I would ask you by mefi mail to avoid any potential derail here, but you have yours disabled.) I didn't know that there was a medical definition of "person," and a little googling has not led me to one. In philosophy, at least, what counts as a person is hotly contested. And many accounts would classify sufficiently-developed fetuses as persons. Moreover, there is no account I know of that would put a fetus at 3 hours before birth and a baby at 3 hours after birth into different categories with respect to personhood.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:47 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vortisaur, did those provisions make it into the modern era, and were those baptisms recorded in parish records?

I'm glad you asked! We have American Orthodox friends who invited us to their way-preemie son's chrismation ceremony, which confused the hell out of even the priests. Normally for an infant the baptism and chrismation are part of the same process, and (at least in their denomination), the chrismation alone for an infant is a seldom-performed procedure. But, when you have to perform an emergency baptism on your one-pound baby, you're not too worried about confusing the priest later.

Great food at the reception.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


What gets me about the fetal remains bills (besides the sheer brazenness of it) is how it is obviously impossible if you know anything about abortions or menstruation

The article linked in the FPP says clearly that the regulation does not apply to miscarriages or abortions that occur "at home" which presumably actually means "outside of a medical facility."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:43 AM on December 5, 2016


The article linked in the FPP says clearly that the regulation does not apply to miscarriages or abortions that occur "at home" which presumably actually means "outside of a medical facility."

I'm aware of that, but that exception makes the logic of requiring a funeral for some fetal remains but not others make less sense, not more. That's what I meant by how brazen it is - it only makes sense if you are trying to make it more difficult to have a safe abortion - the fetus isn't actually important and unsafe ones at home are apparently okay.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:49 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


And even then, you're giving a funeral for something that's about the size of a kidney bean, and a bunch of excess blood and tissue surrounding it. Do they have to find it an clean it off, first?
posted by dinty_moore at 10:54 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I also suspect that after some time has passed and the requirement has normalized, they'll "close the loophole" regarding fetal remains from home miscarriages/abortions.
posted by ghost phoneme at 11:17 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

"Yes."
posted by kyrademon


. . . yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:50 PM on December 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


R. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat them cruelly and without mercy.

guys i think i may be a satanist


I think my cats may be satanists.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


My cats are definitely Satanists. Is there any other kind?
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:42 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Does anybody know what the mating signal is?

I just use flares.
posted by Jilder at 7:07 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mating signal.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:19 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


All power to the Satanic Temple for their work on pushing back against this draconian nonsense, and I in no way wish to trivialize it, but every time I hear about Satanism, I'm taken back to Not the Nine O'clock News. The Devil - Is he all bad?
posted by Myeral at 6:33 AM on December 7, 2016


Yes, they've always been the good guys.

Satan was the original Good Guy.
Lucifer was God’s second in command until the time came where he questioned God’s sovereignty over all beings. He felt that Christ and himself should be equal because all beings are God. (source)
Who would argue against him? (I guess most of the world.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


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