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Do Abortion Rules Violate Satanists' Religious Freedom? Missouri Supreme Court to Decide

The rules' purpose is to "indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some...Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception" said appeals court.

The Satanic Temple Detroit Chapter/FacebookThe Satanic Temple Detroit Chapter/FacebookThe Supreme Court of Missouri has agreed to hear an interesting religious and reproductive liberty case. Brought by "Mary Doe," a member of the Satanic Temple, the case challenges an "informed consent" law requiring a 72-hour waiting period, an ultrasound, and support for statements like "life...begins at conception" before a woman can get an abortion.

"The case would be the first of its kind to be heard by either the Missouri Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court," notes the Kansas City Star.

Doe claims the requirements violate her right to religious freedom, as Satanists do not believe that life begins at conception. The first court to hear the case rejected Doe's constitutional claims, but an appeals court last week decided Doe's claims might have merit.

It presents "a contested matter of right that involves fair doubt and reasonable room for disagreement," the Western District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously, ordering the case be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Missouri regulations require that any woman seeking an abortion must first view an active ultrasound, wait 72 hours after an initial doctor's visit, and sign papers declaring that they have read and understand state-mandated statements that personhood begins at conception and that abortion at any stage terminates "the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

"The sole purpose of the law is to indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some, but not all, Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception," wrote the appeals court. "Because the law does not recognize or include other beliefs, [Doe] contends that it establishes an official religion and makes clear that the state disapproves of her beliefs."

Despite its provocative name, the Satanic Temple doesn't actually worship Satan. There's no ritual sacrifice or other trappings of Satanic lore. It's more of a mischievous and high-concept anti-religion, opposed to the tenets of organized Christianity and their infiltration of American laws. Its description of its mission actually sounds mighty libertarian, as well as steeped in traditional morality: to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."

"The first conception was in response to George W. Bush's creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives," one of the Satanic Temple's founders told The New York Times in 2015:

"I thought, 'There should be some kind of counter.'" He hit on the idea of starting a faith-based organization that met all the Bush administration's criteria for receiving funds, but was repugnant to them. "Imagine if a Satanic organization applied for funds," he remembered thinking. "It would sink the whole program."

Both founders consider themselves "atheistic Satanists," with no more literal belief in Satan than they do in a literal God. To them, Satanism represents "the solidarity of outsiders, those judged and excluded by the mainstream," explains the Times.

In addition to challenging religiously motivated abortion regulations, the Satanic Temple has also been active in fighting things like prayer in public schools, prayer at City Council meetings, a biblical statute on Oklahoma statehouse grounds, courthouse Nativity Scenes, and public schools distributing the Bible to their students.

Photo Credit: The Satanic Temple Detroit Chapter/Facebook

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  • colorblindkid||

    abortion at any stage terminates "the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

    I'm sorry, but that is a scientific fact. Not religious. Is the law forcing somebody to sign a statement that says that ridiculous? Absolutely. It's nonsense. Get rid of it.

    Pro-choicers really need to just admit that abortion is a necessary evil. That is a valid argument and a defensible one. Trying to convince people that fetuses aren't human is just fucking moronic and barbaric, though, and disgusts most people. No rational human being looks at a 12-week fetus with fingers, toes, and a face and thinks "oh that's just a tumorous clump of cells."

    Abortion is, at times, a necessary evil. Just stick with that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    If the zygote is a separate being then it should move out of the uterus and get a job.

  • MJBinAL||

    Probably contribute as much to society as you do.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I know right? At least a zygote has been inside a woman.

  • swampwiz||

    THIS

  • Rat on a train||

    I tried to get my kids to move out and support themselves. The State said if I do they will lock me up.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    My mom had me help her type mark manuscripts when I was in elementary school. It's never to early to start in the family business.

  • ||

    SCIENCE!

    Except for the fact that this clump of cells cannot exist as a "separate living human being" because it is 100% physically dependent on its host.

  • damikesc||

    So, the vagina provides life? Is that the new argument.

    "Until it emerges from the birth canal, it's not a life" indicates the vagina is what generates life.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I know it brings ME to life.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    "Until he enters the doorway, he's not sheltered" indicates the doorway is what provides shelter.

    God prolifers are dumb.

  • Abort Liberals||

    If it were legal for your mother to have your pea brain scrambled with an ice pick right now today, i wonder if you, or any of the other pro abortion types in this comment section, would still be pro abortion?, I think we should just take the gloves off and give women the right to legally do away with their kids up to the age of about 35, we'll see how fast Roe vs. Wade gets tossed out then. I wonder if the 5 million plus babies aborted in this Country would have thought it was alright to be murdered for nothing?, if they could be asked that is. I'm also curious to know just how many of those abortions were done to save the mothers life or because of rape or incest, probably very few if the truth was known.

  • mortiscrum||

    "If Roe v Wade allowed people to do something completely, utterly differently than what it does now, a lot more people would be opposed to it"

    That's an astute observation right there.

  • KDN||

    Well, the baby is still dependent on the mother for another few years. Accordingly she should be permitted to drown it in the stream behind her property for any reason at all.*

    *I miss Cytotoxic joining these threads to seriously make this argument.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    *I miss Cytotoxic

    My God.

  • KDN||

    Protip: I'm always Secret Hitler.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Don't be saying things you can't take back, KDN. Anyway, Cytotoxic can't come to Reason anymore because his mom put parental blocks all over his computer as soon as he turned 13.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed, a baby that's only a few days old is just as dependent on the mother or parent as they are in the womb. Not sure why we don't allow infanticide up until maybe two years old based on this reasoning.

  • Bubba Jones||

    More than that, try telling the nursery staff that you don't want to breastfeed!

    I volunteered but to no avail.

  • ||

    A mother can give away a baby that has been born, but it's pretty hard to give away a fetus.
    Medical technology isn't that good yet.
    Wait until fetus transplants become possible.

  • Rat on a train||

    Abortion legal until the 76th trimester.

  • Dan S.||

    No, breathing atmospheric oxygen is what defines a separate life. It means that, short term (up to a few hours), the baby is not totally dependent on the mother. (It is still dependent for food.) A fetus in the woman is genetically distinct ("unique"), yes, but is not a human being. It is a proto-human, something on the road to becoming a human, but not one yet. We celebrate birthdays, not conception anniversaries.

  • Dan S.||

    I meant to write "in the womb", but "in the woman" works too.

  • damikesc||

    No, breathing atmospheric oxygen is what defines a separate life.

    Fish are dead?
    Trees are dead?

    Neither breathe "atmospheric oxygen".

    People on ventilators are dead?

    This is your argument?

    A fetus in the woman is genetically distinct ("unique"), yes, but is not a human being. It is a proto-human, something on the road to becoming a human, but not one yet.

    Which, again, belies the question of WHEN it happens? How can a non-human being "breathe oxygen"? They develop this ability when they pass through the vagina?

    We're still with "vaginas provide life!"

    We celebrate birthdays, not conception anniversaries.

    Could it be because the concrete date of birth is a bit easier to nail down than the date of conception? Women has sex every single day of her fertile period of the month --- which session caused the pregnancy? Nobody could say for certain.

  • Dan S.||

    Fish and trees aren't dead, but neither are they people with unalienable rights. For humans, breathing air, rather than getting oxygen through the mother's bloodstream, is what makes for the start of actual personhood. At least that's how I see it.

  • BYODB||

    So it's totes kosher to give birth, and then kill it immediately.

    Sounds legit.

  • Rogers1234||

    What about people who need ventilators in order to breathe? Are they fully human?

  • colorblindkid||

    So are 1 year olds. So are people in vegetative states. So are people with disabilities. This argument is so fucking dumb. What is so hard about admitting a fetus is a human being?!

    I'm not even arguing that abortion should be banned, just that it absolutely involves killing an individual human being. It's perfectly fine to argue that aborting it before it is conscious will spare it a lifetime of misery or help the mother.

    The fact that people so angrily deny the obvious means they know it's true, they just don't want to admit it. It's very similar to pro-death penalty people who deny that plenty of innocent people are killed. They just don't want to hear it.

  • colorblindkid||

    Ending the life of a human being can be morally justified. Just be honest about it.

  • BYODB||

    ^ Pretty much this. Honestly.

  • Tony||

    Because if it's murder of a child, then it obviously trumps nearly every other concern. Whether it is a rights-bearing person can only be determined by prevailing social custom and legal precedent. As it happens, religious weirdos spent the better part of the last century trying to overturn those things for apparently the sole reason of making women's lives more miserable.

  • KDN||

    Master persuader Tony, turning up the charm.

  • colorblindkid||

    "the sole reason of making women's lives more miserable." The pro-life movement is largely led by women.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Have you met a woman? Women love making other women miserable. QED, bitches!

    Also, women be shoppin'.

  • Tony||

    And?

  • Lily Bulero||

    "Whether it is a rights-bearing person can only be determined by prevailing social custom and legal precedent."

    Justice Taney agrees.

  • Tony||

    "I totally care about the personhood rights of a fetus and definitely am not consumed by the need to control the sexual behavior of women!"

    Jerry Falwell

  • damikesc||

    So, Tony, we should assume that gay marriage activists just want to control the acts and thoughts of bakers and florists who disagree with them, right? No chance they actually have a complaint that they feel is valid...they just want to control folks, right?

  • Bubba Jones||

    You want abortion to be ok, therefore it is not murder.

    QED

  • Jickerson||

    Killing another human being can be justified. There is no human right to reside in someone else's body, and you cannot form a contract with a fetus or a nonexistent being (i.e. to allow it to reside in your body), so in my view, terminating the pregnancy at any point is just fine.

  • damikesc||

    Tell us why a zygote is a person but a tumor isn't.

    Well, the unique DNA and the reality that it develops organs and the like over time while tumors have a poor track record of producing independent life. Funny, doctors seem to have, literally, zero difficulty differentiating "fetus" and "cancer".
  • commentguy||

    Your comment notes, correctly, that a zygote *can become* a person. I agree.

  • ||

    You're trying to hide your philosophical beliefs behind SCIENCE!

    The mandated document is not defining "life". It goes a step further and defines "human being". That is a rights bearing individual entity. And the belief that such an entity exists and the creation of the zygote cannot be justified simply by shouting SCIENCE!

  • BYODB||

    It's a dumb fuck argument to claim a zygote isn't alive or a human being.

    It's somewhat analogous to a person in a vegetative state, in that it's definitely a human and definitely has rights but since they can't communicate we entrust their decision making to a separate legal entity. In the case of a vegetable, usually a parent or spouse (or other relative) or in extreme cases the state itself. Those individuals can legally remove necessarily life support, but you'll note they don't allow that person to be outright killed.

    Why not? Because it looks like a person. That seems to be the only metric people go by, since we have a hard time conceptualizing what makes us 'human' in the first place but we all agree that if it looks like a human it's probably a human.

  • ||

    I'm definitively an idiot yet your definition is "looks like a human".

    Pretty conclusive stuff there.

  • BYODB||

    That is not my position, that's the position of virtually everyone else assuming there is any actual logical basis to their opinions at all which I don't consider a given.

    Why else would you draw the line at after a baby has been born? Or at five months? Or at two months? What is so different between then and five minutes before? Five hours before? Five days before? etc. etc.

    Meanwhile, I'm still over here waiting for laws that criminalize actions that result in the death of a fetus to be challenged in court by these Satanists and their ilk.

    *looks at watch, taps foot*

    Oh, wait, they don't actually believe those arguments do they? They just want it both ways. It is simultaneously a human and not a human, depending on the opinion of the woman the baby is inside of. Revealed preferences over stated preferences?

    Again, why not draw the line at you're allowed to abort your baby up to two weeks old? Maybe it's loud and you can't sleep, so you decide being a parent is too much work so you throw it in the incinerator. Why not?

  • Lester224||

    A zygote has human DNA. I suppose you can call it human, but at 12 weeks it has no consciousness, At 12 weeks a fetus' EEG output is equivalent to that of a sea slug even if it has "tiny tonails".

  • BYODB||

    And this is exactly why you're allowed to take a family member that's in a coma out to the shed and put a bullet in them, correct?

  • ||

    the reason you can't put a bullet in a coma patient is not because of SCIENCE. It's because of moral codes. SCIENCE doesn't define human being.

    Again, why not draw the line at you're allowed to abort your baby up to two weeks old?

    You can draw the line anywhere you want. Line drawing is a moral equation. It's not SCIENCE.

  • BYODB||

    Correct. Science states that a zygote is a human and is alive. Hence why I said you're full of shit if you're claiming otherwise.

  • ||

    Science only states that it's a potential human.

  • BYODB||

    So, again, you are retarded. Thanks for clearing that up.

    You might want to check out what science defines as life and what it defines as a genus because it isn't what you think.

    You're debating a moral case just as much as the other posters, except you're lying through your teeth about something that isn't applicable to the situation.

    Saying that science considers, say, a bird egg a 'potential bird' is retarded. It is a bird at a certain stage of gestation.

    You would need to look to something like an amphibian to find what it is you're looking for, but last I checked we're mammals.

  • ||

    A family member who is functionally brain dead aside from brain stem functioning can, in fact, legally be unhooked from life support by family members.

  • BYODB||

    Correct, and while that could be considered murder you are not allowed to shoot them in the head if they continue to breath on their own in defiance of the odd's. Hence my point.

  • BYODB||

    I should add a caveat that bizarrely enough I have read of cases where they are subsequently allowed to starve to death, though, so it does get murky but to my knowledge it falls under the 'assisted suicide' type regulations where you are simply not allowed to take any action to end that persons life directly, but it's possible that isn't the case everywhere in the United States but I'd be at least semi-shocked to find out someplace lets let you shoot your brain dead family members (or drown them, or take any active action to end their life whatsoever.)

  • commentguy||

    Your analogy would work a lot better if abortions involved shooting. In fact, since they involve 'unhooking' the fetus from the uterus, they are strikingly similar to the example of unhooking a brain-dead coma patient. Well done for providing such a neat argument against your own position, I will have to remember this analogy for the future :)

  • ClassicLib||

    " What is so hard about admitting a fetus is a human being?!"

    For the same reason slave owners found it hard to see slaves as human beings, to do so would be admitting they were participating in something wrong.

    Human beings are great at rationalizing things to shut down their conscience, its how the most barbarous things in history have been done by otherwise good and compassionate people.

    Most people lack the capacity to do what they know is wrong even out of necessity, the way they overcome that to do what they want is by simply making that act morally acceptable or in this case neutral by declaring a fetus before birth merely a "proto-human".

  • Bubba Jones||

    That is just a matter of timing.

    We don't kill people who temporarily need a ventilator.

  • epsilon given||

    Technically, a fetus is a human that temporarily needs a womb.

    At least, I'm fairly sure it's temporary. If it's not, I'd be happy to learn of the cases of fully-developed humans who have lived significantly longer than 40 weeks in their mother's womb. Bonus points go to such people who managed to have children of their own.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Except for the fact that this clump of cells cannot exist as a "separate living human being" because it is 100% physically dependent on its host

    By that logic, premature babies aren't "separate living human beings" as long as they require medical intervention to survive.

  • ||

    The medical intervention doesn't have to be provided by a specific person.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    ZING go the goal posts!

  • Azathoth!!||

    Here's how this works.

    Two people did things that caused a third person to be incapacitated. They deliberately and often with forethought did this thing, knowing that it might cause this other person to be incapacitated and have to rely, utterly, upon them for support and for the lessons it would need to no longer be incapacitated.

    Tell me why one of the people who caused the incapacitation gets to decide whether the third person lives or dies, at their whim?

  • BYODB||

    Because that third person lives inside the other persons sovereign body, so unless you want to start making the claim that the unborn child's right to live trumps that of another individuals right to their physical body you're going to have a hard time making a case.

    Is it supremely irresponsible of the two people making babies? Yeah. But that doesn't reduce her right to her body, and her claim to her body doesn't necessarily trump the unborns right to life in all circumstances.

    Would you, say, believe that locking a woman up and strapping her down for 9 months would be reasonable to prevent her from harming said unborn from any potential harms she might knowingly or unknowingly expose it to? No? Weird!

  • Sigivald||

    so unless you want to start making the claim that the unborn child's right to live trumps that of another individuals right to their physical body you're going to have a hard time making a case.

    Well ... that's not a hard claim to make.

    Indeed, it's a claim both the law and almost all people make, for late term pregnancies.

    (If we don't make that claim ever we have to accept that there's no moral issue with a during-labor abortion, right?

    Almost nobody, in my experience, supports that, so ... it seems like people make that claim rather a lot, just variably along the line from "conception" to "any time before the whole baby is out of the birth canal".

    Let's also not pretend that "potential but utterly uncertain and not probable harms" are even in the same legal or moral category as "deliberate destruction", shall we?

    The parallel to not-abortion-cases would be "locking people up before they actually do any crimes because they might break the law unknowingly" vs. "locking someone up for actually harming someone deliberately". It's a terrible analogy, because your argument actually boils down to "it's not a meaningful harm".

    Plus, well, both everyday moral analysis and laws differentiate rather pointedly between accidental, unforeseeable and deliberate, premeditated acts even if the outcome is identical.

    I mean, seriously. Either this is super-glib on a serious subject or you've never met an actual human being, eh?)

  • BYODB||

    You mistake my argument for being a true argument rather than a mockery of someone else's comment.

    One of the most central rights a person has is their right to self-ownership and thus their right to do with their own body as they will. One's actual life is a higher order right, but not by as much as some people want to make out.

    I'm definitely not an absolutist of either stripe. I recognize that it's an area for legislation precisely because it's a conflict of baseline natural rights such as life and self-ownership themselves. I strive to mock those who see things only in shades of black or white in a decidedly gray area.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The third person DOES NOT 'live' in the other person's body.

    The other person and their partner PUT the person there--without their consent--knowing that it would then take 9 months to get out safely.

    And yes, I believe that one persons right to live trumps the temporary inconveniencing of the people that forced them into the situation in the first place.

    Because that's what we're talking about--a temporary inconvenience. :"Oh, you will positively ruin my figure this season, therefore you must die."

  • ||

    Begging the question.

    The whole argument is over whether a fetus is a "person", or where and when it becomes a "person".

  • BYODB||

    And since that is inherently unknowable, it is one of the parts that is unsolvable. That's why a lot of people focus on it, because it's the hard part that doesn't really matter. To me it's not that complicated, but to people who are actively lying their asses off to make a case that shouldn't require lies to make, perhaps it's more complex. That tends to happen when you build houses out of cards.

  • Jickerson||

    No, that is not necessarily the whole argument. Some, like myself, dismiss the question of whether a fetus is a person as irrelevant due to the fact that it has nothing to do with whether one has a right to reside in someone else's body against their will to keep oneself alive.

  • Tony||

    It's a necessary good. Forcing women to give birth against their will is an unnecessary evil.

  • Juice||

    Would you say that child neglect laws force women to care for a child?

  • Sigivald||

    Yeah, they're confusing "Christians are really dogmatic about this" and "it's just Christianity!", as if no other religion ever opposed abortion, or no atheist can believe in personhood-from-conception*.

    (And equally we shouldn't equate "separate, unique, living human being" with "person", not automatically.

    A permanently brain-dead or acephalic person is separate, unique, living, and human. But equally not a person, just a meat-sack in the shape of one.

    There may be good reasons for treating them like one anyway, on various ethical analyses, but that's different than an identity claim.)

    (* Try telling a pregnant woman who isn't after an abortion that it's "simply just a clump of cells". When you wake up in the trauma ward, rethink your perspective and its dogma just a little.)

  • Magnitogorsk||

    Religious belief is a mental disorder

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That's an almost direct quote from Anton LaVey.

  • Memory Hole||

    Considering how prevalent the insane beliefs are maybe it's more accurate to say sanity is a mental disorder.

  • Sigivald||

    "Now, my irrational beliefs* aren't mental disorder. Because they're not religious. That's different."

    (* You have them. Everyone does, whether they notice them or not. Even rationalists who spend time actively trying not to keep unprovable and disputable priors, unavoidably, here and there.

    It's okay.)

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Oh boy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's more of a mischievous and high-concept anti-religion...

    Ugh. Just when you thought atheists couldn't get any less subtle about their religion.

    (That's right, stupids. I'm injecting atheist-as-religion into an abortion thread.)

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Jesus*, Eugene, you might as well be eating deep dish smothered in artisanal mayo, typing that.

    *sorry

  • KDN||

    While drinking an IPA in a self-driving car which is owned by a pot-growing, illegal Mexican immigrant.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Who is gay-married to a Muslim football player who won't stand for the national anthem.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Who founded the anti-circumcision PAC "Footballers For Foreskin."

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    * artisanal VEGAN mayo

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You're playing with fire, ENB.

  • ||

    Why not just call it Ketchup?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Why don't they just join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It exists only a a foil to traditional religion and to counter creationism.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Because the Church of Satan has been an organized philosophical entity since the late '60s, while Pastafarianism is based explicitly on a joke written in 2005. Satanists are OG, homie.

  • ||

    Pastafarianism is for pussies. Becoming a Satanist means you really mean it.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Because the FSM church just causes people to say "hmmm, that's amusing" or "that's irritating" - but calling yourselves Satanists is like dying your hair purple and putting a safety pin in your nose, it shows you're *serious.*

  • Sigivald||

    That's fair.

    I mean, there are plenty of atheists* who treat it as a religion surrogate, right up to the posturing about how much better they are because of it.

    Any "fake religion" that isn't an obvious joke (Discordians, say) tends to that camp, almost ineluctably.

    (* Me, I'm the kind that just doesn't believe in a deity, and doesn't mind if other people do.)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    HAVE FUN IN HELL.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Perhaps these so-called "Satanists" could borrow some ideas from the Church of Scienfoology, so as to side-step all these elaborate State-required quasi-religious rituals, before being allowed "access" to safe abortions. Requirements that abortion-seekers be subjected to the "shaming wand" come to mind. For details, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/sonograms/

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    I'm for the right to rip the little 8 1/2 month old little fucker apart and sell it for body parts. Better that than have some nanny-stater Christian bigot fuck dictate his morality to my wife.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I applaud your subtle trolling.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    As subtle as a burnout in his third attempt at eight grade writing FUCK on the bathroom wall with a Sharpie. Only about half as clever, though.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I got three weeks of detention for that but it was totally worth it.

  • Crusty Juggler||

  • Hugh Akston||

    Y'all are just jealous that I got fingerbanged by Emilio Estevez.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Y'all are just jealous that I got fingerbanged by Emilio Estevez.

    I hope you returned the favor with a Freejack.

  • ||

    Dude, if "cuckservative" can become a popular slang term, this stuff gets at least a C.

  • ||

    high-concept anti-religion

    So not-so-Satanism is the real deal and Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is the low-brow satire? Huh.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Wondered the same. FSM has way less of a negative rap, though. Love them noodlely appendages.

  • Lester224||

    "Satanism" has the advantage in that it really pisses off the Christian theocrats.

  • BYODB||

    Not that they're going to do much about it. I wonder how the Muslim's view Satanism? Honestly, I really do. I think I'll look it up just out of curiosity. I assume they have a version of Satan since they're Abrahamic.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh... Judaism doesn't really have a "Satan" figure. They have "the satan", but it's very different then the Christian conception of Satan. So I'm not sure you can pin that on an Abrahamic trait.

    That said, the Christian "Satan" isn't really based in the Bible anyway, it's more of a non-sourced cultural/religious belief. Many modern Christian ideas of the figure are more rooted in Dante's Inferno then any religious text.

    So whatever the Islam "Satan" is, I kind of doubt it has much in common with the current Christian idea of the same.

  • BYODB||

    My recollection is that it's a reference to a challenger to make choosing good more difficult for one reason or another, but I've specifically heard the Arab world refer to us as 'the great Satan' and I do recall the name from the Torah so there's probably some link there, but probably mostly an appropriation by the later two religions from the previous one in my view.

  • ||

    Muslims have Yahzidis, who actually, literally, do worship Satan.

    (Although they have a different version of the creation story in which Lucifer is the good guy)

  • ||

    Obvious redundancy has the advantage in that it's really obvious.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    If Libertarianism tacked on a full religious bend, what would our origin myth be?

  • Sigivald||

    Oh, we'd have several.

    I mean, the Objectivists would be their own parallel religion or deep schism.

    And the Hayekians and Rothbardites could hardly share an origin myth, could they?

  • Mickey Rat||

    "The sole purpose of the law is to indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some, but not all, Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception,"

    That is not disputable scientifically. Metaphysically, is that other human beings have a right to not be killed an imposition of religion on a Satanist? If so, how does the Satanist have rights to challenge the law?

  • WakaWaka||

    This is a rather stupid case, as the plaintiff is seeking to have the law negated, because they object to it on religious grounds. Clearly, these people don't understand what religious accommodation provides. You, as an adherent, can be exempted from the specific law, but that does not make the law null for all others that do not claim a religious accommodation.

    It is quite telling, though, that the first article dealing with sex and religious accommodation that you write concerns a ridiculous lawsuit and not the very genuine ones where nuns are mandated to buy contraceptives.

  • damikesc||

    Reason hopes to muddy waters.

    Once the Left goes on and on about how unfair it is that criminals get away with crimes, you will see articles about the abusive use of the Fourth Amendment here.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Reason hopes to muddy waters.

    It's always up to something.

  • WakaWaka||

    I don't doubt it. I just find it ridiculous that ENB shrugs when nuns ask the government to not force them to pay for contraceptives, but gets giddy when Satanists say an entire law should be negated because they don't like it.

  • BYODB||

    Satanists are just the ultimate cry-baby edge lords from WASP suburbanite families in my experience. It seems like the length of time they hold those beliefs is on a graph with one axis as 'how much I hate my parents' and the other being 'length of time one is a Satanist'.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    It is quite telling, though, that the first article dealing with sex and religious accommodation that you write concerns a ridiculous lawsuit and not the very genuine ones where nuns are mandated to buy contraceptives

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....trol-cases

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/10.....ons-expand

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Ha.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Those are just a few from me on the subject you say I/Reason never covers. There are dozens from Scott and Slade, whose are more regularly on the religious liberty beat

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ok, but now he's just going to complain that you're picking on him.

  • Sigivald||

    "What even is an archive search?"

    I mean, I'll give Reason lots and lots of crap, now and then, but you guys have hardly ignored that, and I knew it before the linkdump.

  • ||

    WakaWaka is one of the stupider newbies around here.

  • EscherEnigma||

    You, as an adherent, can be exempted from the specific law, but that does not make the law null for all others that do not claim a religious accommodation.
    And that's certainly a conclusion the court can come to. But under the current law, there is no "religious accommodation" to the law, and as such seeking a religious accommodation is not currently an option.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The problem is that this--

    "a separate and unique human being begins at conception,"

    Is not a 'belief'. It is a simple scientific fact. As soon as fertilization occurs the DNA is separate and distinct from that of both parents.

  • Sigivald||

    Yes, that's a fact.

    But "that particular single-celled human being should be treated as a legal person" is not a scientific fact.

    It's a moral judgment, an argument about the start of personhood.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And every other decision that a class of human is a person is also a moral judgement. It is the argument that it is impermissable for society to judge this particular class of human is rights bearing entity that does not pass the smell yest.

  • Azathoth!!||

    But they're not referencing the moral judgement.

    They're suggesting that the scientific fact is not just a moral judgement, but an actual belief that some Christians hold and not a scientific fact at all.

    "The sole purpose of the law is to indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some, but not all, Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception,"

    The law wants it made clear to women seeking abortion that "a separate and unique human being begins at conception" and no more.

    And that is a fact, not a belief.

  • damikesc||

    "The sole purpose of the law is to indoctrinate pregnant women into the belief held by some, but not all, Christians that a separate and unique human being begins at conception," wrote the appeals court. "Because the law does not recognize or include other beliefs, [Doe] contends that it establishes an official religion and makes clear that the state disapproves of her beliefs."

    So, their claim is that it is not an independent life at conception. So, what is a more logical conclusion here:

    1) A life is developed and grown inside of the woman at conception

    or

    2) Vaginas shit out life forms randomly.

    It's one or the other. Since nobody can pinpoint when life begins OUTSIDE of conception, then they are arguing vaginas just produce life at random points for whatever reason.

  • Tony||

    Life began maybe 4.5 billion years ago, at least on this planet. The relevant question is when does a developing fetus become a rights-bearing person. Not a scientific question.

  • Mickey Rat||

    If the government saying that an unborn child is a rights bearing entity is an impermissible imposition of religion, how is government defining any human being as a rights bearing entity not an impermissible imposition of religion?

  • Tony||

    Well they can just leave religion out of it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    But the law does not have an exclusively religious viewpoint, and the Satanists are arguing it is imposition on their religion.

  • Tony||

    It's an interesting point and one that is obviously not resolved. One can distinguish between an obviously religious insertion into law and secular legal precedent, if one tries.

  • ace_m82||

    Satisfactorily define "religion" and I'll give you the point. Note, if atheism and agnosticism are not 'religion', then they aren't protected by the 1st amendment.

  • Tony||

    They certainly are protected from religion by the establishment clause.

  • ace_m82||

    True, but not otherwise. Congress could theoretically ban non-"religions" such as those without establishing any others.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Religious Insertion was my nickname in seminary.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "If the government saying that an unborn child is a rights bearing entity is an impermissible imposition of religion [...]"
    Wrong question.

    You're thinking of those proposed "personhood" laws/amendments, which would basically outlaw abortion (and make miscarriages subject to investigations as negligent manslaughter).

    But this case is not about a personhood amendment/law.

  • Azathoth!!||

    At conception--sort of.

    If the mother wants the baby then it's a person from the moment the pregnancy is confirmed and killing it bears severe penalties under the law

    If no one knows if the mother wants the baby, it's treated as if she does.

    If the mother doesn't want the baby and something happens to it before she can have an abortion, it's often treated as if she DID want the baby for the purposes of the law.

    It is only during the actual abortion that the fetus is treated as anything except a rights bearing human.

  • Tony||

    Why can't the law simply be what John needs it to be so that he doesn't feel uncomfortable about anything, jeez.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A screenshot of this comment is prominently featured on the Wikipedia entry for "total lack of self-awareness."

  • Lily Bulero||

    Underneath all the bluster there's art. V, section 3 of the Constitution of Missouri: "The [state] supreme court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving the validity...of a statute...of this state"

    The appeals court's only job was to say, "oops, this case belongs in the state Supreme Court because it involves the validity of a state statute." Of course, they found an excuse to throw off some dicta against the statute, which by the state constitution is none of their business.

  • Lily Bulero||

    I couldn't tell if the RFRA claims are sent to the state Supreme Court, since technically these are statutory, not constitutional claims. They sent the constitutional claims to the state high court because the constitutional claims (First Amendment Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause) are "substantial." Of course the state constitution doesn't limit the high court's jurisdiction to "substantial" constitutional issues, but never mind that particular technicality.

  • Lily Bulero||

    "Despite its provocative name, the Satanic Temple doesn't actually worship Satan. There's no ritual sacrifice or other trappings of Satanic lore."

    If they claim a religious-freedom right to commit abortions, then yes, that's fairly close to a ritual sacrifice.

  • WakaWaka||

    What RFRA allows you to negate an entire law? There is no such thing, which explains why this was dismissed at first

  • Lily Bulero||

    RFRA says that for the government to override your religious practice, it needs to be using the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government interest.

    This is as close as it gets to the hypothetical human-sacrifice case invoked by opponents of religious freedom.

  • WakaWaka||

    Right. But, maybe I'm misunderstanding the case. I thought that the Satanists are asking that the entire law be declared void. Whereas, RFRA protections only pertain to the particular person effected. So, if you want an abortion and you feel as if this law infringes upon your beliefs, the requirements would be waved in your case. That isn't what the Satanists are arguing, which is what makes this case so frivolous.

  • Lily Bulero||

    OK, you're right, this is about their First Amendment claims, not RFRA.

    I had RFRA on the brain because of all the Satanic press releases about how they're using RFRA to show up the hypocrisy of the conservatives blah blah.

  • EscherEnigma||

    This is as close as it gets to the hypothetical human-sacrifice case invoked by opponents of religious freedom.
    Not really.

    With or without the law, abortions are legal within Missouri. So regardless of whether abortions are "human-sacrifice", it's allowed.

    The contention is the state-mandated editorializing before the abortion.

  • Azathoth!!||

    "Despite its provocative name, the Satanic Temple doesn't actually worship Satan. There's no ritual sacrifice or other trappings of Satanic lore."

    If they claim a religious-freedom right to commit abortions, then yes, that's fairly close to a ritual sacrifice.

    You know, you may have something here.

    Human sacrifice is potent--and infant sacrifice, depending on the usage can be even more so.

    Plus, there's the whole issue of by-products--fat from unbaptized children(a primary ingredient in many flying potions) Skin that no sunlight has fallen upon(for creating warded pouches and garments) and the blood, of course.

    And, with the proper attention to disposal methods, the worshippers of Moloch can come out of the closet.

    When life hands you mounds of slaughtered infants, wreak eldritch havoc!

  • Lester224||

    Percentage of 2013 Reported Abortions by Weeks of Gestation* (CDC):

    ≤6 wks 7 wks 8 wks 9 wks 10 wks 11 wks 12 wks 13 wks 14-15 wks 16-17 wks 18-20 wks ≥21 wks
    34.6% 17.9% 13.4% 8.6% 5.8% 4.7% 3.6% 2.8% 3.4% 1.9% 1.8%
    1.3%

    So, in 2013 at least, 89% of abortions occurred at 12 weeks or prior. while 98.7% occurred at 20 weeks or less. The fetus at 12 weeks is about 2 inches long with the EEG output of a slug. Calling a first-trimester abortion murder of a person is nonsensical unless you have a religion about it. I think of it this way. The witch tells the princess that if you kiss the frog it will turn into a prince. The princess says she can't afford to support a prince and throws the frog against a wall. She's just committed frog murder, not person murder.

  • BYODB||

    It's not nonsense, it's demonstrably a human life. Not to say that it should be illegal to have an abortion, it should be a legal practice. It's amusing to watch people jump through so many intellectual hoops to define it as something other than murder though. It's almost like you want to have your cake and eat it too.

    Personally, I recognize that it's murder but it's a necessarily practice that must be regulated by the state because it's a conflict of two separate but conjoined interests and conflicting natural rights. Much like if I shoot an intruder in my home, that too is murder but it is a situation where it is a conflict of natural rights. (Their right to survive and/or happiness vs. my property rights / right to live) and therefore we legislate the parameters of those interactions to resolve the conflict.

    I don't need to jump through any moral hoops to define such a conflict as something other than what it is though. Odd, then, that so many people find it necessary to do so. I suspect that most people are lying to themselves about it out of personal moral necessity, which I find ironic and infinitely amusing since they implicate their opposition for the very same thing.

    Or, even more likely, those people simply have no moral or intellectual backing to their beliefs in the first place. What is clear is they have no understanding of natural rights or the underpinning of those rights in any way, shape, or form.

  • Lily Bulero||

    "Much like if I shoot an intruder in my home, that too is murder but it is a situation where it is a conflict of natural rights."

    It might be justifiable homicide rather than murder to shoot an intruder (depending on totality of circs as dunphy would say).

    Unlike the hypothetical burglar, the fetus isn't trying to invade a place (s)he knows (s)he shouldn't be.

    Perhaps the reason people deny the fetus is human is because they are worried that arguments like yours might be wrong, which would make the taking of the fetus' life unjustifiable.

  • BYODB||

    Justifiable homicide is still murder, you're just using the legal terms used to differentiate between types of murder. There is no actual difference in the act itself, merely the reasoning behind it.

    Way to illustrate your fundamental lack of understanding over natural rights though. The question is the fetuses right to live vs. the woman's control of her own body, obviously. Both are important, and the 'correct' answer is deeply individual and should not be dictated nor denied outside of reasonable guidelines that protect the interests of both parties as best as possible.

    My argument is correct, although you may not agree with it for various reasons but I would be surprised if any of those reasons where cogent. I have met virtually zero people who arrived at their beliefs logically in this particular arena.

  • Kivlor||

    I think most pro abortion folks recognize that they can't admit the science of the situation, because by nature that places it in the realm of homicide. Once you get there, the question is whether this is a reasonable/justifiable case of homicide, and they instinctively fear that they will lose that argument. Convincing people to defend abortion as a "necessary evil" under justifiable homicide is going to be a losing battle. Once we get down to the brass tax of "I should be able to pay someone to execute my kid because otherwise would inconvenience me" there's really no way the pro-abortion side wins the legislative battle long-term.

    The only hope is to press on with the obviously false argument that it's a "parasite" or a "tumor". Because anything else will cause, in the long term, most people to reject the practice as acceptable in society at large.

    You're a rarity on this issue BYOBD even though you are probably quite correct that it's a necessary evil.

  • BYODB||

    I don't think they would lose the argument by being genuine, since the pro-choice crowd is on the right side of the argument, BUT they piss a lot of people off, myself included, by lying about it over and over again. Not even good lies, or well meaning lies, but fundamental lies that are obvious lies to pretty much anyone that thinks about it for a minute.

    Fundamentally, the Religious right are never going to agree with it as a baseline (outside of major reformation or social shifts that are, admittedly, pretty unlikely) so you might as well be genuine. The fact the pro-choice crowd fails so miserably at being intellectually honest about the subject never ceases to piss me off.

  • Kivlor||

    I agree with you, it's infuriating that these people can't be honest. I'd rather have a discussion about this with people like you any day, because at least we can agree on reality existing. We may disagree on the proper course, we may disagree on all sorts of things, but that's life.

    I think you'll find it hard to win the hearts and minds of the masses if it is generally accepted that a zygote is in fact a human being. Of course, I think from purely rational position it is quite easy to end up on the pro-life side of things--in general that is, caveats apply.

    In instances of 2 sets of conflicting rights, we must determine which party's should supersede the other's. Most abortion advocates think it will be a losing battle at this point if they concede an inch on the facts. Outside of rape cases abortion becomes much more difficult to make rationally advocates will be devastatingly disadvantaged regarding appeals to emotion, which they have relied on for decades. And of course, as we all know, appeals to emotion are quite powerful tools when advocating legislation. "You're murdering children for convenience" becomes much more persuasive than "You hate women" once we accept that it is indeed a child.

  • BYODB||

    Honestly, that's one reason why I'm not 'against' legislation that requires women to sit through some kind of 'so, you're thinking about murder' class before getting an abortion. Facing them with the facts of what it is they are contemplating is to force, or at least pretend to force, some awareness of what the act itself means before doing it.

    If a woman is ok with it at the end of the day, well, sure go right ahead. I won't stop her from doing it, and frankly we shouldn't since it is her actual physical body. Hers. Not ours, and not the child's.

    Just don't expect do it at the last minute, or after a point where most people agree that the poor thing can feel pain. That's simply inhumane. And, like it or not, society has some say in what is reasonable for you do to others even if they are technically living inside of you.

    I don't pretend to know where lines should be drawn in the sand, but both the side that says 'no abortions' and the side that says 'no restrictions to abortion' are simply wrong. I'm sure that's obvious to at least some people, if not most, but I feel like it's necessary to say it these days.

  • Lily Bulero||

    The bizarre thing about your hypothetical frog scenario is that the princess - if she were in an American jurisdiction - could probably be prosecuted for cruelty to animals.

    Anyway...is the fetus a frog or a slug? You seem unclear.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm concerned about those bruises on her arm.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Kill 'em all and let Satan sort 'em out.

    That's where I'm at. Abort at will, ladies!

  • Longtobefree||

    This is why the government should not be involved in medical decisions. It leads to inane comments online.
    There are no intense political debates about when a doctor can amputate a limb.
    Yet there are mad 'debates' (quotes because no one actually follows the rules of debate like citing sources and being respectful, and taking turns and stuff) where the same person will claim that a woman has an absolute right to stop a beating heart, and that if that same beating heart is stopped by any other agency it is murder one. Either it is a clump of cells, or it is a person.
    And why are the Satanists trying to tear down Jefferson's wall?

  • AngelaM||

    Satanists are not the only ones who do not believe that life begins at conception. Some cultures do not name babnies until they are a year old, when life is deemed to begin. Why most women and only women pretend to profess beliefs which they do not hold in order to receive medical treatment? What about the male abortion provider who probably doesn't believe that zygotes are endowed with any magical life powers? How come he needn't make any avowals.? This requirement is unconstitutional on its face since it demands fealty from women to an idea they probably don't accept while ignoring the males involved.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I believe that women desiring an abortion should be required to sign, in their own blood, a document that attests to the fact that they believe that "every sperm is sacred", yes... BUT that the Sperm of the Emperor DonaldTrump is Uber-Sacred, that Trump is not only their Daddy, but is actually The Son of Satan, and Their Personal Savior!

    I wonder if the Church of Satan is with me on this one? Does anyone know?

    Inquiring minds want to KNOW!

  • damikesc||

    Why most women and only women pretend to profess beliefs which they do not hold in order to receive medical treatment?

    Ummm, because men have exactly zero say-so in a woman's abortion. If you want her to have an abortion and she does not, dude's stuck paying for the kid. If he wants the child and she doesn't, dude doesn't have a child.

    Who ELSE should be required to do this?

  • Mike d||

    Honestly, this is a pretty dumb argument. I hope the court throws it out.

    The argument against legalizing abortion is that you consider it murder. Sorry, but murder (or breaking other laws (or potential laws) is not justified just because your supposed God said so. Otherwise, "Satanists" (or whatever they call them these days) would be legally permitted to sacrifice goats ignoring animal cruelty laws, because their religion says so. Unless theres no compelling state interest otherwise (and preventing alleged murder certainly qualifies as compelling); say, something minor like a school demanding that a student gets a haircut or something equally dumb, religion should NOT trump state law.

    Now, if you disagree with making aborting illegal, make the argument that an early developed fetus doesn't hold personhood rights (which is my view btw). Don't bring fake (or even real) religious arguments into the mix.

  • Mike d||

    Honestly, this is a pretty dumb argument. I hope the court throws it out.

    The argument against legalizing abortion is that you consider it murder. Sorry, but murder (or breaking other laws (or potential laws) is not justified just because your supposed God said so. Otherwise, "Satanists" (or whatever they call them these days) would be legally permitted to sacrifice goats ignoring animal cruelty laws, because their religion says so. Unless theres no compelling state interest otherwise (and preventing alleged murder certainly qualifies as compelling); say, something minor like a school demanding that a student gets a haircut or something equally dumb, religion should NOT trump state law.

    Now, if you disagree with making aborting illegal, make the argument that an early developed fetus doesn't hold personhood rights (which is my view btw). Don't bring fake (or even real) religious arguments into the mix.

  • buybuydandavis||

    sign papers declaring that they have read and understand state-mandated statements that personhood begins at conception and that abortion at any stage terminates "the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

    The biggest problem.

    They're requiring signed assent to a particular doctrine of faith.

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