The Satanic Temple of Detroit applies for Capitol Holiday display, advocates Religious Liberty despite attacks from The Catholic League
Shortly after The Satanic Temple of Detroit announced it’s plan to a holiday display at the Michigan State Capitol, Catholic League president Bill Donohue issues an inflammatory statement against the group, claiming expressions of diversity are an attack on Christianity.
DETROIT, MI – December 7, 2016 – On December 6, 2016 Catholic League president Bill Donohue issued a statement attacking The Satanic Temple of Detroit (TST) for the organization’s “Snaketivity” display to be erected at the Michigan State Capitol this holiday season. This is the third year “Snaketivity” will be on display on the Capitol lawn. The controversial Catholic leader, encouraged his supporters to contact the Temple to express their opinions of the group claiming that TST “hates Christianity and lies for a living”.
According to Jex Blackmore, head of The Satanic Temple’s Executive Council and Director of TST-Detroit, “The overriding message in our holiday display, and many of The Satanic Temple’s public activities, is one of plurality and religious liberty. We have no interest in proselytizing Satanism to the public. However, we refuse to allow one religious perspective do dominate the discourse. For that reason, When there is one religious display on public grounds, we’ll offer another, and we urge other minority voices to do the same.” With that in mind, this is the second year that Blackmore has helpfully published an easy how-to guide on TST-Detroit’s website, instructing other parties as to how they, too, can seek approval for a holiday display at the Capitol.
The “Snaketivity” scene features a large snake wrapped around a Leviathan’s cross offering an open book as a holiday gift. Instead of a traditional Christmas star, the display is topped with a glowing pentagram. The message is “The Greatest Gift is the Gift of Knowledge”. The Satanic Temple acknowledges that the holidays are a season of gift giving and an occasion when friends and family often spend time together. The group hopes their message encourages families to take this time to learn from each other and celebrate the gift of knowledge, independence, and enlightened inquiry, “Just as the Nativity represents a mythology of the birth of Christ, the Snake is symbolic of the birth human enlightenment and liberation,” says Blackmore, “The Catholic League’s statement substantiates the need for expressions of diversity in the public square. When symbols of plurality are viewed as an attack on the majority there is a grave distortion of the American liberties we claim to celebrate, and we must work hard to protect them.”
The Satanic Temple of Detroit has applied to have “Snaketivity” on display from December, 15-18th. An application for a nativity display has been requested from December 15-21st.
THE SATANIC TEMPLE
RELIGIOUS DEFENSE OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
TEXAS RULE ON FETAL REMAINS
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services plans to enforce new rules that require that fetal tissue must be buried or cremated and can no longer be disposed of in sanitary landfills as they are in every other state.
The Satanic Temple believes burial rites are a well-established component of religious practice. This is undisputed in the entirety of US legal history. In addition, members of The Satanic Temple believe in the inviolability of the body and, as such, these rules contradict our fundamental beliefs. The First Amendment protects our right to practice our beliefs, and under the Religious Freedom Reform Act (RFRA), the State must present a compelling reason for why they want to enforce rules that inhibit adherence to our religious practices. Clearly, the State of Texas has no compelling reason because these rules were not enacted to promote health and safety, but rather to harass and burden women who terminate their pregnancies.
For these reasons, members of The Satanic Temple are not required to comply with the Texas rule on fetal remains. Nevertheless, we will require legal support to protect the rights of our members.
THE SATANIC TEMPLE (TST) has filed both state and federal lawsuits against the state of Missouri on behalf of Mary Doe, a pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Missouri law requires that all women seeking to lawfully terminate their pregnancy must be given reading material claiming that life begins at conception, and they must endure a 72-hour waiting period between their initial appointment and their actual abortion procedure. TST objects to these restrictions on religious grounds because they violate our belief in the inviolability of one’s body.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
Outside of TST efforts, legal battles involving women’s reproductive rights predominantly involve defensive postures that focus on the struggle to keep existing clinics open in the face of increasing amounts of onerous legislation. These new regulations have no purpose other than to make abortion difficult and ultimately impossible to obtain. The success of our lawsuits would be a huge victory over all restrictive abortion laws that have no medical purpose. In addition, it would put all other states on notice that these types of restrictions can be successfully challenged.