Having received status as a tax-exempt church in April, The Satanic Temple is now challenging a recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the handling of fetal remains on the grounds that it impedes their religious practices.
Before becoming Vice President, then-Indiana governor Mike Pence signed legislation that not only blocked abortions for reasons pertaining to race, sex, or disability. The Supreme Court blocked this part of the law, however it allowed the part of the law that requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated.
In a statement, The Satanic Temple “declared immunity” for its members from this new law. They explained that “One of The Satanic Temple’s fundamental tenets is the inviolability of one’s body.”
“Members of The Satanic Temple believe that non-viable fetal tissue is part of the woman who carries it, and as such, state impositions of ceremonial requirements dictating its disposal, barring any plausible medical or sanitary concerns, is a violation of TST’s Free Exercise allowing Satanists to contextualize the termination of a pregnancy on their own terms, with deference to their own religion beliefs. As such, TST affirms that this rule violates their religious beliefs and asserts that their members may refuse to adhere.”
The Satanic Temple said that RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) protects them, because according to RFRA, “when a religious practice conflicts with laws of the State, the State must provide a compelling reason for why religious rights should not be honored.”
“To be clear, members of The Satanic Temple will not be made to pay for these punitive, superfluous, and insulting burials. We claim exemption on religious liberty grounds, and we will almost certainly prevail in the courts if we are forced to fight.”
In the statement, co-founder of The Satanic Temple Lucien Greaves said: “It’s time that petty sanctimonious panderers like Vice President Pence, who signed this law as governor, come to realize that religious liberty means freedom from unreasonable government imposition upon religious opinion and practice — not his own ‘freedom’ to impose a particular religiously-dictated practice upon the electorate whom he serves.”
The Satanic Temple declares its members exempt from Indiana law regarding fetal remains pic.twitter.com/nPDvl1W6xv
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) May 29, 2019
The statement also said that for more information on this issue, as well as other issues affecting reproductive rights of members of The Satanic Temple, you should visit religiousreproductiverights.com.
Cover image via Getty