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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Satanic Temple (ST), an occult and secular activist group, has achieved a victory in court in its challenge to a pro-life law.
Last Tuesday, the Western District Court of Appeals for Missouri ruled that a legal challenge brought forward by a satanist, "Mary Doe," against the state's pro-life regulations could move forward. Doe claims the state-mandated waiting period of 72 hours violates her religious belief that life does not begin at conception and therefore constitutes a violation of her freedom of religion as a satanist.
Governor Eric Greitens is named as a defendant in the suit, which was appealed after the Cole County Circuit Court rejected her claims. In last week's decision, the lower court found that Doe's claims are "real and substantial."
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The Satanic Temple also recently made news in late September for encouraging active homosexual couples to ask Christian bakers to make Satan-honoring cakes when refused wedding cake services.
Satanic Temple leader Lucien Greaves explained the group's strategy: "Because religion is a protected class, a baker may refuse service to LGBTQ people, but they may not refuse service based upon someone's religion."
Greaves continued, "If they aren't willing to make a cake for same-sex unions, let's have them make a cake to honor Satan instead."
Meanwhile, Florida middle school teacher Preston Smith has been planning to erect a 6-foot satanic symbol in Boca Ratan's Sanborn Square. Mark Boykin, pastor of a local Protestant congregation, has said he's ready to destroy the display.
"I will take responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down." The same monument was put up last year and was met by being pulled down and damaged by protesters.
The Satanic Temple has become known for its legal challenges throughout the country, insisting on satanic displays, after-school clubs and public invocation of Satan as opportunities to introduce its ideology into the public square, claiming that denial of such activities constitutes religious discrimination. The Satanic Temple has also tried to erect monuments in close proximity to Ten Commandments monuments in both Oklahoma and Arkansas. In 2014, ST was approved to feature a satanic display at Christmas time in the Florida State Capitol, showing Lucifer falling from Heaven.
Church Militant reported last year on ST's attempt to use the same tactics against pro-life laws like the fetal burial law in Texas, as well as the informed consent law in Missouri. A judge ultimately threw out the Missouri lawsuit. The ST has also held public "Pink Masses," which the group claims are meant to turn people gay in the afterlife. Last year, one Satanic Temple member ran for public office in California.
The ST has established its headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, the historic location of witch burnings. The organization has chapters spread throughout the United States, the largest of which is located in Detroit, Michigan, where ST unveiled its satanic statue in 2015. The Detroit chapter also took part in public rituals and displays, mocking the unborn victims of abortion as well as the Stations of the Cross.
The Supreme Court has handed down decisions on the matters of both public monuments (Van Orden v. Perry), as well as prayer before city council meetings (Town of Greece v. Galloway), concluding that both do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property has posted a petition to the city of Belle Plaine in protest of the monument.
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