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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Can The Satanic Temple help keep the U.S. government in check?

The Satanic Temple is trying to push America forward

By ALEX MOTAWI — almotawi@ucdavis.edu

One of the pillars of the U.S. Constitution is the separation of church and state — so important that it’s a part of the First Amendment. It states that the government cannot promote any one religion and that citizens can follow any religion they please as long as it doesn’t hurt the interests of the public. 

With religion being a dominant part of many lives and the government’s progress towards reinforcing the safety of all groups, quarrels between the government and organized religion have been getting more and more serious. While this is a big issue to tackle, The Satanic Temple (TST) is doing its part to hold the U.S. government accountable by holding a magnifying glass to dangerous or hypocritical situations and trying to help marginalized groups.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s get to know TST (which is entirely different from the Church of Satan). The best way to describe TST would be to say that they are a political organization fighting for progressive ideals by masquerading as a religion with the end goal of helping marginalized groups. 

Although it’s named after Satan, the group does not worship Satan or any god, and instead embraces science first, devoting itself to its mission to spread individual liberties and empathy to everyone. Its followers believe that science is more important than religion, distinguishing it from other more popular religions. TST has been making rounds in the news lately because of its science-first attitude focusing on the individual, and the campaigns it’s running have been showing why it matters and how it can help the U.S.

With the recent Texas abortion ban and the upcoming Supreme Court Case challenging it, abortion is a pressing current issue. Certain religions forbid the practice and have been pushing lawmakers to ban it across the country, challenging the government to continue enforcing a separation between church and state. While some states have passed laws taking away female body autonomy by banning abortion, one of TST’s strongest campaigns is to use the Free Exercise Clause along with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to allow people in those areas to retain control over their bodies. TST’s belief in science and bodily autonomy comes with the benefit of allowing followers to undergo their “religious abortion ritual,” which is one of the nation’s last hopes to keep forms of abortion legal in restrictive states like Texas. While an extremely complicated process, TST is working to give aid to those in Texas who need it.

While TST is finding ways to obtain religious exemptions from the government for the needy, they are also trying to keep religious favoritism out of the government. Making sure the government stays honest is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and TST has a ball of it. Public displays are the foundation of many religions, and TST is no different. The government has a lawful obligation not to show bias between religions, so if it allows one religion a public display, it must let others follow. This means that when a majority religion is allowed a public display, TST has full rights to be there as well. While some people may not appreciate a religion with a name like TST out publicly with other congregations, the government has to allow it or admit to showing bias. TST is effectively forcing the government to adhere to its own rules, and the US is better for it.

The Satanic Temple deserves the respect of others for its contributions to the health of our country. While the group seems like a joke at first, it has the good of the people in its heart and many quality initiatives to prove it. The U.S. is what it is today because of its individuality and inclusion of others, and The Satanic Temple has a part in trying to keep it that way.

Written by: Alex Motawi — almotawi@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

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