Satanists for Abortion Rights ... and Other Legal News You May Have Missed
More From the Satanists
The Satanic Temple grabbed a few headlines back in July with a legal victory of sorts in their home state of Massachusetts, where they seek equal opportunity with established religions to give invocations at Boston City Council meetings.
Now, though, they have emerged in Texas, where they are weighing in on the Lone Star State's tough new anti-abortion law. Specifically, the organization argues that Temple members have a right to abortion in Texas as a matter of religious freedom.
The Satanists are an IRS-recognized, nontheistic church claiming to have 300,000 members, and they are not shy about filing lawsuits. They sued Texas over the abortion law and also sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration claiming its members should have access to the abortion pills Misoprostol and Mifepristone for religious use through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRA, you may recall, is the law that allows Native Americans to use peyote for religious rituals.
In particular, the Temple says that the Texas law runs afoul of the Temple's own "Satanic abortion ritual," which the organization announced more than a year ago, in August 2020. The group argues that under RFRA, they should have the same rights as Native Americans in having access to abortion pills for their own religious purposes.
Café's Anti-Mask Ploy Gets Shot Down
Can a restaurant avoid a local mask requirement by becoming a "private club"? Officials in Jackson County, Missouri, say no.
Rae's Café, in Blue Springs, had defied a county masking order that was issued on Aug. 6, as COVID-19 cases escalated in the Kansas City area. This drew the attention of county officials, who issued warnings to the café. The café's owner, Amanda Wohletz, responded by turning the establishment into a private club with $1 annual membership fees and a no-mask requirement.
On Sept. 10, the café was forcibly shut down when Jackson County Circuit Court Judge James Kanatzar issued a temporary restraining order to halt the operation. That day, two signs appeared outside the café. One read, "Rae's Café is NOT open to the public." The second said, "Our authority comes from GOD."
The next day, supporters of the restaurant held a rally in the parking lot of the strip mall where it is located. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt attended, saying Wohletz was a victim of "local government overreach."
The temporary restraining order remains in effect for 21 days.
Meanwhile, Deep in the Heart of Texas …
Everyone knows about the new Texas anti-abortion law, but here are a few more Texas laws that went into effect on Sept. 1:
- SB 4, Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act. Any professional sports team that has a contract with the Texas state government is now required to play the National Anthem before the start of any contest.
- HB1239, Ban on Church Closures. Inspired by public orders to close churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, HB 1239 now prohibits any state official or agency from doing so.
- HB 3979, Critical Race Theory. The teaching of critical race theory, which examines race as a systemic part of American society, is now banned in Texas schools.
- SB 968, Vaccine Passport Bill. Businesses are now banned from requiring "vaccine passports" or any vaccine information.
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