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The Satanic Temple

Guest Article

Abortion, Lawsuits, The Satanic Temple

July 13, 2023

Why did TST lose its federal abortion case in Texas?

Because The Satanic Temple is very bad at court cases.

We’ve said it before, and we will no doubt have many occasions to say it again in the future.

This article goes through the judge’s opinion in some depth to show why that judge is not a “doddering old fool”, as TST’s owner claimed in response to the judgment against them, but rather how The Satanic Temple fails its donors and supporters again and again with sloppy or intentionally threadbare legal work.

If you’re looking for a shorter explanation, “The Satanic Temple is malicious but also incredibly incompetent” is sufficient in general for most things — but keep in mind that that’s doubly true in a space with an eventual requirement of evidence for claims, with standards of basic decorum, and of course where “technicalities” require one to actually know and cite the law accurately to succeed.

Litigation is supposed to be where TST excels, after all — the arena on which so much of TST’s mythical efficacy rests — and their supposed proficiency is supposed to justify hundreds of grand in unaccounted charitable donations to TST every year from around the country just to facilitate their ability to bring suits.

But when you actually look behind the curtain, and examine their courtroom performance as it actually exists on record and not merely in their childish press releases, TST comes off less as a group of canny but unorthodox legal strategists, and more as a clown car of snake oil salesmen with an at best hypothetical grasp on the law as it exists.

Lucien Greaves as a snake oil salesman
“As a federally-recognized religion, The Satanic Temple utilizes Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and the Hobby Lobby precedent to protect its members from unnecessary abortion regulations that inhibit their religious practices…”

But even that falls a bit short here.

Matt Kezhaya explaining why every single judge and opposing counsel in the country is incompetent, corrupt, and biased against him and The Satanic Temple specifically (2022, colorized)

What began as The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Hellerstedt (also known as “Ann Doe I” or the “satanic abortion loophole” case) ends with TST getting roasted for being sloppy and lazy in its filings but raising hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way.

If you remember back to September 2021 or much of 2022, The Satanic Temple was being held by popular press as a beacon for religious liberty challenged to abortion and “the last best hope” for abortion access.

Salon article: Why Satanists may be the last, best hope to save abortion rights in Texas
The "nontheistic" organization joins the fray with a last-ditch legal maneuver to save abortion rights in Texas
Salon headline from Sep. 4, 2021: “Why Satanists may be the last, best hope to save abortion rights in Texas: The ‘nontheistic’ organization joins the fray with a last-ditch legal maneuver to save abortion rights in Texas”

There will be no follow up from those same reporters or outlets.

That lack of followup consistently works in the Temple’s favor, allowing it to launder a reputation as cheeky legal geniuses by word of mouth and sheer inertia.

Let’s lift the curtain and show what actually happened, as we understand it.

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