BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, the Satanic Temple of Ohio said its seen its membership grow exponentially.
“If you are a rebel, you don’t fit in, you don’t align with the beliefs and ideals that the people around you tell you that you should align and believe with, many would refer to you as a Satanist,” said Boardman resident and Ohio Congregation of the Satanic Temple member Kyle McCullough.
McCullough joined the Satanic Temple about three years ago and said there are many misconceptions about his religion.
“Hear frequently the first thing that comes to mind, a lot of people is sacrificing kittens and we’ve got cats everywhere. Actually, you know, one of our regions does animal shelter volunteering on a regular basis,” McCullough said.
Since late June, the temple has seen its numbers grow much more quickly than before the SCOTUS decision on Roe.
“We’d average about two to three applications or so a week through our application, through our group page — after you know, Roe, that jumped to anywhere from 15-20 a week,” McCullough said.
Members of the Satanic Temple believe in seven fundamental tenets – not unlike Christianity’s 10 commandments.
The third is about bodily autonomy and states, “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”
“They put together an abortion ritual per say, which is basically just stating it’s an abortion that within Satanic communities, within the Satanic Temple, is a protected religious act,” McCullough said.
He said this religious protection is similar to how other religions are protected by the First Amendment.
“The Hobby Lobby stuff with the contraception stuff like that, those are their protected religious freedoms that they should have protected by law — abortion is the same within the Satanic Temple,” McCullough said.
He said Satanists don’t worship the devil or even believe in Satan.
“We simply view the character of Satan as a literary figure that stands against arbitrary authority — we see the government with this like Roe v Wade or with, you know, the abortion stuff and all the abortion bills being pushed as being arbitrary authority, them pushing an agenda of pushing their beliefs upon a group of people that may not — they may not agree with it,” McCullough said.
When WKBN asked him what he would say to the belief that abortion is sacrificing children, McCullough said “The fact that’s there’s no scientific evidence that you can compare and call a fetus a baby.”
The Satanic Temple vets new members to make sure they don’t plan to do members harm and that they believe in their seven tenets.