ST JAMES INFIRMARY: THE ONLY SAINT SATANISTS ENDORSE
On October 28 we’re hosting a screening of The Witch at San Francisco’s Vogue Theater as a fundraiser for St James Infirmary.
Note that St James Infirmary is not named after the Catholic Saint James. Although I almost wish it was, because a non sequitur like that doesn’t come along every day.
Instead the name comes from co-founder Margo St James, a onetime prostitute (her term) turned sex worker activist.
St James Infirmary, in its own words, “offers free, confidential, and nonjudgmental medical and social services for current and former sex workers of all genders.”
On the other hand, the Catholic Saint James is just patron saint of Spaniards. Galicia is nice and all, but I feel like I know which of the two has the more interesting CV.
We considered raising money for Planned Parenthood and Lambda Legal, and probably we will in the future. But St James is local, and it’s a one of a kind non-profit.
More importantly, it’s hard not to love St James, both the clinic and the person. Take Margo St James’ comments about stigma in this 1989 interview:
“The word ‘whore’ is used to stigmatize any woman. She could be overweight, dropped out of the church, talk back, dress wrong.
“It’s the example set by the system. If you don’t bow to men, you’ll get what’s coming to you.”
Or her speech at the 1974 Hookers Ball, where she declared, “My goal is the complete decriminalization of sex for human beings.”
And her 1977 comments in the Atlantic, where she said of sex work and taxes: “We won’t pay until the churches do.”
How could any Satanist not love an activist like that?
I’ve had one other St James quote on my mind a lot lately. In a 2013 Bitch interview, she said:
“I’ve always felt that if we couldn’t get the prohibition on sex work repealed we would never hang onto abortion rights. It’s the same piece of property. Our property.”
It seems it always comes back to that: Who wants a literal piece of you?
Of all the Satanic Temple’s Seven Tenets, the one that gets the most play seems to be number three:
“One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”
That should be self-evident, to the point that nobody needs to write it down. Like we don’t have to make a specific rule that says, “Don’t pee into the wind.”
Somehow though, nobody ever seems to get the hint. (About bodily autonomy, that is, the wind thing most folks figure out.)
Take Ed Scott Lloyd, the Catholic extremist and Trump lackey presently holding a teenage girl hostage to prevent her abortion.
In a 2009 blog titled “Bailing Out Abortionists,” Lloyd displayed a breathtaking sense of entitlement about other people:
“I suggest that the American people make a deal with women. So long as you are using the condom or pill I’m providing, you are going to promise not to have an abortion. We can do this by having the woman sign a pledge.”
Lloyd was complaining about federal funding for contraception. Notice his language: “American people” on one hand, “women” on the other. Separate parties, apparently.
The incredible thing about Lloyd’s demand was that he made it with no leverage at all. Abortion and contraception are entirely legal. His “deal” offered women nothing they didn’t have already.
We ought to pelt people like this with frozen diaphragms in the town square. Instead, Lloyd is now one of the most powerful men in America.
Because religious nuts really do think people don’t have any rights over themselves. As creepy Canadian preacher Ron Stone puts it:
“Our body belongs to god. The lord bought us like a master would buy a slave. The price he paid was the sacrifice on the cross.”
By my count, that leaves the devil and St James Infirmary among the few left to testify that you actually belong to yourself. And for that we ask not a sacrifice on a cross, but just the price of a movie ticket next Saturday night.