Now, Satanists Want Their Hobby Lobby Rights — Thanks A Lot, Supreme Court
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which granted the arts and crafts chain a religious exemption from covering contraceptives in employee health insurance plans, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a dire warning: "The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield." Well, now maybe the court's conservative justices will agree — after Hobby Lobby, a Satanic church is demanding exemption from pre-abortion consultation laws.
The Satanic Temple, also behind efforts to place a statue of the goat-man Baphomet in the Oklahoma state capitol, has come out publicly in saying they don't think such laws should apply to them, as they're in violation of their faith principles.
Their argument, in simple terms, is that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in spite of the fact — scientific fact, as it happens — that contraceptives they oppose were not abortifacients. Hobby Lobby's tacit argument was that a religious belief that Plan B (for example) was an abortion-inducing drug trumped the scientific reality that it simply isn't. The Court effectively agreed with this view in their ruling, which is why Ginsburg foresaw exactly what's been happening since — myriad institutions, groups and entities demanding the same stridently-enforced religious rights as the court decided to give a corporation.
In the case of the Satanic Temple, as Salon points out, both science and medicine are held up as paramount to their beliefs. A Monday press release explained their thinking.
Informed consent bills requiring abortion providers to give their patients official “informational” material regarding the procedure have been criticized in the past for providing biased and false information to women in a bald effort at dissuading them from abortions. Such materials have included claims of a link between abortion and breast cancer, as well as claims regarding a depressive “postabortion syndrome”, both of which The Satanic Temple view as “scientifically unfounded” and “medically invalid” and therefore an affront to their religious beliefs.
In other words, this is a careful-what-you-wish-for moment for proponents of the Supreme Court's ruling, at least, that is, if you oppose abortion. If the argument carries any weight, pro-choice advocates who've long wanted to see such laws done away with (35 states currently mandate these pre-abortion consultations) could actually end up with something to cheer out of Hobby Lobby.
But in all sincerity, it's hard to see that happening. There's an unavoidable possibility of anti-Satanist prejudice in play, here. America is over 70 percent Christian, and Christianity is famously not too high on Satan. It's why, when faced with the aforementioned goat-man statue as a counter to a Ten Commandments display at the Oklahoma capitol, Gov. Mary Fallin's spokesperson can be quoted by Reuters saying something like this.
There will never be a satanic monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol, and the suggestion that there might be is absurd.
See? Never mind the legal and constitutional issues of enshrining one religion over another — as Satan's a Biblical character himself, actually mandating one interpretation of a particular holy book — it's absurd, and will never happen, because ... because.
This is one big potential danger of the Satanic Temple's public embrace of pro-choice values — if people don't take it seriously, it could free up opponents of abortion to smear women's reproductive rights advocacy as some kind of Satanic occult ritualism. For the time being, however, all that is too early to tell. But if the Satanic Temple ever got a case to the Supreme Court, you can probably reckon devout Catholic Antonin Scalia won't be sympathetic.
Images: Getty Images, SignsOfThyComing/YouTube