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Satanists Desperately Seeking Attention Again

The Satanic Temple has started a “campaign” — whatever that is — to demand a religious exemption from state laws that require women seeking abortions be given certain information before being able to get one. A noble cause, to be sure, but this “campaign” does nothing remotely useful. You can see their announcement here.

It’s not at all clear what this “campaign” actually does. They cite the Hobby Lobby ruling as supporting it:

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 “post ­abortion syndrome”, both of which The Satanic Temple view as “scientifically unfounded” and “medically invalid” and therefore an affront to their religious beliefs.

While The Satanic Temple (TST) are not the first organization to criticize the state ­mandated abortion materials as false and/or biased, they are the first to offer an exemption from such materials on religious grounds. TST spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, points out that the controversial Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their cause: “While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby to claim certain contraceptives were abortifacients, when in fact they are not. Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state ­mandated ‘informational’ material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them.”

Greaves explains the process by which this exemption is offered: “We have drawn up a letter for women who are considering an abortion. The letter explains our position and puts the care provider on notice that a failure to respect our call for an exemption from state ­mandated informed consent materials constitutes a violation of our religious liberty. Interested parties can read more at www.thesatanictemple.com/medical­info.” “All women who share our deeply held belief that all their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of The Satanic Temple or not. We merely contend that we are in a unique position to argue the merits of this belief, as it is fundamental to our religious philosophy.”

I certainly agree with the goal. These state-mandated rules are ridiculous and sexist and should be done away with. But will this particular action do any good? No. First of all, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law that the Hobby Lobby ruling was based on that gave them the opportunity to ask for a religious exemption, does not apply to state law. If someone actually tried to assert such an exemption from a state law, the case would be dismissed immediately. This just looks like a group looking for publicity, just like its idiotic “pink mass” over the grave of Fred Phelps’ mother a while back.

Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    Maybe. On the other hand, even if the jurisdiction issues weren’t a problem, the odds of such a campaign being successful are about zilch anyway. But if it were possible in theory yet impossible in practice, we’d probably support it, at least as a positive gesture, right? Does the fact that it’s also impossible in theory really change that? Maybe it does. I dunno, it struck me as a little lame and straw-graspy even before you pointed this out, so maybe it would still be silly. Meh.

  2. says

    I’m willing to tip my hat to them. Best of luck on this endeavor.

    Even though they may not necessarily have the law on their side or do they? This may actually be a good thing in the long run. If they can show that this is a burden upon their religion it may in fact have to change. Just like a Jehovah’s witness having the right to refuse a blood transfusion to save their child’s life.

    Maybe they can provide a legal loophole through the trap laws for women seeking this.

    Don’t get me wrong I agree there is little hope for them to succeed, given their size and lack of representation in the government. But since the mainstream religions seem have fallen off the sanity wagon, it may be the only valid response until we get the batshit crazy people out of government.

  3. says

    These state-mandated rules are ridiculous and sexist and should be done away with.

    They aren’t sexist. The state-mandated rules apply to men getting abortions, too.

  4. zmidponk says

    I’ll take Ed’s word for it about the legal problems, but I think this is rather effective at pointing out the nonsensicality (if that’s even a word) of the ruling giving so much ‘respect’ to the religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby, to the degree where they get an exemption from certain laws and regulations which they believe contravene their religious views, even when that belief is based on something that is simply not true – unless you repeal, alter or simply ignore the First Amendment, if you start providing such exemptions for one religious belief, you have to start providing them for others as well, which could lead to rather large holes being punched through all sorts of laws.

  5. dharleyman says

    Now if the Satanists really wanted to do something useful, they would show up whenever a group of Christians are protesting a Planned Parenethood Clinic and protest with them against abortions. The cognitive dissonance of working with Satanists would cause the Christians to never protest again after only a few events.

  6. says

    dharleyman “The cognitive dissonance of working with Satanists would cause the Christians to never protest again after only a few events.”
    Hardly. They’d get “Safe Zone” laws passed, forcing the Satanist protesters to be no closer than 35 feet away from their protest, which is right by the door because sluts and whores don’t need a protective zone. And, “…in a 5-4 decision today, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the Religous Freedom Safety bill…”.

  7. anubisprime says

    No one else seems remotely bothered to actually ‘challenge’ xtian hypocrisy…good luck to them even if they fail, which seems probable, it at least raises the debate into the sunlight!

    Xtians get away with so much garbage because everyone seemingly tiptoes around the little precious ones for fear of giving offence to their fatuous delusions, about time someone called them out and demonstrated that what is good for the goose tickles the gander as well!

  8. Artor says

    The Satanic Temple are master-level trolls, and they’re fighting the good fight. They’re the ones who stepped up and offered their religious monument in OK. Lucien Greaves is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state. He might be a little off-base legally here, but his point is not to achieve anything, but rather to illustrate how ridiculous & hypocritical the Hobby Lobby decision was. I don’t usually have much use for Satanists, but I’d happily smoke a bowl with Lucien.

  9. says

    anubisprime says 8:I’m against religion having the right to alter laws to their whim, unfortunately until they are not the voting majority and the those in office representing the majority, I really see no way around the inevitable. I do hope it throws a monkey wrench into the works but the given the inconsistency of those in government to follow the very laws they swore to uphold, they will protect their precious religion and condemn any that threatens to take that away including other religions that don’t have their political might. It would be awesome if this was a Buddhist push, first they couldn’t deny that they are far larger religion and carry far reaching influence. It would pit religion against religion and the government would have to decide which is right, but we’re talking about a religion that relies on the stigma of the other religion to legitimize it. (I know that they are representing Satan as the opposer, not necessarily the biblical literal version. But to oppose, the opposition must exist. It is in this way that they are bound to each other.)

  10. says

    Just a quick follow up, I don’t in any way mean that we shouldn’t try to oppose those who are doing these actions, I just agree here that there is little if any chance of any real success. Most Christians are going to ignore them by name alone and not even consider the implications.

  11. says

    Modus@4, if there’s one thing reading about fanfiction that deals with male pregnancy has taught me, it’s that pregnant men never get abortions.

  12. anteprepro says

    A group looking publicity? I see it more as a loud, political “argumentum ad absurdum”. An illustration of the door that the ruling has now left open. Basically, they are not so much after publicity as much as they just want to troll the wingnuts. Because, ya know, Satanism.

  13. loren says

    What, exactly, is the Temple asking for exemption *from*?

    Per their own press release, “informed consent” laws impose requirements upon abortion providers. Not employers. So even if one were to assume, for the sake of argument, that some state-level version of the RFRA applied in an informed-consent state, what would the Temple be claiming is an imposition on the Temple’s exercise of its beliefs?

  14. garnetstar says

    I agree with the commentators who see this group as excellent trolls/performance artists who aren’t trying to accomplish anything except helping to abolish state-sanctioned religious nonsense by reductio ad absurbam. Or rather, by demonstrating the logical consequences of such laws, and driving home to christians why we need separation of church and state.

  15. garnetstar says

    @14, I think they’re requesting exemption from laws that require providers to give patients false information like “Abortion will give you breast cancer” and such. They claim it’s against their religious beliefs that require accepting only scientifically-supported information. The claim is that Satanist women’s sincerely-held beliefs are violated by forcing them to listen to pseudoscience.

  16. says

    by demonstrating the logical consequences of such laws, and driving home to christians why we need separation of church and state

    Yep. I think what they’re doing is brilliant – using “satan” just wads up the christians undergarments like nobody’s business. They were able to laugh off the Flying Spaghetti Monster (cheese be upon him!) but Darth Vader, um, satan? They can’t ignore it. It’s the finest sort of trolling – the kind where the victims self-select.

  17. loren says

    @16 – That’s the only interpretation I can muster, but if that’s the case, then it just further establishes that the Temple hasn’t really thought through its trolling argument here.

    Because even accepting, for the moment, that the patient receiving the information would be a violation of the woman’s sincerely-held beliefs, how does that violate the *Temple’s* religious freedom? In the case of Hobby Lobby, it was because the company was ultimately responsible for the cost of the objectionable service being provided. And that’s not the case with handing someone a pamphlet.

    Now if, say, the state had a law mandating that a patient have a waiting period followed by a second visit, then *maybe* the cost incurred by that second visit could be construed as an imposition on the company’s religious exercise. But as it stands now, it really seems to me that the Temple hasn’t thought through their own thought experiment.

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