This Week in God

By Steve Benen

First up from the God Machine this week is a story about one faith group that appears eager to take the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling in a new direction – one the ruling’s defenders probably aren’t going to like.

The Satanic Temple has launched a campaign seeking religious exemption from laws that restrict access to abortions, citing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

The group, which “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” argues that states’ “informed consent” laws violate its religious freedom.

In a press statement, the Satanic Temple’s spokesperson, Lucien Graves, said the recent ruling from the high court’s conservative justices, based on a specific approach to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, offers a unique opportunity.

“While we feel we have a strong case for 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,” Graves said. “Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that 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.”

In effect, the Satanic Temple is saying it can follow the trail blazed by Hobby Lobby to object to anti-abortion provisions in several states.

19 COMMENTS

    • The Satanic Temple is basically saying that the anti-abortion laws put in place, like “informed consent” [where the abortion provider is required to inform the woman about her legal rights, alternatives to abortion (such as adoption), available public and private assistance, and medical facts (some of which are disputed), before the abortion is performed (usually 24 hours in advance of the abortion)] are against their religious beliefs, therefore according to the Hobby Lobby ruling, they should be exempt from these anti-abortion laws.

  1. Not quite sure how I feel about:

    The group, which “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” argues that states’ “informed consent” laws violate its religious freedom.

    Lumping secularists with satanists together, separated only by a comma, will I am sure, give the xtians a tub to thump about the “evil atheists, and how they are devil worshipers in disguise.”

    The “advocates for individual liberty” get lumped in too, which is a trifle odd, because that is what the right wing rabbits on about non stop, in their Sarah Palin type rants about big government.

    Politics makes strange bed-fellows, to be sure.

    • I’d like to think that eventually, we will be lumped in with Satanists. I suspect in about 10 years people will have become desensitized to the word Satan. The atheistic Satanist groups (there are theistic Satanists- basically deluded assholes) are mostly libertarian and use the character of Satan as the adversary. Originally, Satan was the adversary of non-sensible religious dictates.
      Most Satanists that I’m familiar with have this at the heart of their philosophy: God says “nature” is essentially wicked (i.e. satanic) but we Satanists believe that “nature” is all there is, and is neither good nor evil. It just is.
      FYI, I’m not a Satanist, although I once for fun toyed with the idea.

      • You might not realize this but most Satanists are actually atheists not even acknowledging Satan as a god or deity. Instead THEY are THEIR OWN GOD. That is a what a REAL Satanist believes in…HIMSELF AS A GOD or godlike in their own way.

        • WOW, this sounds just like christians – he's not a TRUE christian. How can a Satanist be an Atheist if a Satanist believes "THEY are THEIR OWN GOD" and Atheists don't believe in god/s. "That is a what a REAL Satanist believes", not to be confused with a fake Satanist, or imaginary Satanist, or a pretend Satanist.

  2. Actually, from what I saw in The Satanic Temple website, they seem to be more like parody satanists. Perhaps made especially to piss off Christians. They seem ideologically closer to liberalists, secularists and humanists. I think they’re comparable to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  3. Who did Satan ever kill ? Apart from those few on God’s direct orders !

    Of course Yaweh had to flood the bloody world to kill off the millions of sinners and pretty much everything else. What an exercise in futility, it didn’t work ! And the blood sacrifice of Son Jesus didn’t seem to do much good either !

    Standing up to autocratic rule, – seems to me Satan is the good guy (in the fiction book).

  4. I delved into formal satanic religion at one point. The one this group follows has a few basic tenants. Mainly the self wants to be destructive and the world will try to stop you. In that sense Satan is an opposer and is represented by destructive ideas internally and externally. By recognizing bad thought and removing external problems you can obtain freedom and prosperity. Groups that form under these idea generally call themselves secular, aethiest, or agnostic satanists. They don’t have rituals or rites. They don’t try to hurt others. The Satan part is more of a joke to separate themselves from Christians. They treat religion like it’s a gang war. They don’t like blind obedience and they love science, usually paying more then enough to scientific research that they incorporate all of it into their “sermons”. Most groups don’t have an official leader and at a service anyone can stand and discuss their problems or bring forth some new revelation (as in a new scientific finding in layman’s terms, or something they heard about). Anything is up for discussion etc etc. They don’t associate with theistic satanists as they see these groups as deluded, obnoxious, and committing criminal and evil acts. All considered there’s probably several that read this site and others that most atheists visit. Maybe one will comment on their own group…

  5. Devil worshippers are the funniest clowns in the ring of religious freaks. I am proudly atheist, but I don’t make a point of bringing it up, unless I am asked! I avoid conflict and pointless debate from the religious zealots!

  6. What is funny is now that groups like Hobby Lobby has opened the door for discrimination or exemption based on religious views, they will try and fight things like this because its not their flavor of religion. Sorry ass holes, you opened the flood gates, now take your medicine.

  7. It won’t work. The SCOTUS decisions was based off a law congress passed preventing federal laws from being onerous where state laws are exempt. Abortion laws are typically done by the state. While I am glad to see someone using this ruling against the people who made this mess, this is the wrong way to do it.

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