Satanists Seek Hobby Lobby Exemption

     (CN) - A group of Satanists claims their followers are exempt from informed-consent abortion laws, citing the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling that frees closely held companies from funding insurance for contraceptives due to the owners' religious objections.
     The New York-based Satanic Temple claims that state laws that require abortion providers to give patients materials about the procedures are biased to dissuade women against the procedure.
     "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," the group said in a statement Monday.
     "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."
     Satanic Temple followers believe "the body is inviolable - subject to one's own will alone" and that they "strive to make all decisions regarding personal health based on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others."
     The Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters the group's cause, TST spokesman Lucien Greaves said in the statement.
     "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 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."
     The Satanic Temple made headlines in January when it asked the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission for permission to erect a 7-foot-tall statute of a goat-headed Satan near the state capitol.
     The group pointed out that the Oklahoma City Council had erected a Ten Commandments monument nearby.
     The Satanic Temple's design depicts Satan as Baphomet - a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a beard - sitting on a pentagram throne with two smiling children standing beside him.
     "The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond," Greaves said at the time.
     He added: "The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation."
     The temple claimed that the Oklahoma Legislature's approval of the privately funded Ten Commandments monument opened the door for it to erect its statue.