Evangelical Christians have such a long list of the things they hate, one wonders where their hatred of the U.S. Constitution, science, every other religion, or Jesus Christ measures up to their hatred of Satan. Whether or not one believes in the ultimate enemy of god, and seriously evil fallen angel, there is a “religion” that adopted Satan’s name although their ideology is much closer to the teachings of Jesus Christ than evangelical Christians, or a mythological bad guy no human has ever seen. Although it is certainly a “religion” that strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of evangelical fundamentalists, Satanism is founded on “deeply held religious beliefs” as “closely-held” as those of Hobby Lobby’s owners and several other closely-held corporations that won the right to claim their religious liberty exempted them from adhering to a federal law.
Now, a Satanic Temple based in New York is demanding a religious exemption based on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling that allowed artificial legal instruments (corporations) to eliminate contraceptives from employee’s prescription plans because they contravene the corporation’s deeply-held religious beliefs. Where the evangelical corporations are using their religious liberty to deny a woman’s right to decide, with their physician, their reproductive health choices, the Satanists are using their religious liberty to defend women from “pernicious encroachment of informed consent laws” regarding abortion, and to assert their religious freedom from the “burden of state-mandated religious informational abortion materials.”
According to a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, Lucian Greaves, “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 believes that when the Supreme Court allowed corporations that pray and sing hymns to god to define contraceptives as abortion, the 5 conservative Catholic justices placed Hobby Lobby’s religious exemptions above all know medical scientific definitions. According to the Satanists, “what’s good for contraceptives, is good for anti-abortion laws,” and they are rightly concerned that their members, and women in general, are victims of several state laws requiring physicians to force women seeking an abortion to listen to state-mandated evangelical lies and propaganda about the dangers of terminating a pregnancy.
On Monday, the Satanic Temple released a press statement outlining its intent to use its deeply-held religious beliefs to assist women, whose bodies Satanists believe are “inviolable and subject to one’s own will alone” to make their “own decisions regarding personal health based on the best scientific understanding, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others.” The Temple also warned evangelicals that “this is but the first campaign in a series of Women’s Health initiatives the Satanic Temple intend to make public in the near future.”
To further aid women seeking an abortion, the Temple posted a letter on its website women can present to their doctors explaining that the evangelical propaganda and unscientific lies included in the “informed consent process violates their deeply held religious beliefs.” The letter also comes in the form of a T-shirt women can wear, and doctors can read, before they force women to sit through state-mandated religious propaganda about abortion.
It is important to remember that evangelical Christians and Catholics attempted to use Hobby Lobby to intimidate President Obama into giving religious organizations seeking federal contracts free rein to discriminate against gays and employees who do not share their religious convictions. President Obama was not impressed, or intimidated, and adhered to the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all Americans. When evangelical leaders cited Hobby Lobby as proof the President had to give “deference to the Christian prerogative,” they forfeited the right to claim the Hobby Lobby ruling is exclusive to religious corporations withholding contraceptives from their female employees’ prescription plans. Indeed, Justice Alito wrote for the majority opinion that the ruling “should” be narrowly applied to evangelical corporations that abhor birth control they regard as abortion, and like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her fiery dissent, the Satanic Temple understands the ruling was a broad statement that “deeply held religious beliefs” trump state and federal laws; except taxes.
The conservative Supreme Court may have thought their gift to evangelicals would go unnoticed by other organizations with “deeply held religious beliefs” because it specifically targeted American women, and shortly thereafter the LGBT community. However, they clearly underestimated the high esteem most Americans hold women regardless of evangelical fanatics biblical belief that women are relegated to subservience to Catholic and religious right fundamentalists’ dogma that their “religion trumps women’s right to ‘consequence free’ sex.” Obviously, Satanists are not going to sit idly by and allow one fanatical group to impose its religion on women, particularly when a woman’s health is at stake. Their support is welcomed and deserves high praise for joining the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights with a clear plan using the High Court’s absurd ruling.
According to the Satanic Temple, its mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice. As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, lead by example, and to participate public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists we all should be guided by our conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by our conscience and individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.” The Satanist’s mission is undoubtedly the immortal declaration of Thomas Jefferson that all mankind possesses “unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Satanists’ mission is also closely aligned with Jesus Christ’s teachings of “benevolence and empathy among all people” and in that sense, they are inordinately more Christian than the extremist religious right fanatics.
Obviously, evangelical fundamentalists do not, and can not, abide by Jefferson’s “immortal declaration” any more than they respect the self-determination of women to decide when they give birth; now women have another advocate for their right to decide their own reproductive health. However, unlike most women’s advocates, Satanists who have joined the battle against the GOP and religious right’s war against women, they are unafraid to stand up against and cite the source of the vicious assault on American women; evangelical fanatics and Republican-led states. Thank dog for Satanists and their “deeply-held religious beliefs” that defending women’s health is a noble pursuit and just the beginning of a campaign in a series of Women’s Health issues.
Image: Satanic Temple