When an advertising company refused to post ads on its billboards offering advice on how to get abortions, the Satanic Temple responded with a lawsuit claiming the censorship infringed on its religious freedom since abortion was “a sacramental act.”
Satanic Temple Ritual Bypasses Abortion Laws
The Satanic Temple based in Salem, Massachusetts contacted Lamar Advertising based in Louisiana. The Satanic Temple wanted to advertise what the group calls its “religious abortion ritual” which it describes as a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy.” The Temple submitted five designs to Lamar for display on eight billboards in Arkansas and Indiana. Lamar initially accepted the proposal after being informed that the message was “pro-reproductive rights.”
The billboards, strategically positioned near centers that performed abortions, informed people on how to claim abortion as a religious ritual in order to circumvent waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds, and other measures that some states require before an abortion can be performed. The performance of this ritual exempts members from complying with many state regulations. According to their website, “The ritual involves the recitation of two of our tenets and a personal affirmation that is ceremoniously intertwined with the abortion.”
One of the designs depicted a bowl of cake batter is shown with the text, “not a cake,” next to an image of a sperm and egg with the text “not a baby.” It’s accompanied by text saying, “Our religious abortion ritual averts many state restrictions.” All of the designs contain imagery from the Satanic Temple which features Baphomet, a depiction of Satan with the head of a goat.
Lamar rejected the designs as “misleading and offensive.” Lamar’s contract states that they may reject or remove any billboard that is not “in good taste and in line with the moral standards of the individual communities in which it is to be displayed.”
In their legal claim against Lamar, the Satanic Temple claims the rejection of their designs constitutes religious discrimination as per the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA’s) nationally-applicable laws. The Satanic Temple also claimed that Lamar acted in bad faith and has deprived them of the ability to advertise its religious abortion ritual as Lamar holds a monopoly over much of the US billboard market.
Satanic Temple: Abortion as Social Justice or Idolaty’s Modern Face?
The Satanic Temple claims to be non-theistic despite using Satanic imagery which it claims promotes its agenda of egalitarianism, social justice, and the separation of church and state. They describe Satan as a symbol representing “the eternal rebel” against arbitrary authority and social norms.
The Satanic Temple’s fascination with abortion belies its roots in idolatry. Ba’al, worshipped by the Mesopotamians, was a major influence in ancient times. Mentioned more than 90 times in the Bible, most notably when Elijah defeated the priests of Ba’al in a contest to bring down fire from heaven to burn a sacrifice, Ba’al became the archetypical form of idol worship. Followers of Ba’al engaged in bisexual orgies and sacrificed human infants, burning them alive. Pantheistic, they worshipped Mother Nature while denying the existence of a creator.
Founded in 2012, TST claims to have more than 300,000 members worldwide. Based on eight Fundamental Tenets, the Satanic Temple is a strong advocate of abortion which is enshrined in the third tenet that states that “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” They claim that “in accordance with best scientific evidence, The Satanic Temple religiously objects to many of the restrictions that states have enacted that interfere with abortion access.”
Ironically, the Satanic Temple also has a “Protect the Children Project” and an after-school program.