It should come as no surprise that The Satanic Temple (TST) is not keen on the Christianity-loving Hobby Lobby ruling. What is making news is its decision to seek its own exception from federal health-care laws. The temple believes the body is "inviolable, subject to one's will alone," and that forcing women to participate in mandatory pre-abortion counseling violates this principle. So where's its exception from legal authority?
Here's something I never thought I'd say: I kind of see where The Satanic Temple is coming from here. It's no secret that many pre-abortion counseling sessions make women feel guilty and spread false information. Nor is it refutable that these sessions are a violation of a person's right to control their own body. In a statement, TST explained its position as thus:
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.
Wow. Can I write that backwards on Justice Alito's face so that he's forced to see it every time he looks in the mirror?
Do the Satanists Have a Point?
Let's get one thing out of the way: Atheistic Satanists do not perceive Satan as a deity. They are not the old people from Rosemary's Baby. Instead, Satan—as he was depicted in Paradise Lost and whatnot—is seen more as a symbol of rebellion than a purely evil figure. The temple's beliefs roughly translate to: Suffering is bad, empathy is good. Oh, and people should take responsibility for their own mistakes. So nothing too crazy, actually. Also, a religion doesn't necessarily have to be centered around a deity (or deities) to be recognized. (Party on, Buddhists!)
So why can't this religion have its principles protected like Hobby Lobby's were? Obviously, part of it has to do with Satanists having a less-than sterling reputation in this heavily Christian country. But more than that, it's because the Hobby Lobby was never really about religion at all; it was about corporate power. Indeed, the company ranks #135 out of America's largest corporations. This means it ranks below Hallmark, but above Petco. So basically, TST needs corporate money to succeed. Without that, the government will surely tell The Satanic Temple to, well, go to hell.