Why the Satanists’ Plan to Use Hobby Lobby Exemptions Won’t Work
Many religions believe in some version of “what goes around comes around.” So it seems appropriate that Satanists can demand the same religious liberty exemptions that the Supreme Court recently gave Hobby Lobby.
The Satanic Temple has a simple argument. If the Supreme Court believes religious beliefs trump scientific fact, then religious beliefs which are based on scientific fact should also pass muster. Since the Satanic Temple believes that individual liberty is important, informed consent laws violate the Satanist’s religious beliefs because those laws require women to listen to false information before they can obtain an abortion. Of course, the Satanists believes all women who support abortion should be exempt from informed consent laws, so the Temple has drafted a letter that women can present to their doctors when the woman wants an abortion.
The Satanists’ Plan Won’t Work
I appreciate the effort that the Satanic Temple has put into this plan, but the anti-abortion campaign suffers from a number of flaws. First, it’s not that religious beliefs trump scientific fact. Judges do not question the sincerity of the parties’ beliefs, no matter how absurd those beliefs sound. The rule is necessary, even if it seems stupid. Imagine if there was a divorced couple fighting over whether their young child should be baptized. Courts want the attorneys to argue about the rights of the parents and child, not whether baptism will increase ones chances of going to heaven or whether heaven even exists. The last thing we want is judges deciding which beliefs are valid and which beliefs are full of it.
Second, judges won’t exempt women from laws based on religious beliefs the women don’t hold. If a woman seriously wants an exemption based on Satanic beliefs, the woman must hold those beliefs. It would be extremely ironic if Hobby Lobby’s legacy is a mass conversion to Satanism. However, a pregnant woman seeking an abortion might have enough things to worry about without trying to convert to a new religion.
Third, Hobby Lobby extends the right to exercise religion to closely held corporations. Unless a pregnant woman who wants an abortion works for a corporation whose owners belong to the Satanic Temple, the decision won’t exempt individuals. Indeed, there was another Supreme Court in 1990 which held that states didn’t have to accommodate every religious belief. The irony coming from Hobby Lobby is as thick as San Francisco’s fog cover. The Bills of Rights are supposed to be individual rights, but the Supreme Court has twisted the First Amendment such that fictional people have more religious liberty than real individuals. No wonder people are turning to Satanists for help.