The Satanic Temple (TST) brought suit in federal court against a billboard advertising company for religious discrimination for refusing to put up billboards in Arkansas that promoted awareness of the “Satanic Abortion Ritual.”
TST claims that it contracted with Lamar Media Corporation to put up billboards in September and October 2020 to promote the “Satanic Abortion Ritual.” According to the suit, the ritual “includes the abortive procedure into the above-described sacramental act that confirms bodily autonomy and the adherence to scientific supremacy, wards off the effects of unjust persecution, and reasserts as ideals the dual paths of reason and confidence.”
The group attempted to argue against government limitations on abortion and promote a “free exercise” of religion claim based on the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. To overcome the argument that abortion is primarily a secular act, the TST argued that its “Abortion Ritual” is predominantly religious.
In all fairness, TST does not believe that it is worshipping “the devil,” but its members participate in rituals that do not necessarily require faith in a higher power. TST says it is “a nontheistic branch of Satanism.”
While some other groups have informally argued that abortion rights implicate the free exercise clause, The Satanic Temple is one of the first to make a formal religious argument in favor of abortion.
The Satanic Temple v. Lamar Media Company was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Arkansas on February 25, 2022.