The Satanic Temple takes Lamar Advertising in an Arkansas state court, United States of America (USA) to court after the agency refused to display billboards suggesting abortion is a “ritual”.
The Temple’s ground for litigation is religious discrimination.
Eight billboards are not being displayed in Arkansas and Indiana, according to the plaintiff.
The billboards describe a ritual as a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy’.
If a woman completes the ritual, she may claim a religious exemption from mandatory waiting periods, checkups and counseling that some states require before an abortion.
Controversially, the billboards were to be displayed near pro-life pregnancy centers.
In one billboard design, a bowl of cake batter is shown with the text, “not a cake.” A second image on the billboard is of a sperm and an egg with the text, “not a baby.”
The proposed billboard says: “Our religious abortion ritual averts many state restrictions”.
In another proposed billboard, a woman holds a tiny Adolf Hitler with the text, “What if abortion had been an option?”
Lamar rejected the designs, on the grounds that they were “misleading and offensive”.
But TST has argued that a Satanic ritual is a religious right that may be exempt from state laws and regulations.
The group affirmed that: “TST bases its assertions of abortion mandate exemptions on the protections provided by State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or RFRA, which generally prohibits the government from substantially interfering with a person’s free exercise of religion”.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said though it is understandable to be concerned with forcing a private entity to engage in speech or conduct it objects to but that the scenario in question is different.
Greaves indicated that the agency had initially agreed to work with them, insinuating that their rejection then appears to be religiously based.