Last week U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks chose not to dismiss a lawsuit by The Satanic Temple over a set of pro-abortion billboards that the atheist organization wanted to place near pregnancy resource centers in Fayetteville, Springdale, and Little Rock.

In September of 2020 Lamar Media Corporation rejected four designs for billboards that falsely claimed The Satanic Temple’s “religious abortion ritual averts many state restrictions” on abortion.

One of the proposed billboards claimed pregnancy complications are the sixth most common cause of death among women between the ages of 20 and 34, concluding that “abortions save lives.”

Arkansas’s pro-life laws do not contain exceptions for any “religious abortion ritual,” and courts have not recognized a religious right to abortion.

As a result, Lamar reportedly rejected the billboard designs for being “misleading and offensive.”

Last February the organization filed a federal lawsuit against Lamar in Arkansas.

Among other things, the lawsuit argues that “[the Satanic Temple] holds the view that some abortion restrictions substantially interfere with its religious beliefs. Particularly, abortion restrictions . . . interfere with [the group’s tenets regarding] bodily autonomy and . . . [are] not grounded in science.”

According to court documents, The Satanic Temple also alleges that rejecting the billboards is a form of religious discrimination.

Lamar’s attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the Western District of Arkansas is not the proper venue for the court case and that the Satanic Temple has not suffered enough damages to warrant the lawsuit. However, last week Judge Brooks decided not to dismiss the case.

It’s worth pointing out that the Satanic Temple is an atheist organization with a history of stirring up controversy in Arkansas.

The group has opposed Arkansas’ monument honoring the Ten Commandments and is part of a lawsuit to have the monument removed from the capitol grounds.

In August of 2018 the Satanic Temple held a small protest in front of the State Capitol, and parked a flatbed trailer holding a 7½-foot statue of baphomet — a satanic figure — in front of the Capitol Building.

The Satanic Temple had previously threatened to put the baphomet monument on the capitol grounds itself. However, nothing ever came of the threat, because monuments require legislative approval.

The Satanic Temple has unsuccessfully tried to persuade federal courts to recognize abortion as a religious ritual. So far courts have refused to do so.