A federal judge rejected a convicted inmate's request to have a copy of Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible inside his cell at an Illinois prison on Monday.
Kevin Halfmann, who is serving time inside the Centralia Correctional Center for predatory criminal sexual assault, filed the request even though the book has been banned by Illinois prisons for more than 20 years.
Illinois officials had previously determined that the book has a potential to incite hatred and violence.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson rejected Halfmann’s petition after hearing the case during a one-day trial, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Wilkerson cited security concerns as reason for the rejection.
Terri Anderson of the state Department of Corrections told the court specific parts of The Satanic Bible seemed to promote hatred and violence.
"For instance, a passage reads: 'If a man smite thee on one cheek, smash him on the other,'" Anderson said.
Halfmann, who is an atheist, said he needed the book to practice his religion, the Post-Dispatch reported. He claimed that the Illinois Department of Corrections had denied his constitutional rights by not allowing him a copy of LaVey’s book based on satanism.
Halfmann testified that practicing his religion primarily meant following the ritual of "self-happiness" and having fun on the main holidays such as “one's birthday and around Halloween,” according to news reports.
The book's author, LaVeyan, was the founder of the Church of Satan and LaVeyan Satanism. The judge didn't view the book as being simply about happiness.
"Due to the security risks involved, Halfmann, like all other state prisoners, should be denied 'The Satanic Bible,'" the judge said.