Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments
A Ten Commandments monument erected outside the Oklahoma state Capitol.
December 9th, 2013
01:46 PM ET

Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Lots of lawmakers have been accused of devilish behavior, but Oklahoma's state capitol may become the first to actually have a monument to Satan.

If a New York-based group called the Temple of Satan gets its way, a statue of the Evil One would sit next to the recently erected 10 Commandments monument on state capitol grounds.

"They said they wanted to be open to different monuments," said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Temple of Satan, "and this seems like a perfect place to put that to the test."

Greaves and some legal experts say the Constitution is clear: the government can't endorse one particular religion. So, if a state capitol has a monument to one faith, it must allow monuments to others as well.

The Temple of Satan is less a religious body organized around rituals and regular meetings than a roving band of political provocateurs, said Greaves. They believe Satan is a "literary construct," the spokesman said, not an actual being with horns and hooves.

Last year, the Temple organized a gay and lesbian kiss-in at the gravesite of the mother of anti-gay preacher and activist the Rev. Fred Phelps. It also held a rally at Florida's state capitol in support of a law that allows "inspirational messages" at public school assemblies.

"It allows us to spread the message of Satanism," which centers around respect for diversity and religious minorities, said Greaves.

Oklahoma legislators voted to erect the Ten Commandments monument in 2009, using private funds donated by Rep. Mike Rietz, a surgeon and Southern Baptist deacon.

Rietz declined to comment on the Satanists' proposal on Monday, citing an separate and ongoing dispute with the American Civil Liberties Union over the Ten Commandments monument.

Oklahoma state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN that he's not in favor of the Satanist's proposed statue.

"I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds," Cleveland said in an e-mail on Monday.

But if Christians and Jews can have their monument to the 10 Commandments, then Satanists must be allowed to erect their own statue, said Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberty Union's Oklahoma chapter.

"We feel like the Satanic Temple has a very strong argument to say that, if the state allows one religious monument, you have to allow others," Henderson said.

Oklahoma's statehouse grounds already has monuments honoring its heritage and Native American history, said Trait Thompson, chair of the Capitol Preservation Commission.

"Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork," Thompson said.

The commission then determines whether the proposal abides by its standards and votes on whether to approve it.

Greaves said he's received the required forms from Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Commission and is working on a design that will meet its standards.

"We want something big and bold that will be able to stand up to the weather or whatever other kinds of assaults," that may target the monument, he said.

"My favorite idea right now is an object of play for children. We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is."

The Temple of Satan created a Indiegogo fundraising page on Monday, but have thus far only publicly raised $150 towards its goal of $20,000.

Not all Satanist groups see the fun in political provocations.

Magus Peter Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan, which was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, said he believes in strict separation of church and state.

"Rather than placing multiple 'advertisements' for various religions, we think it best for the (10 Commandments) monument to be removed to private property and that there be no objects supporting religion of any sort placed on the statehouse grounds," Gilmore said.

Earlier this year, Gilmore's Church of Satan squared off against a British group of Satanists over abortion rights, after activists shouted "Hail Satan" to drown out anti-abortion activists at the Texas state capitol.

READ MORE: Satanists square off on abortion (Yes, really)

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Culture wars • Devil • Satanism

soundoff (3,610 Responses)
  1. Saraswati

    Why do people bother responding to obvious trolls like Mary?
    Which is more pathological, trolling or knowingly responding to a troll?

    December 11, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Madtown

      Entertainment? I'm not sure, but you are correct.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  2. Mary

    Why presume that all religions are the same?
    Why not see the difference between a good religion and one that is deliberately evil?

    December 11, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • oo oo

      Hush dodo. Ain't foolin no one. How did u like the criticisms so richly deserved?

      Say hi to Sam

      December 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • oo oo

      Hush dodo. Ain't foolin no one. How did u like the criticisms so richly deserved??

      Say hi to Sam

      December 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  3. Robert Brown

    I think God was pretty serious about those Ten Commandments, they were carved in stone.

    Where are the Ten Commandments now?

    They were last mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35, about 600 BC. Well at least their container was, the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark contained Aaron's rod, a pot of manna, & the 10 commandments. It sure would cause a stir if the Ark turned up today.

    In 2 Chronicles 36, the Babylonians destroyed the city & took all the treasure and most of the people. In Ezra, we read where they were allowed to return and rebuild the temple. A list of treasure was returned, the ark wasn’t among the returned items. It had disappeared.

    Here is the prophecy concerning the Ark from Jeremiah 3:16, “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.”

    There are theories that some priests escaped with the Ark and wound up in Ethiopia and a related prophesy in Isaiah. The speculation gets wilder from there, the Templars found it, the Masons have it, and even that it was brought to America.

    December 11, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Ben

      Robert Brown
      "I think God was pretty serious about those Ten Commandments, they were carved in stone."
      Did YHWH, being a sky god believed to "live" near mountain tops, have access to paper? No, nothing but stone up there, and the occasional bush to smoke.

      "Where are the Ten Commandments now?"
      Not even Indiana Jones knows, right?

      December 11, 2013 at 9:27 am |
      • Robert Brown

        Indiana almost had it.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Ben

          Logically, if the ark would burn off the Nazi swastika, then it would also burn off the "USA" stamp on it's crate in the American warehouse, correct? That always bothers me every time I watch it.

          December 11, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  4. Satan Lives

    I drink baby's blood!

    December 11, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The only baby blood you're allowed to drink is that of the Baby Jesus, though it tastes suspi.ciously like cheap wine.

      December 11, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • ?

      Do you have a good recipe for placentas, I've been born again so often I have a freezer full of them, thanks?

      December 11, 2013 at 8:35 am |
      • G to the T

        Someone should tell your mom it's a va.gina, not a clown car!

        December 11, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  5. One one

    ""I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds,"

    Who gets to decide what "Oklahoma values" are ?

    December 11, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • GeorgeH

      Christians, of course! They feel like they have the right to dictate for everyone in everything.

      December 11, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  6. Masagazi

    Ama just amazed ,how ön earth could sensible people worship Satan.doomsday is soon getting near.

    December 11, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • One one

      Satan and end times are both myths.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Right...you mean that doomsday that has been just around the corner for the past 2000 years. The boy who cried wolf comes to mind however In this case no wolf appearance is pending.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • truthprevails1

      How on earth could anyone worship the christian god? As for doomsday, sure in a few billion years when our sun burns out or our species has destroyed itself.

      December 11, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ragnarok is nigh.
      Best get straight with Odin ASAP

      December 11, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Ben

      Satan would have to be pretty lame not to just pick up a Bible, read Revelation, and come up with a better plan! As far as super villains go, even Bizzaro would have brains enough to do that. Some Master of Evil!

      December 11, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Do you have any idea how long it took Satan to design his 7 headed, 10 horned, bear pawed, amphibious form?
        I wouldn't want to go back to the drawing board either.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  7. Warning: Atheism is a Religion


    December 11, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • One one

      So is not believing in Santa Clause.

      December 11, 2013 at 7:35 am |
      • Saraswati

        It's an interesting trend how many convert to asantaism as young as 4 or 5 years old. Most I know are also aeasterbunnyists, a dragonists and aunicornists. Most americans are pluralists in their religious beliefs. Aflyingmonkeyism is particularly important in todays society.

        December 11, 2013 at 7:42 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        Correct. If atheism is a religion then so too is not believing in Santa or unicorns or BigFoot or alien abductions or conspiracy theories or any number of things people don't believe exists. Congratulations Warning: Atheism is a Religion you've just robbed the word religion of any useful meaning.

        December 11, 2013 at 7:44 am |
        • Saraswati

          "Warning: Atheism is a Religion you've just robbed the word religion of any useful meaning."

          Bingo. This is right up there with people renaming anything one thinks important as "god". Some folks seem uncomfortable living in a world where even one person lacks a religion or a god or anything that would mean a different way of seeing the world exists.

          December 11, 2013 at 7:54 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          Yes...this ranks right up there with claims that the claim that the universe is the result of or the creation of a "mind". Every example we know of with regard to a mind is inextricably linked to a physical material brain. Minds are a product of the universe, not the other way around.

          December 11, 2013 at 8:04 am |
        • Saraswati

          Steve, even if matter were required for a mind, it could be outside our universe...which really just raised the question of the origin of the multiverse. On the other hand, everything we believe about matter is filter through the allowed concepts of our mind/brain, so it doesn't really tell us much about what ultimately exists.

          December 11, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Ben

      Atheism is a religion as abstinence is a se_xual position. :-)

      December 11, 2013 at 9:13 am |
      • jimmy

        Your analogy would explain why all the atheists/unbelievers have infiltrated a belief blog. If one chooses to be abstinent, they still need to satisfy their se.xual tendencies some way or another. Just admit it you folks need us, or else there wouldn't be anything to whine about.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Dandintac

          Need you? No–I definitely wouldn't go that far, except so far as that we human beings are mutually dependent, and people of many different stripes are needed for a strong society. But I will admit that I enjoy debating theists. As far as whining? No–human beings are natural whiners–and theists are every bit as bad as atheists. So we will always find plenty to whine about whether people believe in God or not. And I'm sure you will continue to whine about us as well.

          December 16, 2013 at 2:30 am |
  8. Janet

    Here's my idea...waist up human guy with bat wings and hair going everywhere, waist down dragon, with a really long tail...made of iron.

    December 11, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Ben

      That whole "waist up, waist down" way of describing the devil really ought to tell people that he's about as real as other beings we describe that way, like mermaids, centaurs, and Anthony Weiner. ;-)

      December 11, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  9. Reality # 2

    Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need mythical revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:40 am |
  10. hearties

    Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he is the answer.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • redzoa

      But my question was should I itemize or take the standard deduction?

      December 11, 2013 at 2:47 am |
      • redzoa

        I know, I know, "render unto Caesar . . ." but that's not much help . . .

        December 11, 2013 at 2:50 am |
  11. Observer

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."
    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 4/11/1823

    Thomas Jefferson's PERSONAL FEELINGS. That sums it up. Political speeches are not the same. This was how he REALLY FELT.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Facts

      "I, too, have made a wee little book from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma of his doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a doc&ment in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

      Thomas Jefferson (personal letter)

      December 11, 2013 at 2:49 am |
      • redzoa

        We get it. Jefferson called himself a Christian. But his idea of "Christian" rejected Christ's divinity and all the other supernatural mysticism stuff. Jefferson's notion of "Christian" would be viewed by most modern pract-itioners as heresy.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:53 am |
  12. Observer


    Bottom line: we don't follow the Bible to set our laws and that is a GOOD THING.

    No slavery. No discrimination against women. No discrimination against the handicapped. No legal beating of helpless children with rods, etc.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • redzoa

      Am I seeing another mysterious Belief Blog cleanse? What happened to all of Facts' weak cut and paste arguments?

      December 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  13. devin

    Looking on the bright side, no matter the degree of pain and despair this life can afford, it should always bring a little smile to your face when you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, " well, at least I'm not a satanist."

    December 11, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Or a Christian". I wake up each day delighted that my view of reality isn't soiled by misconceptions of myth and superstition. It's a very liberating thing to live a life where, for better or worse, the rules are solidly grounded in facts, logic and reason.

      December 11, 2013 at 5:57 am |
      • devin

        Perhaps not, but i'm guessing when the day of your death comes, and it will be soon, when your in your last hours in that hospital bed, your beloved " facts. logic and reason" will be of little comfort.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  14. Observer


    FORTUNATELY, our laws are NOT based on the Bible.

    Otherwise, we'd still have slavery and discrimination against women and the handicapped. We'd also allow parents to beat their helpless children with rods. Etc., etc.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  15. Observer


    "Logic and intelligence are not precursors for morality. In fact they are the opposite. Morality is doing the right thing even though it may not benefit you. Logic would dictate the direct opposite. Furthermore intelligence would dictate the same."

    So logic and intelligence would tell people to go around killing everyone?

    You haven't thought this through at all.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Glenn

      I believe what you are looking for is called Survival of the Fittest or Natural Selection and is one of the theories for the basis of evolution

      December 11, 2013 at 1:14 am |
      • Observer


        Do you believe and support EVERYTHING in the Bible? YES or NO? If not, where did your morals come from?

        December 11, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • Glenn

          have you given up on logic and intelligence being the basis for morality?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:28 am |
        • Observer


          Why are you so AFRAID to answer the question or are you CLUELESS what the answer is?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Glenn

          I'll take that as a no – you still believe in intelligence and logic as the basis of your morality.

          Free yourself man

          December 11, 2013 at 1:40 am |
        • Observer


          Sorry you keep missing my question. Here it is:

          Do you believe and support EVERYTHING in the Bible? YES or NO? If not, where did your morals come from?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:42 am |
        • Observer


          "have you given up on logic and intelligence being the basis for morality?"

          Answer: no.

          I have answered your question. Let's see if you have enough HONESTY and INTEGRITY to answer mine:

          Do you believe and support EVERYTHING in the Bible? YES or NO? If not, where did your morals come from?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • Glenn

          and you keep missing mine

          December 11, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  16. Ouch

    Internet Atheist
    Users of the internet that are known for their Militant Atheism. Usually commenters on Youtube and /atheist/ Reddit, Internet Atheists will attack virtually anything related to religion. Hilariously enough, they are generally just as dogmatic as the religious.

    Internet Atheists cannot come to terms with the fact that the claim of the nonexistence of deities is a belief. Instead, Internet Atheists claim that atheism is a lack of belief (which is actually agnosticism). Basically, Internet Atheism are the idiots among atheists.

    Internet Atheists are basically an embarr#ssing p#ss stain to intelligent atheists.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      You can say exactly the same thing about the so-called "Holy Trollers".

      Any unintelligent internet troll is, by his/her very existence, an insult to the groups they claim to be part of. Nobody can stand them, and the best thing to do is ignore them.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Observer

      How "Christian" of you!

      December 11, 2013 at 12:54 am |
      • Ouch

        How "internet Atheist" of you to a$$ume I'm Christian.
        We agnostics are sick of you internet atheists.

        December 11, 2013 at 12:56 am |
        • Observer


          I didn't assume you were a Christian, that's why I used quotes. Oooops!

          I am an agnostic, not an atheist. Oooops again.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:00 am |
        • Ouch

          I used quotes, too. Oops.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:02 am |
        • Observer


          "We agnostics are sick of you internet atheists."

          The ONLY quotes there are mine.

          Oooops for the third time.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • Ouch

          You win.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:06 am |
        • Ouch

          Don't you get annoyed by the internet atheists? I see you hold Christians accountable for their beliefs. But why do you give a free pass to a lot of the garbage internet atheists are spewing?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Ouch

          "They will often make snobby attempts to annoy or insult religious people, sometimes calling them names, but will immediately condemn someone who bothers atheists, h#mos@xuals or liberals if they don't have a legitimate reason. Even if they do have a legitimate reason that justifies their bothering it might not matter. They will also claim they don't discriminate, but they are usually far more polite and accepting if they think you're a fellow atheist."

          December 11, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • Dandintac

          Sick of us? Why? If so, why do you come here? I am both an agnostic and an atheist.
          Right now, with the evidence you have, do you believe (not know, believe) in God?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:27 am |
        • Observer


          "Don't you get annoyed by the internet atheists?"

          Yes for those who are extremely rude. There's no excuse for much of what is said here. If you check, you will see that I don't support the crude, obnoxious ones.

          The problem here is one of balance. How do you fairly compare their remarks to those of some Christians who gloat about the possibility of them burning forever in hell? Sadly, it goes both ways although the words will differ.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:23 am |
  17. Yep

    1. internet atheist
    Angry atheist who trolls internet sites denouncing God, Christians and religion;

    Atheist internet troll who demonstrates a basic ignorance of reason;

    Atheist internet troll who is ignorant of science and logic while claiming strong adherence to the same; Atheist who contradicts themselves through poor reasoning, especially one who exhibits hypocrisy.

    Rational people understand that the claim "There are no absolutes" is a self-defeating statement. Internet atheists? Not so much.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Dandintac

      So if one is an atheist, and enjoys spending time debating these issues on Internet blogs such as this, they must be an "angry" atheist who is "trolling"? But if you're not an atheist, then these labels don't apply–but they apply universally to atheists ?

      On what basis do you believe I demonstrate a basic ignorance of reason?

      Please explain and elaborate on your last statement, and why you think it applies to me.


      December 11, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  18. Mister Internet Atheist.

    I have an unsophisticated grasp of religion. Want evidence, look at all my posts.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Observer

      Mister Internet Atheist.

      A HUGE number of believers "have an unsophisticated grasp of religion." Want evidence, look at all their HYPOCRISY.

      December 11, 2013 at 12:35 am |
      • Mister Internet Atheist.

        Atheists against Internet Atheists. Break the chains. Join the movement.

        December 11, 2013 at 12:42 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.