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. Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

    "What a great day for Canadians everywhere! The Winnipeg drummers, playing the "March of 1000 Farts"...as is traditional for the Canadian Royal Family."

    "People in attendance, now gently tossing Cap'n Crunch as the prince passes by...as of course is tradition."

    "Ah, here she comes! Yes, there she is! The aboot-to-be princess of Canada. Isn't she ravishing? So pure of heart, so strong in body, so hot in the face....She is indeed the living symbol of our greatly country. My God, she's beautiful."

    December 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Philip Eugene Douglas, CS, CO

      I like South Park. I like Kenny. He dies in almost every episode and resurrected by the next episode. Kind of a fitting tribute to Our Lord, Jesus. Or something.

      December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I thought for sure that Doc V would be the first to respond... lol

        December 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  2. bostontola

    Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder characterized by a difficulty in recognizing reality, regulating emotional responses, and thinking in a clear and logical manner.

    The relationship between religion and schizophrenia is of particular interest to psychologists because of the similarities between religious experiences and psychotic episodes; religious experiences often involve auditory and/or visual hallucinations, and those with schizophrenia commonly report similar hallucinations, along with a variety of delusions and faulty beliefs.

    In a study of patients with schizophrenia that had been previously admitted to a hospital, 24% had had religious delusions. This has led some researchers to question whether schizophrenia leads an individual to become more religious, or if intense religiosity leads to schizophrenia.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study http://www.philly.com/philly/health/132456883.html

      December 11, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Evolution


      December 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • What is wrong with me?

      ...demonizing schizophrenics
      so that when people look at me, they don't see a human being.... :(
      F.Ck YOU!

      December 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  3. tallulah13

    Why do trolls find being inane so fascinating?

    December 11, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  4. AntiMarry

    Why not?

    December 11, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  5. Sol Invictus

    Ecce venit BUTIO!

    December 11, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  6. ME II

    Why? Why? Why?

    How old are you? 2?

    December 11, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  7. tallulah13

    No one expects christians to be super human. However, it is reasonable to expect them to be honest. You can't lie and claim you are morally superior in the same breath without expecting people to notice and comment.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Whoops. Wrong spot. Oh well. Troll Mary can figure this out on his/her own.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Joey

        To think that Mary is capable of figuring out something on his or her own takes a lot of faith.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  8. AverageJoe76

    Their argument is a practical argument. Makes sense. But Satan is stupid, literally or realistically.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • ME II


      December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  9. tallulah13

    Why do I get the impression that Mary is either a troll or a student who didn't study for the mid-term in Civics class and now needs answers, fast?

    December 11, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Madtown

      Troll, in need of lots of attention.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  10. AverageJoe76

    This is hilarious. I didn't know Satanist were such comedians.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Satan created music, dancing and comedy... just ask a southern baptist

      December 11, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • AverageJoe76

        Yeah, Satan made everything we like. And of course, that's 'evil'.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  11. 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 |
  12. 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 |
  13. 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 |
  14. 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 |
  15. 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 |
  16. 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 |
  17. 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 |
  18. 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 |
  19. 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 |
  20. 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 |
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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.