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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. Bob Bobson

    Never thought I'd want to donate to something called the "Church of Satan" but suddenly I do.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  2. Loathstheright

    Put in the RNC building where it belongs.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  3. Scott

    I think the NY Satan club should best stay out of Oklahoma. Build their statues in NY.
    Cowboys will rope those horns and pull her down.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Shaggy

      What about a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to commemorate the great works all the Pastafarians of Oklahoma have done? The long neglected group demands its due!

      December 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Scott

        Put a strainer on your head and 30 lashes with a wet nodle

        December 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  4. JJ

    Could care less whether or not they get this, not religious...but I love the gay kiss-in on Rev. Fred Phelps wifes grave. That is beyond awesome! Phelps is a quack and doesn't deserve to live in this country. I'd love to know where her grave is, I'd leave her a little something for old Fred to pick up.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  5. ohplease

    Actually there is supposed to be SEPARATION of religion and state. That said NO statues depicting ANY religion should be on ANY state land!

    December 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Scott

      The Ten Commandments are chiseled onto the Frieze above the doors of the US Supreme Court. Every stair step up the inside of the Washington Monument is chiseled with Biblical scripture. So, where do you want to get started?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Doesn't really matter where we start as long as they are removed. I would start at court houses so that accused are not disadvantaged, in any way, real or imagined, when they appear before a court.

        December 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • Christian

        Let's start from the beginning – the United States of America was built by pilgrims – Christians who run away from prosecution to freely exercise their religion. Since that moment God was with them and they wrote "in God we trust" on every note of money. Once we remove God from our schools – shooting in schools starts. When we remove God from our Government – Obamacare starts. When we remove God from our bank notes – then the real trouble starts.

        December 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • G to the T

          Whaaaaat? You do realize there were colonies here before the pilgrims right? Our country was in no way shape or form founded by the Pilgrims.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Unegen

      Which is actually the point they are trying to make, they're just doing it in a way that illustrates the hypocrisy of the pro-10-Commandmants-statue crowd.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Bob Bobson

    If the Christians want to to violate the separation of church and state, they need to allow all religions to build monuments in public spaces.

    All or none.

    Preferably none.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  7. Jw

    Matt 3:17: "17 Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”

    Of Jesus is God on flesh, how come God called Jesus his Son from heaven at the time of his baptism??

    December 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Fedup

      A better question is why in the world are you giving this so much thought? MOVE ON. Enjoy life. Stop living in a fantasy world and enjoy a friggin sunset! Play with you kids! Live life!!!

      December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Jw

        I already do that son!

        December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • Unegen

          Well, you're here on CNN's BS forums, so that claim is up for debate.

          December 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • G to the T

      "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved" – that's one translation of of version of that verse, but there are many others. "This is my Son, whom I have begotten this day" is another possible translation/version.

      Many early christians believed that Jesus was god's ADOPTED son and the that baptism (when the holy spirit entered him as a dove) was the point when he was adopted by god (it was also believed by some that this is when the "christ", the holy spirit entered Jesus – this is why he was "forsaken" when on the cross – the "christ" had left him).

      December 10, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  8. Christian

    I already have a design for the Satan statue – a big frying pan with Satan adding people to it. :)

    December 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bob Bobson

      Satan, if he exists, will be frying up a lot of Christians.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Daniel

      Why is it that Satan is supposed to be so cruel to sinners. Shouldn't they be getting along? Or is it like people from different gangs thing? I'm so confused by Christian mythology.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • Christian

        Bible says that Satan hates all people – Christian or not. He wants to kill every single one of us. And do more – after killing, he wants to destroy ashes left from us. Why? Because God created people to be above Satan.

        December 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I believe this group are nontheistic Satanists. They aren't talking about the biblical Satan.

          December 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  9. Don

    I know this will be unpopular, but...the time is coming very quickly when we will all have to make an accounting to God. The time is also coming when we who believe will be overtaken – temporarily – by the forces of Satan, which the world is increasingly knowingly and unknowingly embracing. If you take time to seek God, you will find him. If not, then keep taking the easy path. Eventually all paths will lead to facing God. Not all paths will be welcomed.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Fedup

      OR.... you could get up off your knees, open your eyes, unclasp your hands and take and actively work towards making the world a better place. Just a thought...

      December 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Street Epistemologist In Traing

      How do you know what you stated above is true? Faith? Pretending to know things you don't?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Madtown

      If you take time to seek God, you will find him
      ---–
      Many of your human brothers/sisters do this, and believe they do find him. They also don't know the first thing about christianity. Interesting, isn't it?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Fedup

        If I take the time to find my car keys I usually find them too. Oddly, most people tend to find the things they are looking for. God is really easy to find when you require no true proof or even a clear definition of who/what god is. BUT, if you insist that I look for god I will start in prison..... everyone else tends to find him there.

        December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • Unegen

          And you win the Internet for today. Well done. :)

          December 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • Madtown

          I don't insist you find him. The response was to Don, to illustrate that many people in many different cultures believe in God, though they have no knowledge of "(insert religion here)". People like Don seem to think that only their definition of the notion of God, is the one that should be used.

          December 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Seek and you shall find." The very essence of confirmation bias.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Daniel

      Gotta love the Christians spewing dribble.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Republicans like to be reminded because they so often don't know what ten commandments actually are.

    See: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R) GA.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/70730/june-14-2006/better-know-a-district-georgia-s-8th-lynn-westmoreland

    He got three out of ten right.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  11. What?WhereAmI.

    "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."

    And the idiot fails right there because he all but admitted that the "Church of Satan" isn't a religious body but a political organization.

    What an idiot.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • aash

      So what you're telling me is that the only way any religion can be legitimate is if they believe their deity exists for certain in some physical form at a specified location?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Adam

      The Temple of Satan is NOT in ANY WAY affiliated with the Church of Satan. CNN Reached out to the Church of Satan to get a response to the situation. Satanism is represented solely by the Church of Satan as Satanism was codified and the Church of Satan was created by it's first high Priest, Anton Szandor LaVey.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  12. WhenCowsAttack

    If any of you have a little free time you should head over to the Oklahoma City news sites and read some of the comments, oh my, the fundies are going ballistic about the "wrath of God" that is going to come down in their Christian state if this is allowed.

    Comical.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Michelle

      Doesn't the "Wrath of God" show up there on a yearly basis with all the tornadoes, winter storms, etc. Now if it was the "Wrath of Khan" that is something that might be worth seeing.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • Bob Bobson

        I know right?!

        December 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        Haha!

        The secular folk ARE there teasing the shiite out of the fundies about the tornadoes.

        December 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  13. Justice

    Question is: How many times would it have to be erected as it would surely fall victim to vandalism.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  14. ToEachHisOwn

    Hahahahaha. This is great. "To let them see that satanism is where the fun is" hahahahaha

    December 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Christian

    Psalm 91:1-16

    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

    December 9, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Logical fallacy – appeal to alleged authority.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Fedup

      Put down the 2000 year old book you're quoting from and try...just try... to come up with a well thought out sentence, reasonable sentence of your own.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Michelle

      So shooting arrows at you during the day would not make you scared? What if arrows were shot at night?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  16. Sajor

    "My favorite idea right now is an object of play for children. We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is."
    I think most teens are well aware of that...

    December 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  17. Syd

    I don't do this a lot but Bwahahahahahahaha! You let one religion on gov't sites, you gotta let 'em all! HA!!

    December 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  18. PushingBack

    Where can one donate money to make this happen??

    December 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Mahoney

      http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/put-a-satanic-monument-at-ok-capitol

      December 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  19. bribarian

    Problem with Satanists is they are all about being reactionary rather than forming their own movement. They just want to do the opposite of christianity. And this is another perfect example of that.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • PushingBack

      It seems like in this case they want to do the same thing.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Ted

      The "opposite of Christianity" has a fair amount of appeal to it, if southern Christians represent the norm for Christianity.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Steve

      This religion is real, that one is made up.

      Is that REALLY the argument you want use?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  20. cryofpaine

    As a Christian, I know I should probably be appalled at the idea. But I really want this to happen. I'm a firm believer in equality for all, and separation of church and state. I was probably more upset with the original 10 Commandments statue than I am over this.

    December 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Ted

      There are a lot of religions. The place could look like a graveyard soon with all the necessary statues/monuments for each religion present, which seems rather appropriate.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes Ted, though one could argue it already commemorates a place where freedom of and from religion went to die.

      December 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Ted

        Yeah, agreed -I was thinking along similar lines.

        December 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
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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.