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January 7th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Satanists unveil design for OK statehouse statue

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – Satanists have unveiled their design for a proposed statue at the Oklahoma state Capitol, including a place for people to sit on the devil's lap "for inspiration and contemplation."

The New York-based Satanic Temple submitted its proposal to Oklahoma officials this month after applying for a spot on Capitol grounds late last year. The Satanists say their statue would "complement and contrast" with a Ten Commandments monument placed at the Capitol in Oklahoma City in 2012.

The Satanists' proposed monument depicts Baphomet, a goat-headed pagan idol sitting on a 7-foot-tall throne inscribed with an inverted pentagram. In an artist's rendering provided by the Satanic Temple, smiling children look adoringly at the devilish figure.

"The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures," Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said in a prepared statement. "The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”

According to its Indiegogo page, the Satanists have raised more than $16,000 toward their goal of $20,000 for the monument, which Greaves said would "be a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority and the unjustly outcast.”

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

READ MORE: Satanists want statue next to Ten Commandments

The proposed statue includes quotations from poets Lord Byron and William Blake.

“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion” runs the Blake quotation. The 18th-century poet was a Christian, albeit one with a mystical bent and little use for traditional morality.

The statue's main figure, Baphomet, has long been associated with Satan, Greaves said. In the 12th century, the Knights Templar, a group of Christian crusaders, were accused of worshiping Baphomet in their secretive rituals.

"From the mythology created by these accusations against the Templars, we now have a symbol for Satan pictured as a goat-headed beast," Greaves said.

Since the 1960s, a variation of the horned goat head has been the official symbol of the Church of Satan, which is not affiliated with the Temple of Satan. The head of the Church of Satan has told CNN he does not approve of the idea of a Satanist statue on public grounds.

Oklahoma state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft told CNN that he doesn't think the Satanists' statue will be approved.

“What will disqualify them has really nothing to do with Satan as such; it's that it has no historical significance for the state of Oklahoma,” he said.

Trait Thompson, chairman of Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Committee, said he has not received the Satanists' proposed design yet. He also said that no applications will be considered until a lawsuit over the Ten Commandments monument is settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued over Oklahoma's Ten Commandments monument, calling it an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

After news broke of the Satanists' proposal, the state was flooded with requests from religious groups seeking to erect monuments to their own faith, including Hindus and Pastafarians, a satirical religion that "worships" the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

An Oklahoma lawmaker told CNN that the Satanists' message wouldn't fly in the Bible Belt state, where nearly two-thirds of the population is Christian.

"Any monument displayed on state property should reflect the values of Oklahoma or memorialize those who built or defended our freedom," Rep. Bob Cleveland said Tuesday. "In my opinion, this Satanist monument does not meet with the values of Oklahomans."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Satanism

soundoff (3,451 Responses)
  1. sayjoismme

    Doesn't bother me in the least, let Satanists put a statue up,just like all the other beliefs can. Pretty sure the point is to expose the hypocrisy of the law makers. Looking around this country you'd think Christianity is the state religion with all the Christian based monuments on Federal land. The 1st amendment says Congress shall make no laws expressing the establishment of religion or the expression thereof. That means the government can't legally stop them on the basis of their religion, unless they take down the 10 commandment monument.

    April 18, 2014 at 9:16 am |
  2. stevem2424

    this make me sick to my stomach what if i put a statue of guy lover dying from aids on the statehouse it a free country ...this should lots of hits and i dont care

    April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • Alias

      You're gay and dying from aids??
      So sorry for your misfortune.
      I'm sure we will all pray for you.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • onebadmamajama

      We should DO that! Great idea. It would show compassion for a "human being" who is dying of an illness just like any other.

      April 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  3. iamyourgod2014

    Hey guys its god again. just reading all your comments ( i actually knew what you would be typing before you typed it...i know...show off) anyway... you know i went down to talk to lucifer this morning after reading the news about the statue, and i saw a lot...i mean A LOT of cool people in hell. they were drinking with lucifer and throwing all night parties. anyway i have to get back to heaven, its time for bible camp!!! woot woot

    April 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • stevem2424

      I talk to my gay lover o wait he dead from aids to bad to bad !! get a life

      April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • iowasundevil

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the 1 true Gawd. You are an anti pasta heathen!

      April 18, 2014 at 2:03 am |
      • matthewmonroe

        all hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

        April 18, 2014 at 2:06 am |
  4. blessed137

    Biblical history has shown what has become of the wicked and their traditions. This statue will fade away with the world and its desires. But the ones who do the will of God will live forever.

    April 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • iamyourgod2014

      Hi blessed137, it's god....(i know, i'll wait for you to gasp, and then recover) anyway....mmm (tapping my chin....uh well i dont have a chin, but tapping the spot where a chin might be) umm I dont really mind if the non-believers put this statue there....actually it almost looks like lucifer. i have to take a look again thru his old pics...wow last time i saw lucifer was ages, he's in the pits you know..hahahha. anyway keep up the good work. ttyl love god

      April 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
  5. samsjmail

    I'm very encouraged by this. I hope to be next with a life size replica of my Totem Pole. My Totem Pole is even more excited than me. He started bleeding this morning!

    April 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  6. psychicstalker

    Sit on Satan's lap? Wonder if they would charge for that, like a mechanical horse ride. Who really wants to sit in Satan's lap? LOL

    April 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
    • matthewmonroe

      Looks like he's either telling a story or the kids are asking for directions, maybe to some sort of religious or school celebration. He could also be giving financial advice; Satan actually has some good financial advice, maybe telling them to get a paper route and invest in some really good money market funds.
      The kids could also just be staring at him, you know he's like one of the guards at Buckingham palace; the kids are like hey Satan I am going to fart in your face, but you know he can't do anything but sit there and stare forward because you know he's Satan and he can't react or he'll get his pay dinged you know.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:15 am |
  7. timelord7202

    No thanks. Separation of church and state should allow no exceptions.

    It's also interesting how the representation of the "horned god" of paganism was twisted and turned into something evil, with the star pentacle figure also altered (turned upside down) and given a description of evil - paganism existed long before Christianity, and Satan is a Christian construct... what better way to take a conquered idol and give it the opposite meanings... makes me wonder about what Christian Cortes did with the Aztec gods after he conquered Mexico, with today's Latinos probably unaware of their own history when they call their children "Jesus" and wear crosses... they're the sons of the conquered, the sons of slaves.

    April 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  8. timelord7202

    No thanks. Separation of church and state should allow no exceptions.

    It's also interesting how the representation of the "horned god" of paganism was twisted and turned into something evil, with the star pentacle figure also altered (turned upside down) and given a description of evil - paganism existed long before Christianity, and Satan is a Christian construct... what better way to take a conquered idol and give it the opposite meanings... makes me wonder about what Christian Cortes did with the Aztec gods after he conquered Mexico, with today's Latinos probably unaware of their own history when they call their children "Jesus" and wear crosses... they're the sons of the conqured, the sons of slaves.

    April 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    poor god ... he just seems powerless to stop this statue ...

    April 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  10. jhkim6567

    Christians should stop complaining. So what if the Satanists gain power and rule with iron fists over your adorable children. History has shown that you guys do better when persecuted.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.