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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 Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Satanism

soundoff (3,489 Responses)
  1. Kev

    It's likely there will be photo ops for"Hey look at me I'm sitting on Satan".

    January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  2. Rev. Nimshi

    The article said Pastafarianism was a satirical religion. Aren't they all?

    January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
    • bostontola

      Sadly no, most of them are dead serious.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'd like to see what kind of monument the Pastafarians cooked up.

      (A little Pastafarian pun for you there.)

      I think you'd have to work in metal to capture the noodly appendages of the FSM. Or perhaps it could be pragmatic – a beer volcano, with real beer. So long as it was , the Sooners might actually be willing to go for that.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  3. Charlie

    Get the hell out of my world!

    January 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • snowboarder

      your world?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • wow

      the only way to put a problem to rest is to accept it for what it is.... nothing.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
  4. Person

    "The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,"

    "In December, state lawmakers told CNN that the satanists' message wouldn't fly in their Bible Belt state, where nearly two-thirds of the population are Christian."

    January 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • wow

      Nice observation! LMFAO!

      January 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  5. Me

    Those who oppose Christ on a basis of being "realists" or "common sense" dont know that they automatically support satan even if they dont believe him to be real either. Jesus said: "Anyone who is not for me is against me"; and we all know satan opposes Jesus in everyway possible.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Darth Vader said you're either with him or against him too.

      Ok, maybe he didn't, but we all know he was thinking it.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • Me

        ok, sure

        January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I find your lack of faith disturbing.

          January 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Search your feelings, you know it is true.

          January 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • Steve_Denver

      Name the verse. You confuse Jesus with George W. Bush. George W. Bush is much closer to satan than the actual Jesus.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • SEQLAR

      You are so stupid

      January 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bob Johnson

      I believe that was George W. Bush, Jr., not Jesus Christ, who said that.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • Sue

      Many Christians actually oppose Christ versus non-beleivers. You all treat him like a political pundit of the Republican party versus the Son of God. Many on your side would crucify Jesus for being a commie in modern times and would put him on trial through Fox News. Please, pluck the log out of your eye and look at the people in your churches first. Also, didn't scripture say those that believe they will inherit Heaven probably won't and those you think that won't be there will actually be the one getting in? Until Christians take Matthew 25 serious, the words from Christ's own mouth about who gets into Heaven, then you can't criticize others.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • jed clampett

      I believe George W. Bush made that same quote about Iraq.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Fletcher

    Why would the state house approve a project that puts a negative light on the law? Maybe they should have went for something a little more positive about legal systems.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  7. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I'm imagining the people who put this illustration together getting togther to figure out what aspect they wanted to reflect in their 'monument'. It must have been a hoot and a half.

    "It has to have horns" says one, "and hoofs" says another. "And a pentagle too."

    "I know, I know", says one, "how about a boy and a girl looking up?" "Yeah and I want to be able to sit in his lap too", says another.

    Just hilarious.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      At least it wasn't doing nasty things to the children.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Uncommon Sense

      You mean just as hilarious as the people who put up the Ten Commandments statue?
      It must have been something like:
      Christian 1: We need the statue of the commandments just like the founding father wanted and placed in their courts." Person who passed history in high school: "The founding fathers never placed commandments in courts or other government buildings."
      Christian 1: "Oh yeah they did, don't you listen or watch Glenn Beck? He uses chalkboards, so you know he tells the truth!" Person who passed history..: "The commandments were posted in 4,000 public squares courthouses in the US around 1956 as a publicity stunt by Cecile B. Demille for his movie "The Ten Commandments".
      Christian 1: "Oh yeah, you probably think the world is round too...."

      Yep, hilarious.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Cecile B. Demille for his movie" It's amazing how many people will rant and rave to keep these monuments up and not even know that they were originally part of a media blitz...lol...

        January 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
  8. InWhatWeTrust

    So, now we see the true "God" of America.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Sue

      Jesus told Satan he was the god of this word and he could have it, so yeah.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  9. bostontola

    I see some people complaining that New Yorkers should keep out of Oklahoma issues.

    Some of those same people hailed various Church money (especially Mormon) as heroic when it brought down the California ballot measure for gay marriage. Much of that money came from outside California. I doubt it is due to hypocrisy though (sarcasm?).

    January 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • ME II

      hmmm... Did any Okies, protest the mis-named "Ground Zero Mosque", I wonder.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mercury

      Oh, no....not hypocrisy at aaaalllll....

      January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  10. Gatorfan

    Since I am god, I'd appreciate a statue of me on the grounds as well.

    Though to appear more god-ish, I'd like to be a few inches taller, and have more hair on my head.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Alias

      Do you still pay taxes?
      If you do, then you are clearly not a religion and I can offer some financial advice.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        Can I be declared a religious, non profit and get a two-fer?

        January 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  11. Steve

    How can anyone even think of such a thing let alone put it on the news for the world to see. Our counrty is selfdistructing a slow and painful death from the inside out and our government just turns their eye away. "Oh but this is the new age, all those old moral values don't apply to todays' standards." So man is writing his own values to suite himself.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Better to murder your own children in offering to the sky-dwelling mack daddy yeah?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Fletcher

      these are the old morals Gopvernment shal not interfer or endorse any religion.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • aces2jokers

      Man has always written his laws to suit himself. HIstory is written by the winner.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • Moveo

      >"How can anyone even think of such a thing let alone put it on the news for the world to see."

      It's called FREE SPEECH. Christians are all for freedom as long as it is THEIR freedom.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • Kaprice Evans

      I will tell you what I once said to my roommate:

      Everyone has morals.

      Except, in a rant on my blog I added this:

      Everyone has an ethics system whether it's from the Bible or the back of a beer bottle.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • Sue

      So do you take Matthew 25 seriously and follow it? Jesus said believers that pretend to believe but don't take care of the poor are doomed to be a goat, basically you don't get thru those pearly gates. Pluck the log from your own eye and stop watching Fox.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  12. rosethornne

    Hahahahahaha

    ..... and the proponents of the OTHER religious statue already on government grounds still won't get the point.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  13. ME II

    "I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on the capitol grounds," state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN in December.

    I find this funny considering Ok. was founded by Sooners, basically cheaters, who were claim land that had been reserved for Native Americans.

    "Most of Oklahoma was set aside as Indian Territory before the Civil War. It was opened for general settlement around 1890—the 'Sooners' were settlers who jumped the gun." – Wikipedia

    January 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Only the "right" values matter. Duh.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on the capitol grounds," state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN in December."

      A statue of Bob Stoops holding the Sugar Bowl trophy then?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • ME II

        Now you're talking.
        Or Barry Switzer, just to be "historical".

        January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  14. GAW

    How about a statue of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs outside?

    January 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • PanisAmanus

      HAIL BOB AND HAAAAAIL SATAN

      January 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Gotta love a religion that is proud to pay its taxes.
      Plus – what other religion offers eternal salvation or TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK!!!

      January 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
  15. truth exists because we face it

    christians are now saying,, well I really want separation, I've always said that.

    Liars and religions,, oops, all the same.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  16. MightyMoo

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; "

    '“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,” Wesselhoft said.'

    You can't favor one religion over another. If you are going to open Pandora's Box for Christianity then other faiths must have their day as well. There's a reason seperation of Church and State is in America, it's so messes like the one Oklahoma just created don't happen. I guess people need to learn things the hard way.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bill Hannegan

      The lawmakers messed up big time when they told the media that the monuments had to reflect Oklahoman values. That's brazenly endorsing a majority religion. The courts are going to turn these 14th century conservative clowns into spaghetti.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • TallinOK

      Your logic is wasted on Okies. You are addressing the belt buckle of the Bible Belt.

      This is a fundamentalist state.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        At least it's not Kansas, which lays claim to those PHelps loons from Westboro.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • jofish

      Ooh, how about a statue of Pandora's box?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Mopery

    Belief does not dictate reality. End of story.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  18. Smeagel4T

    Those Christians who are offended by this, take note: THAT is the purpose. Nobody (generally speaking) REALLY wants to put a Satan statue in statehouses. The goal is to point out that freedom of religion means freedom of religion. Public spaces are "the commons" and are owned by everyone. Religious symbols in "the commons" is either all or nothing. No one religious group gets to "own" the "commons".

    January 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • Kev

      Well, at least Christian parents can put their own spin on this telling their children how strong Satan's influence is and to beware of Satan's influence.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  19. Henry

    Remove the Ten Commandments monument. Problem solved. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • truth exists because we face it

      leave it all there,, it's good for the kids to see the silliness

      January 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • Smeagel4T

      That, of course, is the real goal. The real goal isn't really to put Satan in the statehouses. We already have enough Satans in the legislature in the statehouses.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • David

      But if the Ten Commandments statue is removed, just how am I supposed to pursue my freedom to worship God?

      I am not going to be able to go to church Sunday morning. I am not going to be able to say my prayers at night. I am not going to be able to read the bible.

      Simple logic reveals our nation's largest bully-group: right-wing christians.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
    • coral

      Leave it there, and let's add another – to Marduk, and another, to Zeus. The possibilities are endless, and it will become a great tourist attraction! For $50. you can see the great monuments of religiosity. gawd....

      January 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
  20. truth exists because we face it

    I suppose this is good, now christians can look at themselves in a statue.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • Christian100

      well maybe you should get a religion of your own bc obviously your opinion here was not based on the article but on insulting the Christian community with your ignorance.... You belong in the underworld just like them

      January 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • David

        "You belong in the underworld just like them"

        Such love and compassion . . .
        I think that you just proved his/her point.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:49 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.