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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. Harper

    Where we're these negative devil worshippera with such requests in the past? The answer is NOWHERE. The explanation speaks for itself, and speaks VOLUMES of the direction we're headed.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      They do not believe a devil even exists, let alone worship one.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Billy

      "the direction we're headed"

      true – better application of the separation of church and state as intended

      January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Westboro Gay Pride Cmmttee Member

      Just want to be clear to any Christians reading this: I am someone who donated $20 to this group's fundraising website. It appears that they are going to reach their goal of raising $20,000 dollars TODAY. Just want to say THANK YOU for when you voted against Marriage Equality in your home state. This is your PAYBACK.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • Sheila

        Who cares??

        January 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Shawn Bartlett

          You?

          January 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • igaftr

      Harper
      Why do you say negative? It looks like they have quite a positive take on things..it is no more negative than using a torture device as a holy symbol, symbolically drinking blood and flesh. It is certainly more positive than the list of gods top 10 no-no's.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
  2. Ny Repub

    I didn't know that Oklahoma was founded on the 10 commamdments. I thought it just had enough people at the time to become a state.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • Mercury

      They have selective memories when it comes to the Indian slaughter needed to claim it.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  3. Barry

    I don't know how he can deny that Satanism is not a religion. Satan in the bible. And Satan has done tons in OK. There are all the tornados, Tim McVeigh, tons of evil in OK. I used to pray to god that I would win the lottery but I never won until I prayed to Satan!!!! I love that Camel and the Needle verse!!! Satan wants us all to be rich!!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Read the Satanic Bible before commenting so you don't sound so clueless.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Totes Magotes

      sounds like the GOP to me.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  4. fookinGod

    YAY!!!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Andrey

    It's about time: it will be a mark on the right hand or on a forehead for all Americans next!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Yeah, because it's not like John was eating some crazy-as$ mushrooms or anything when he wrote that Revelation nonsense.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • Mein

        You got some scientific evidence of that claim there buddy? Or am I in for another copout of yours? I wont hold my breath for a convincing response

        January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Gatorfan

          Familiarize yourself with the books of Bart Ehrman, PhD, professor of religious studies at Chapel Hill.

          Your precious bible is a complete work of fiction, and not a very good one at that.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'm going to play a game of statistics here and guess that if you're an American Christian, you're probably some kind of Protestant.
      Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer himself, didn't put much stock in Revelation.

      "I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.
      My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it."
      – “Preface to the Revelation of St. John” (Luther's translation of the New Testament, 1522)

      January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  6. feli

    Ha Ha I thought this argument was going to go away! I never anticipated they would actually follow up with an actual design. It really is time to have this discussion. Separation of church and state is not a real thing in this country and it needs to happen. Religion belongs in your home with your family and friends. If you want to spread the word then EVERYONE should be able to spread their word as well. Fair is Fair.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Reddog9500

    God to the Satanic Temple: "I see what you did there!"

    January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • tony

      That must be the other all-powerful god that Jehova is jealous of.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Phoggy

      All of this is really just a lesson in idolatry. The Christians don't get that. The Satanists are just exploiting that particular hypocrisy. The Christians seem to be biting. Hook, line and sinker.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Diana

    This is wrong-very wrong. We Christian Americans need to stop this. You atheists think is soooo funny, well let me tell you something. We Christians aren't perfect, we've got a few bad apples, but for the most part we are a peace loving group- because that's what Jesus teaches. But that other group-the one you atheists are laughing WITH-that's a whole other story. They won't admit it,but they like all the wrong terrible and violent things ever imagined. Keep that in mind.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • tony

      Iraq?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Are you guys kinda like the Gay-Americans?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • bostontola

      Huh. That's interesting because they told me they've got a few bad apples, but for the most part they are a peace loving group. Now who should I believe?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        When life throws you apples, make a pie.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • tony

          Hard Cider

          January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • filthburger

      The problem is not with Christianity. It's with the govt. giving Christianity precedence over any other religion. Separation of church and state. If you want to make the govt. acknowledge religion, then acknowledge all of them.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Wayne

      Atheists? This is a story about Satanists, not Atheists.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • What?

      Diana.... Atheists do not believe in God, and therefore, do not believe in Satan. If they believe there is no heaven, then there cannot be a hell. You believe in a hell do you not? You are closer to being a Satanist then an Atheist solely based on the fact that you acknowledge the existence of Hell. Atheists are not Satanists. Please use your brain or a dictionary next time.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • byegod

      Religious freedom! Maybe if Christians weren't so keen on legislating their faith into legitimacy, things like this wouldn't happen! Several of our Founding Fathers didn't approve of clergy-led prayer at any government function, nor clergy in the military. They understood the separation of church and state needed to be ABSOLUTE. But if Christian prayers are led in government meetings, then it's only fair everyone else's deity gets representation as well! Don't forget: Satanists are religious.....please do not confuse them with atheists and agnostics, which are not.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Ruthann Adamsky

    Perhaps someone could inquire why it is these people need to have the Ten Commandments so prominently displayed; don't they know what they are?

    January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Doubtful. Bet most Okies couldn't name all ten if you asked them.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • tony

        What's after 3?

        January 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Gatorfan

          4.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • tony

          Fanks

          January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • byegod

      Ask a Christian why they work on Sunday or wash their cars or cut their grass when their Bible CLEARLY forbids it, and you will be told it's because all those prohibitions were part of the OLD Covenant. "It doesn't apply any more since Jesus came" they will say....I then remind them that the 10 Commandments are part of the "Old Covenant"....

      January 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  10. Banjo Bob

    Yep, bible thumpers are all about THEIR religious freedoms, but no one else's.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  11. SteveOfTx

    Did y'all hear about they dyslexic devil-worshiper that sold his soul to Santa?

    January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Snafu

      Or the dyslexic Christian that worships Dog?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Dave Wilson

    The proposed Satanist statue does not reflect anything towards either Oklahoma history of law and justice or of what law and justice should be now. I don't say that a Satanist statue couldn't. I just say that one doesn't do either. It is also directly promoting a single religion. (The ten commandments doesn't. Those are laws held sacred by Muslims, Jews and Christians in common.) The design of it directly seems to be provocative in fact, an entrapment to petty vandalism in fact.

    Let Satan go back to the drawing board and come up with something that doesn't so blatantly promote their religion, doesn't incite others and that uplifts the general public.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Mercury

      Oh, whereas a monument to the 10C on government property isn't blatant at all.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • SteveOfTx

      A large 3D Pentagram would represent more than one religion too. So would that make it OK?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • destinationundecided

      Wait, so even though the Ten Commandments apply to 3 separate religions, it somehow isn't religious? Seems like there should be fair representation, unless of course none of the other hundreds of religions matter? Seems like everyone gets a statue or monument, if Christians, Jews and Muslims do.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  13. Totes Magotes

    What is that young girl measuring?
    Pssst mr Satanclause, Father Donahue's member is this long, ...I know!

    January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      That's gonna leave a mark.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Bill Donohue is not a priest.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Totes Magotes

        unlike you he does play one on TV.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Funny!

          January 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          (That's not sarcastic by the way. It was funny.)

          January 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
  14. Fred Phelps

    I worship a gay Jesus. I want a monument to my gay Jesus that founded America at the statehouse.

    All hail gay Jesus!!!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
  15. Gatorfan

    Doesn't Satan coach the Red Tide in Tuscaloosa?

    January 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So by that logic, Bob Stoops must be the second coming?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        And Urban Myer is the High Priest.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
  16. SteveOfTx

    The Santaists want to erect a monument of a sleigh with 8 tiny reindeer.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • tony

      Ho Ho Ho

      January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  17. inscient

    If Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they know that ignoring god's proscription of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was evil?

    January 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Billy

      Basically, he was like the parent of an overweight kid dangling a chicken nugget in front of their face. (Instead of an apple.)

      January 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • Billy

        Only very sadistic, since he supposedly knew the outcome of the game all along.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • Carolyn

        God was specific and told of the consequences – see Genesis 2:16, 17 – "God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. 17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”

        January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Mark W.

          Which version of Genesis? You do realize that the bible contradicts itself in its first book? There are two similar, but different stories running in parallel with eachother.

          January 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • CW

      If any of that were actually real, we'd care.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • tony

      An apple a day is now officially good for your health.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        There's no mention of apples in Genesis.

        Might have been kumquat for all we know.

        (I just like saying kumquat)

        January 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • tony

          Genesis 1:29

          January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Gatorfan

          29Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.…

          Like I said.......

          January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • tony

          And me. They are mentioned by inclusion in the set of all fruit yielding seed trees. Just because an apple is known as a false friut doesn't exclude it from the seed yielding definition.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • Horatio Rotten Bottoms

      If they were the first humans, then why do they have belly buttons?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Carolyn

      This is in repoly to inscient's question If Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they know that ignoring god's proscription of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was evil?

      God was specific and told of the consequences – see Genesis 2:16, 17 – "God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. 17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”

      January 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • raforrester

        The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is certainly a metaphor, but what does that mean about all the other trees in the garden. God decided to hide away the tree of life, but what kind of knowledge did the other trees represent? Fire? Agriculture? Writing?

        January 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • raforrester

      You probably didn't expect a serious answer, but there is one. A lot of theologians say that God knew that the only way that humans could mature and become adults was by disobeying God, the same way that children have to start to think for themselves and disobey their parents in order to become independent adults.

      Also possible that God was saying stay away from those Zoroastrians over in the East, who believe in the duality of good and evil.

      Not possible is that it was an actual tree, and actual fruit. "The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" means just the results of knowing good and evil. Like the Zoroastrians.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
  18. Skeeve

    What no phallic symbols? What kind of satanists are they? 🙂

    January 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  19. anchorite

    I'm all for this. If Christians are going to make a mockery of freedom of speech and steal credit for America's legal foundation, then Satanists should get just as much credit and also show them how ridiculous they're being.

    January 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mike

      Wait, how are Christians making a mockery of free speech? Because we believe we shouldn't get fired for standing up for what we believe? That's not us making a mockery of it, that's the people who fire us, making a mockery of it. You know, it's only fair to let them do that, since the 10 commandments are there, but whether you like it or not, this country was founded by Christians, who used Christian teachings to set forth some laws, but they were nice enough, because of what happened in England, to let people believe what they want, without getting in trouble for it. I think the 10 Commandments should be in a public place, but maybe a park and not a courthouse. That way, it doesn't make it seem like it's a government thing. But as Jefferson said, the separation of church and state, isn't to keep the church out of the state matters, but to keep the state, out of church matters. Remember that folks. It was to protect the Danbury Baptists by saying Jefferson won't let the government interfer with their work, he never said they can't interfer or ptu their beliefs into the government.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        Let's see some proof that Christians are being fired for their beliefs.

        Oh, right, they aren't. You're just a liar.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • tony

        Xtian free speech is tax exempt. Atheism's isn't

        January 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • joan

        Yes, the puritans came here to escape from religious persecution, which they themselves proceeded to do to other religious groups once settled in the new world. We are more than a christian nation and have always been more than a christian nation. The founders wrote that this nation was not founded in any religion, although christian historians will tell you otherwise.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Mercury

          The US is a secular nation with a Christian majority; this seems to give them the idea that Christianity is the official religion of the US. It isn't.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Mercury

        This isn't 1692, guy. When was the last time a Christian was fired for their beliefs here in the US?
        The persecution complex is strong in your post.

        And as long as any tax dollars go towards the upkeep of that public place, the 10C monument doesn't belong there, either.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • joan

        "to keep the state out of church matters" – you know, because the English king was the head of the church and directed the church in what to do . I put that into context for you.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • QuestionEverything

        @Mike –
        "Because we believe we shouldn't get fired for standing up for what we believe?" – I wasn't aware that Christians are being fired for their beliefs; I'm sure you have evidence for such an outlandish comment.

        "but whether you like it or not, this country was founded by Christians" – Religious is not the same as Christian, and being a member of specific church does not make someone a Christian.

        "who used Christian teachings to set forth some laws" – Which Christian teachings and which laws?

        "but they were nice enough, because of what happened in England, to let people believe what they want" – arrogant much?

        "he never said they can't interfer or ptu their beliefs into the government." – Jefferson never said they could, either.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • THECarroll

        Christians don't get fired for speaking their mind, in a lot of places they are highly supported or at least tolerated. This is all part of the nonsense "victimhood" they claim, even though it really only exists in the fundamentalist mind. Meanwhile, Christians openly support state laws that allow for companies to fire workers for being LGBTTQ. That's right, not getting up and proselytizing, but simply being it. So what group is really being victimized?

        Christians love to weep about how unfair everyone is to them, all the while twisting biblical words to support an agenda of hate and discrimination. Enough is enough. Boo hoo hoo.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  20. last wordz

    Satan, God and Allah can take a hike!

    January 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      And banjo music starts playing................

      January 7, 2014 at 1:54 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.