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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. w

    I love this quote from their website...

    "Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness,"

    I mean with THAT description I am sure that if only they would change "Satan" to something like "Maverick" or "Bubba" and tweak his look a bit I am sure the ultra-right-wing-conservative-"christian"-holier-than-thou-"family"-values-GOP-Tea-Party-fanatical-extremists would jump on the bandwagon and embrace him as a new leader for their cause! LOL

    January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  2. Jason

    This group again...

    These aren't Satanists. They are attention-whoring wannabes.

    Why is it that CNN cannot seem to get a grip on who is from the actual Church of Satan or from some upstart little pseudo-Satanic circle-jerk?

    Did you guys not have on HP Gilmore not too long ago? Was that not enough proof? How gullible are your journalists?

    January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • .

      Who cares who they are? Their cause is valid.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Jason,

      Why can't you "get a grip" on the point they are making?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
  3. Name*partypeanut

    Yeah. Whatever.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
  4. Mein

    I wonder if atheists know that they are the same as satanists at a much more lower state of spiritual understanding?

    January 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mark

      I wonder if christians know that atheists don't really worry about religious judgements?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Simia Cillus

      But with a vastly superior IQ....cos, their minds are analytical.....

      January 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • igaftr

      Mein
      Arrogant much?...hey look everybody, I have a greater understanding of something that no one can show to exist....hilarious.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • Mein

        You want to see yet you make yourself deliberately blind to it? How does that work there buddy?

        January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          mein.
          There is no evidence anywhere that there is such a thing as a spiritual realm...that is just YOUR delusion thinking that a) it exists, and B) that you have an understanding of it.

          There are none so blind as those who think a book makes them see.
          Your book was clearly inspired by satan. Since it has been around, there has been chaos, death destruction and faster spread of disease...clearly the work of satan.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
  5. fidel

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian........

    January 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • Live4Him

      great example of copy-n-paste.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • fidel

        thanx

        January 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • Uncommon Sense

        Great example of not having a worthwhile reply to valid points.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • Live4Him

          I've studies the Bible in the original language. Have you? Has the mocker that posted this? I doubt it. This alone invalidates this list as it falsifies #10.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • BRC

          Live4Him,
          If you have spent more time studying the bible than the poster, it doesn't nullify the list, it simply shows that you are not a Christian in name only. Congrats, if anyone here ever doubted your convictions, you know have empirical evidence that they are real, adn you are very committed to your religion. Though, I doubt any of us rely quesitoned your faith or religious disposition (unless you are one REALLY committed Poe).

          January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          L4H: Right...so you're fluent in the Greek and Hebrew languages? The fact that you have devoted your life to studying the bible is no different than someone devoting their life to studying the Koran or Torah...all stories with no solid peer-reviewed evidence to back them.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • iheartyou

      Marry me?? 🙂

      January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  6. Timothy M

    I don't like the statue or the group, but they have every right to have the statue (or some other marker) put there if Oklahoma is allowing other religions to place their own statues there. Demonizing one group (no pun intended) because of their religious beliefs is profoundly un-American.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • Cyle

      You intended the pun... can't fool me. 😉

      January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Tired of Silly1

      Exactly. If Christian mythology can be in a government building so can every other ridiculous "religion". One is no more offensive than another to a thinking person.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
  7. Reality # 2

    Satan, the demon of the demented !! So why is this topic still being discussed???

    January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • Hilikus

      Because you didn't read the article.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Scroll up the page to 2:28 PM.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
  8. my name is

    thanks cnn. now the entire underworld of religious loons will be proclaiming armageddon and the rise of the antichrist because they're too thick-headed to see past the parody of it all. sigh...

    January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  9. Cyle

    THIS is what you asked for when you insisted on putting up a monument to a religion. In this country, if one religion is allowed representation of federal lands then ALL religions must be afforded the same opportunity.

    The christian view of America is freedom of "just the right one" religion.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  10. scottw

    if one religion is allowed to be represented, all should be allowed.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Trevor David Hitchin

    I will try to raise $20k 'on line' to help secure legal representation against the real Goat Headed Satanists. In my case that would be MetLife Home Loans, UCLA Execs, LAPD and Bratton, GSK, et al.

    This type of 'news' puts America down. Fight it up....believe. 777

    January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • fatherheathen

      Either all religions get equal representation, or none. So they can either get the 10 commandments display off public group, or allow the Satanic display along side it. If you don't like it, get the hell out of my country.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • Mein

        *afraid*

        January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • igaftr

      TDH...so you want to raise money to fight against the first amendment....good for you . As un-American as you can get.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
  12. Todd

    Thought I saw and heard it all, guess not!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
  13. cnrski

    Anything PUT UP.........can always be TAKEN DOWN.........Satanists NEED to remember this.......so just crawl back into your pits , stay there and shut the F up!!

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

      cnrski,

      How "Christian" of you!

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

      OK opened this door. The 10C shouldn't have been put up on government property. Having opened that door, they shouldn't be surprised at what walks through.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • sybaris

      and there you have it, freedom of speech only when it's allowed

      January 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      You're right and that is why the ACLU is fighting to remove the 10 Commandments. You either give representation to all belief's or none at all.
      Isn't living in a Secular country grand :-)?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • sly

        If we were not a secular country, we would be identical to Iran.

        The day America abandons being secular is the day to get out our guns and take back our nation from the crazy religious folks. (wouldn't take a week – they drop their guns and pray when confronted with danger).

        January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
    • whorureally

      I bet Satan put you up to saying that.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • Cyle

        Yes, he speaks to me through secret messages in my Alpha-Bits.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Sally

    This cannot be allowed to happen!!! Evil cannot take over any more than it already has.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • sybaris

      There is no evil, just degrees of benefit

      January 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • Totes Magotes

      yes religions ALL of them that preach hate and a need for a God /Allah need to be removed. they are destructive since they cannot be deciphered on a level that HELPS the ENTIRE human race regardless of color or belief.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • David York

      Obviously just a publicity stunt. Suckers!!!

      January 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Mercury

      Illustrate how a hunk of concrete is evil.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • Charles

        That was a good reply. Evil concrete, much stronger and weather resistent. People are so gullible.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
    • Twist

      That's what we think of X-tianity, you worthless bigot.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • whorureally

      You're right, but there's not much the rest of the country can do about the Oklahoma legislature.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Jackson

      The only evil here is in the inequality you vomit.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • igaftr

      Sally
      You are right...evil needs to be removed, so ALL bible refernces should be removed, since the bible is one of the most evil things ever created...since it has been around, there has been death destruction, spread of disease chaos, all because the bible exists.
      Go for it Sally, get that evil bible out of our world.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
  15. pbernasc

    funny trap for religious bigots who really wants the state to be a religious government ... I like to see how they claim a statanist statute not having the right to be in a gov building ... given they love the 10 commandments and God to be displayed .in gov buildings..
    please note that I am not for placing a satanist statute in any building .. just i think those who want god displayed in gov buildings aren't much different

    January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Reality Check

    In a CNN newsroom somewhere an editor was heard yelling, "Bring me the head of the church of satan...i need a quote"

    January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  17. MadMarv

    Perhaps a statue of Thomas Jefferson with the following language from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom would also make the point. I don't think they could argue that Jefferson is irrelevant to the state of Oklahoma.

    "... no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities."

    January 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
  18. John

    I hope the Satanists succeed because I believe that aliens provided the life-seed to the earth. In fact? It was a dozen different civilizations that did so. My group is raising money so that we can have a statue representing each mother-alien erected. We figure they can encircle all the other statues since THEY were the start of everything else.... Then there's my Buddhist friend who is interested in the same. (He's wondering if Buddha could have his left hand resting on Satan's shoulder.) My girlfriend is Mormon and she'd like to see a ten foot Joseph Smith monument as well. Shumi my East Indian friend has some Hindu related God ideas as well.....that might take a while though since there's a number of them she'd like represented. Come on people – we can't have every Tom, Dick, and Harry who wants to erect a statue for supposed religious reasons have their way at the state capitol. Look around you at state and national historical monuments all over the country. Why so many references to the Bible and Christianity? It's not rocket science folks. That was the primary belief system of the majority of our founding fathers with some deviation as is always the case within denominations of any religion. You think any of the founding fathers would have tolerated such nonsense? It made be the direction this country is headed now – but it's laughable for anyone to look back on history and think this is what they had in mind.

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

      " it's laughable for anyone to look back on history and think this is what they had in mind."

      I don't think so. I see where God & Christian references for landmarks and within celebratory speeches as pacifist offerings from the people who wrote the national law that we still live by (to their more fundamental consti-tuencies). The influence of Deism on the first five presidents shows strongly in their more important writings – where they are reflecting on the need to separate government from religion. That Madison came to disagree with having chaplains for the House and Senate in his lifetime shows that he already was thinking of expanded application of his Establishment Clause.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • QuestionEverything

      " it's laughable for anyone to look back on history and think this is what they had in mind."

      It is also laughable to think that the Founders would have wanted references to the Bible and Christianity on state and national historical monuments.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  19. sybaris

    The difference between me and your god is if I saw a baby being ra.ped I would try to stop it

    January 7, 2014 at 2:09 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.