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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. Daniel

    There is no God/Devil dichotomy. It's all BS. That is a pretty cool statue though.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
  2. Melissa

    How incredibly funny. Bet this annoys the christians.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  3. Drew

    If a Christian group proposed a statue that was mainly intended to insult other faiths, rather than note the historical role of their own...I hope that one would be denied, just as this one should.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      1) Isn't the first commandment, by definition an insult to other religions.
      2) What about this statue insults other religions exactly?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • NSL

        The First Amendment insults no religion as anyone who has read it knows. It just says, with regard to government and religion that government shouldn't establish (read that support too) any particular religion. Therefore no religious symbols including this newly proposed one should be on the Capitol grounds including the Ten Commandments. Whether any one is insulted about any of these symbols is irrelevant.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          he said first commandment, not first amendment.

          January 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • aces2jokers

      I guess you believe that the Hindu statue request is also an insult to Christianity. Just because they believe something different than Christianity doesn't mean they're out to antagonize Christians.

      January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  4. The little girl looks like she's blabbing.

    🙂 🙂

    January 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • kev

      Nah – speaking in tongues is some other group.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
  5. Sid Airfoil

    I'm a devout atheist. Thus, I eject the supernatural aspects of all religions and the faith that allows people to believe in them. Nevertheless I am curious how "Compassion and empathy among all living creatures" fits in with reverence for Satan/Baphomet. Is there a benevolent interpretation of Satan of which I am unaware?

    Sid

    January 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Satan is the ultimate humanist, or at least that's what he says in "The Devil's Advocate", and we all know that Hollywood movies are the new gospel.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • ME II

        If it was "Inspired" by Satan, then sure, why not.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • Jordan

      The Satan figure since its' introduction of "good vs evil" mentality in the Book of Job has always been more of a deterrent to do evil. If I had to tag compassion to Satan, it would be of his will portrayal of being evil and being despised in order to encourage people not to be so.

      Thanks for taking one for the team, Satan 😀

      January 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
  6. sly

    If you are going to allow religious folks to place their monuments in public land, I don't see much difference between a monument to their Satan or their Jesus.

    Gosh, why do religious folks take their opinions so seriously? I am a big Forty Niner fan, but I'm not sitting here today telling all the Green Bay fans that 'My team is right', 'My team is better', 'My team is Americas team'. Why? Because the guys in Green Bay don't really care about the opinions of a Niner fan, and they shouldnt'.

    Y'all are free to practice your rituals, but please, try to keep those rituals to yourselves.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  7. littlepeaks

    Thought it would be a statue of Obama.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • sly

      Yes, President Obama is Satan.

      Who else would kill America's #1 enemy of all time? Or end 2 Bush Trillion Dollar Oil genocides? Eliminate federal discrimination on the basis of religion?

      Since America is Evil, Satan helped make America better and stronger by placing Satan as President.

      Only when Jesus is President will America finally begin to weaken, to the benefit of the world.

      Yup ... those drugs sure do have 'littlepeaks', right littlepeaks?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • aldewacs2

        I suspect it'll be a few months after his final term before Obama confirms he's an atheist.
        There is no way that Americans could vote for any atheist, at least not yet.
        Until that changes America is stuck with politicians who will (have to) pretend to be religious.
        Some day that sentiment will change, as education finally reaps what it sows, and religion becomes a historical oddity.

        January 10, 2014 at 9:45 am |
  8. Ace

    Only 2 things come from Oklahoma.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • ME II

      but... but... it has horns : )

      January 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Decima

        AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

        Awesome.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  9. Glenn

    Youtube comic conflict the origin of evil by Dough Bachelor . Also the great controversy. And bible prophecy last day events by Dough Bachelor. Satan comes in many discussers, take Santa for example, what colour suite does Santa where? What does satan supposedly where? Take the letter n from the middle of Santa and put it on the end. Satan is the father of lies. And whoever lies is of their father the devil, so who is our father? Because we are all burn liars. No wonder Jesus said you must be born again because their was a problem with our first birth, born sinful with a bent nature to do evil, think about it, do you have to teach children to be good or bad? Be honest take a good look at yourself . We lie to our children all the time, we tell them that Santa is real and God is not and satan hates God, do you hate God or Jesus who is God in the flesh? If so then you and satan have something in common, HATE instead of LOVE, don't take offence to this I'm also in the same boat as everyone else I to hated God, it's hard wired into our system. That is until I started to study God holy book then my Eyes were open. And no I'm not a slave to satan any longer, I'm been set free, and you can to, who is the author of evil anyway? Put a d at the beginning of evil. Who is the author of good? Take one o out, the bible says that God is love He came to this rebel planet in the form of His Son to save that which was lost, we are all lost in space we all have a tendency to do evil. Satan is your enemy, he will give you your hearts desires but it's they way of death, time is short, do away with hatred, put love in your heart. For God Soooo loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever ( your name) believes in Him( Jesus ) will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

    January 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      You should read "Paradise Lost" to get your perspective back on this issue. Sounds like you need it.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Deborah

      Jesus is God in flesh but yet God so loved the world he gave his ONLY son (Jesus) that who so ever believe in Him (Jesus) will not perish? Does that really make sense to you? God is so supposedly mighty that he needs a woman to give birth to himself and is his own son? And if you believe in his son – not him but he is his son, you will have an everlasting life? Are you so afraid of death that you would believe such a convoluted story?

      January 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
      • aldewacs2

        How come god had only 1 son?
        Who was the mother?
        Did she die in childbirth?

        January 10, 2014 at 9:46 am |
  10. Stevester

    From a purely aesthetic view, it's really a beautiful statue. I think it would look nice.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
  11. G_Edwards

    Based on the purpose and quotations, it's a protest on other religions, rather than any semblance of a religion. It should be disapproved in those grounds alone.

    .

    January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      ↑↑ Satanist basher ↑↑

      January 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you saying that the which monuments get accepted depend on religious criteria? Oklahoma seems to be saying it's not religious criteria.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • JC

      Because the belief in imaginery sky fairies is sacrosanct, right? LMAO

      January 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • igaftr

      g_edwards
      " it's a protest on other religions"

      So is the first commandment, so it should be removed on the same grounds, right?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
  12. chris

    religious freedom people, love it or hate it, all's fair as they say. kinda miss those pesky muslims right about now eh...?

    January 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • G_Edwards

      If were actually a tribute to their deity, I'd have no issue with it. But it's not.

      .

      January 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Christians and Muslims – same deity, different prophets.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Jordan

          true story

          January 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  13. Jamie

    Love it. I am Catholic but I can not stand religion being shoved down my throat or having other religions come knocking at my door asking me if I found Jesus. My husband happens to be Orthodox which has made a great joke for us to reply that we infact found Jesus first. Anyway, this is a great way to show Christians how others feel about our religious symbols being every where you go. Plus, America is mostly protestant and if I remember correctly they were the ones who went around destroying Catholic Churches and burning images and holy relics in protest of icons. What ever happened to that idea?

    January 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • G to the T

      They became the majority in our nation and forgot what it was like to be in the minority. Luckily, our founding fathers were aware of this potential issue and included the separation of church and state as a safe-guard.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  14. WeddingChris

    It kind of looks like a dog with antlers. Why not showcase Satan's laws instead though? Are there any? LOL I find the whole thing a bit funny but if we are going to showcase religious icons, then all religious icons should be allowed. How about Vishnu?

    January 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Do what thou wilt?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • bob

      Absolutely. That's the point.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  15. glauber

    I love this. Say what you will about "Satanists", but they do have a flair for the artistic, the theatrical and the provocative.

    And when they provoke, you sometimes get invaluable gems as reactions, such as Rep. Wesselhoft's doubting that the statue will be "approved," implying that one religion's symbol is somehow more or less worthwhile in the eyes of the state than another. It's precisely this sort of boneheadedness that people calling themselves Satanists (most of whom don't really believe in Satan, BTW) enjoy laying bare.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
  16. resident

    Personally, I'll keep worshipping the Mothman icon at Point Pleasant, WV.
    You will only find out why you're here if you listen to the Mothman's prophecies!

    January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
  17. cedar rapids

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

    Sorry Bob but you dont get to decide what 'values' are valid for Oklahoma.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Live4Him

      So, New Yorkers SHOULD decide?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • igaftr

        Certainly New Yorkers have theri say...as they are Americans, and OK wants to violate the US Const!tution so ALL americans have a say...but remember...it is not majority rule thing since it deals with civil rights.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • G to the T

        No, but he was wrong too, so it's OK. The 10 commandments are the values of only SOME of the people in OK. The majority does not get to vote on the civil rights of the minority.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Johnny

        Most likely people from Oklahoma called the people from New York in so that people like you, Live4Him, wouldn't burn their houses down.

        January 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  18. Rose

    Also, there is 1K comments. Where?

    January 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Rose, you have to click on the other comment pages at the bottom of the page.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • glauber

      There ARE 1k comments. Sorry to be the grammar cop today, but incorrect number agreement is jarring to read or hear.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
  19. DJR

    I like that, a pagan idol, (your words) made by mans hands of the group who's spirit is worshiping he who is known as the father of lies, murder and lust. As GOD viewed man kind in the day's of Noah he looked down and found not one clean thought gesture or belief, not one. In his case bout the devil and his contribution C.S. Lewis portrays the followers of these teachings unable to speak to each other with out lies upon lies. a constant rant of made up fantasy. Thats what our land needs to portray as good to it's people and visitors. Get it! Lies upon lies. Fool yourself.

    January 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      You shouldn't mock Satan for sure. My wife's groin doctor knows a fella who saw Satan walkin around in broad daylight over in Elizabeth. But he can change into anything at the drop of a hat:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JuSfRgh0Vo&w=640&h=390]

      January 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • t3chn0ph0b3

        Ha, ha, ha!!!

        January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'As GOD viewed man kind in the day's of Noah he looked down and found not one clean thought gesture or belief, not one.'

      so why did god make such a flawed creation in the first place then? didnt he know this would be the result?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • sybaris

        so much for intelligent design

        January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • aj

        Cause your god doesn't exist

        January 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Snafu

      ' As GOD viewed man kind in the day's of Noah he looked down and found not one clean thought gesture or belief, not one.'

      .....What about Noah or anyone in his family?

      January 7, 2014 at 3:21 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.