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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. Hahahaha

    Pretty hilarious that they're putting up a statue of Baphomet and calling it Satan. Some Satanists they are.

    LaVey and his whole gang of cronies is just so exceptionally off-base they circle back around to being endearing in a sort of goofy, incompetent sort of way.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • ErnieK

      Did you skip the entire part of the article where they state the "Satanists" aren't actually a religion based around Satan but people purposely provoking and ridiculing those who are stuck with such simple ideas? The fact that you condescend about them when that completely flew over your head was... what was the word?... endearing.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • sqeptiq

        HaHa didn't read the article at all.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • KnowBeforeYouSpeak

      The organization behind the statue is the Satanic Temple, which has no affiliation whatsoever with LaVey's Church of Satan. In fact, the latter highly disapproves of this stunt.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  2. G to the T

    Does anyone else realize the reason we have so many 10 commandment monuments is because they were donated as part of the advertising for the Cecil B DeMille movie?

    January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Hahahaha

      Shhhh! Don't tell them!

      Ignorance is hilarious, don't take that away from us!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
  3. Balthazaar

    Oklahoma should erect native American religous monuments, since it was calle the Indian Territories until 1890, when the whites decided they wanted that chunk of land too and threw them out.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  4. NotYoDaddy

    Idiots!

    If there was a Satan, Satan would certainly appear as the handsomeist of people. Not some goat headed boogie man.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • G to the T

      Statue isn't of Satan/Lucifer...

      January 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
  5. Evenstar

    What a joke in a sad sort of way America has become. Such a shame.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Econ301

      It's a joke when you suggest that allowing equal treatment of all groups under the law is shameful.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:40 am |
  6. buzz

    IIdolatry!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • dlindie

      You mean like praying to a painted picture or concrete statue of a god? Wouldn't that make Christianity the height of idolatry?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Raymonde

    Why would a group based in NY want a statue in OK? Seems like they are more interested in started a fight than they are in being equally represented.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • James

      Because they are trying to send a message, that Oklahoma does NOT have the right to ignore the 1st Amendment.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • ErnieK

      They're interested in a fight ABOUT being equally represented.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • dbrown

      Because people in NY hate it that Oklahoma doesn't have a problem with GOD. We even still pray at High School sports events here. I say this.... the laws were made to be put back to the states to decide, not to be entirely all encompassing Federally controlled. So the NY Satanists need to stay out of Oklahoma and pick their own fights in NY.... but I guess no one will fight you there... baaaa baaa baaaa.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Baal

    Washington State went thru the garbage about 4 years ago.. Now, NO religious icons can be erected on ANY State property..

    AS it should be!!!

    Promote one religion, then the State has to honor them ALL!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |
  9. jon

    disturbing

    January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • Evenstar

      Very!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  10. FrankinSD

    The OK polls don't seem to realize that they are playing into the hands of the satinists. Once they start discriminating by content, they will violate the First Amendment. The only way to keep religious propaganda on public property is to remain neutral as the the message. The satinists don't want their statue up, they want all the others down.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Do "satinists" worship shiny cloth?

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

      It's not like anything like that would end up staying up in Oklahoma.... the people would end up taking it into their own hands.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
  11. BitPhr3ak

    If you believe in one supernatural being, you might as well believe in them all!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • Brainwashed Christians

      How true! how true!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  12. Roxanne

    If Christians get to put a statue up on government property than I don't see a problem with any religion being able to erect a monument. Freedom of religion and all that...

    January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • Wendy

      Yes, as long as it is really a religion and not a satire or group of "political provocateurs." Let Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc. put up monuments. That would be fine. This sort of monument is meant more to mock than anything else, and as such it weakens the statement of monuments put up by serious religions.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • Pest

        Sorry, when the government starts discriminating based on subjective "seriousness" of a religion, then that means it is not remaining neutral. Neutrality is supposed to be neutral.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:31 am |
      • Econ301

        You want to allow the Government the Authority to determine the legitimacy of Religions?

        I don't know that I want the give that power to the Government. Do you really thinking giving them that power is a good idea, or just convenient to you right now... because giving the Government too much power when it seems good for you today is a great way to find your rights being trampled upon tomorrow.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • cbtx67

        What is your basis for a religion's validity? Is the Hindu's invalid because they have animal faces on their gods? Or are christians religion invalid because it has a zombie? You can't validate religion because it is based on faith and individual beliefs. That is why the Satanists are doing this, and should. Freedom for all or freedom for none!

        January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Okie in Mass

    "The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures," Because that is totally what Satanism is about...And I love all the paganism symbols that are used in this statue.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • StinkyCheez

      Why is YOUR interpretation of Satanism any more valid than theirs, hmm?

      January 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Econ301

      Just a question, are you sure that you know what Satanism is about? AS a non Satanist why do you feel like your belief about what Satanism is about is more accurate then the words of the Satanists themselves?

      January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |
      • Responding to the Pride

        I trust your response here is consistent with what seems like every atheists attempt to define Christian beliefs?

        January 7, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Econ301

          Yes.

          I'm an atheist but not a combative one. People are free to believe what they want, and if I need to convince you of the truth as I see it then I've failed. Each person must come to there own conclusion, if I lead you to it it's a disservice to you, and me.

          Also I am an ex-Christian so it's not like I've not walked a mile in your shoes so to speak. As most American Atheists are.

          Never the less, fighting with Christians over the "truth" is not helping anyone.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          Atheist don't define Christian beliefs...Christians do. Atheists merely dispute their supernatural claims. It's the same reason I dismiss Christian definitions of atheism...I get to choose what I mean by labeling myself an atheist...not someone who isn't an atheist.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Hahahaha

          An awful lot of atheists, myself included, are former Christians. I'm not talking "went to church on Easter" Christians – personally, I've been involved with several international missions trips, I owned literally hundreds of Christian music albums, I even had a stint teaching youth group.

          Then suddenly I realized I was devoting an awful lot of time to a fairy tale intended to trick gullible people into acting like decent people.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Responding to the Pride

          Ah, the exceptions to the rule n doubt. Surely you've read, if you've been following this blog for any significant time, the 100s of posts in which atheists try to tell us what is in the Bible and then suggest were not following it....for instance, Hahahaha, you know very well that the law of Moses does not, and has never, been the obligation of Christians. Yet, atheists routinely accuse us of being hypocrites because we eat bacon.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Responding to the Pride

          Hahahaha...although I disagree with your statement: "a fairy tale intended to trick gullible people into acting like decent people"–is there something wrong with getting people to act like decent people?

          January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          "the 100s of posts in which atheists try to tell us what is in the Bible and then suggest were not following it"

          How is that defining your belief? Asking why you follow some parts of the Bible and not others is valid. The Bible is either all true or its not. If its not then how do you determine what is and what isn't true.Especially since so many different sects have different opinions on the matter. Pointing out inconsistencies provides an opportunity for you to explain. Again Christians and the Bible define what being a Christian is and that definition appears, at least from outside, to be inconsistent.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Econ301

          What's wrong with "Getting People to act like Decent People" is when you feel like you need to deceive them to convince them to be decent people.

          Why does it matter how old the Earth is, why does it matter how the Universe was or was not created? Or Evolution etc? Or if the Sun is the center of the Solar System or not... (These fights go way back)

          IF you think people will only be decent if they agree with you on how the universe was created or share your belief in some sort of God, then your really saying you don't have faith in people.

          Do you think people can't be decent people if they don't believe what you believe?

          January 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Responding to the Pride

          "Asking why you follow some parts of the Bible and not others is valid." Asking? You're not paying attention. If you want to ask–that's cool. But the tenor of the posts is almost always: "Leviticus says X, you go against X, you're a a hypocrite so I won't listen to you–azzhole." You can't deny it.

          January 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Responding to the Pride

          "when you feel like you need to deceive them" So everyone who shares the Good News is a DELIBERATE con-man? They themselves don't believe what they're selling? Where you really a Christian?

          January 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • KAS

      No worse than the other religions of the world who are at each other's throats, killing each other in the name of their God. Then there are the good Christians who harass, attack and even kill those who want to have an abortion or those who perform them, again, in the name of their God.

      If you think Satanism has an issue with compassion and empathy, look in the mirror

      January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • Steve

      Please look them up on Google. I did, and that truly is what they stand for. Live and let live. Because of this, I now have respect for the Church of Satan because I was intrigued to learn more about them. Don't expect me to became a fanatical convert, but it's hard to argue with their message.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  14. Kyle

    A sign of the times, no doubt.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:12 am |
    • Econ301

      If you didn't want this to happen perhaps you shouldn't have opened the can of worms in the first place.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • G to the T

      I know! Great isn't it?

      January 7, 2014 at 11:47 am |
  15. Darwin

    "Only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed" So here's my suggestions:
    1) A monument to all the black people murdered in Oklahoma which the police didn't think was worth investigating
    2) A monument to all the black children forced to go to segregated schools
    3) A monument to the black people who weren't allowed to use service station bathrooms
    4) A monument to all the American Indians discriminated in Oklahoma and treated like dirt
    Etc. Etc. Etc. THOSE are OKLAHOMA VALUES!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:12 am |
    • Kyle

      Cry me a river.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • StinkyCheez

        I love it; no denial, just "cry me a river". In other words, you completely endorse every one of those things.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Baal

          Same argument can be made for all the Chinese folks murdered in America during the 1800s.

          Yep, cry me a river....

          January 7, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • Kyle

          I sure do.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
      • doobzz

        Love your Christian values.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • yll

        a river? you already have...a TRAIL...of tears! badum ching
        orz

        January 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  16. kyzaadrao

    Perhaps one day CNN will realize that a belief blog with more articles about satanists and atheists than religion isn't fooling anyone.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • midwest rail

      Of course, since there are many more articles about religion and Christianity in general, your assertion is false.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • kyzaadrao

        The ones that are on religion tend to focus on the negative aspects or doubt mongering. If this seems like a blog that in any way compliments or does fair treatment of both negative and positive aspects of religion then perhaps they are actually fooling some.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • midwest rail

          Changing your original assertion fools no one.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • G to the T

          B.S. – How many "pope is da bomb" articles have we seen in the last few months? Me thinks your bias is showing...

          January 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • tallulah13

          I'd say that you have not been paying much attention to the endless articles that describe every action of the new pope with breathless fanboy enthusiasm.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • kyzaadrao

          @midwest ... wasn't meant as an assertion, but surely you're intelligent enough to understand the gist of my meaning. If you're not, an assertion would be lost on you.

          Agree, they are fans of the Pope for now. As for bias, it's a religion blog, bias is thick all around.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • midwest rail

          "...a belief blog with more articles about satanists and atheists than religion isn't fooling anyone."
          Of course it's an assertion, with an underlying implication.
          That being said, it is difficult to discuss religion in general, or one of them specifically, without bias of some form. I believe the best that an be hoped for is an attempt at balance. Merely because CNN reports on what is transpiring in Oklahoma doesn't indicate an anti-Christian bias.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • midwest rail

          kyzaadrao –

          I reread my two initial replies to you and believe them to have been overly abrupt and harsh. Please do return in the future, you seem like an intelligent individual with whom honest discourse could take place. Mea culpa.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Brainwashed Christians

        More pope articles!!!....... yawn.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • BRC

      1 out of the last 10 posts is not about Christianity... I think it'll be okay.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • yaa

      Absolutely Not! They also debate if Santa and Jesus are white

      January 7, 2014 at 11:15 am |
      • MACT

        Well, at least Frosty the Snowman is surely white?

        January 7, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Ian

          Don't eat the yellow snow

          January 7, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • 9hydra

      Posts about satanists aren't about religion?

      January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am |
  17. yaa

    LFMAO, OK reps would'nt know what hit 'em

    January 7, 2014 at 11:08 am |
  18. NYVeteran

    Hilarious! Lets erect so many religious monuments on public land that you cant access the services that they were built to provide. When faced with absurdity, turn it around to the other extreme and this is the result. Go Satanists!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:08 am |
    • yaa

      @NYVeteran: True! It is good that the muslims the jews don't have statues or they would come up too, I wonder if the Roma people can apply for one of theirs

      January 7, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Econ301

        Oh they are. Everyone is applying now that they know they can. Says so in the article.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • jed clampett

        Maybe the muslims can put up a statue of Mohammed.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
  19. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Is this story real or was it stolen from The Onion?

    January 7, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • Mac

      This story and the atheist church story are real! Evidence that religious people aren't the only whack jobs out there. Thanks guys!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • sqeptiq

        Parody is not symptomatic of "whack jobs." You have to be serious to be one of those.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • Atheism is for everyone

        This is a result of Christians not understanding what the separation of church and state is. If they are allowed a monument (the 10 Commandments) then so is every other religion (even Satanists). The atheist church is an attempt to bring attention to the same problem from the unfair tax exemptions churches are being allowed to have.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • bulk001

          The athiest church can apply for tax exempt status as well as any other non-profit or religious organization.

          January 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • Winston Blake

          Satan is from the Jewish religion...

          January 18, 2014 at 8:03 am |
  20. Phil

    Looks like Satan is giving the new Boy Scout Scout Oath

    January 7, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • stevem2424

      death buys aids dood job keep it up !

      April 17, 2014 at 12:45 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.