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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. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This is all a lot of fun, but it doesn't get at the problem of the ten commandments monument. Many people believe that American law is derived from the law of the Abrahamic God. It is not. A better response would be a rather small monument that shows how much of God's law is actually consistent with American law. Let's start with

    "I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me."

    Does American law agree that there is such a God at all?

    January 8, 2014 at 12:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      Too many American christians apparently have no clue about the foundation of the United States, the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. (I won't say all because there are quite a few that actually paid attention in civics class.) A lot of American christians, like many of the ones on this blog, feel entitled to special rights, simply because their religion tells them that they are the center of the universe. They've gotten away with it for so long, they get angry when they are expected to obey the law of the land, just like everyone else.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:55 am |
    • Dimsdale

      I thought the point was to force equality. Everyone can have a statue, or nobody can. The favoritism Christians presume is the issue.

      American law is based on the Enlightenment, which was a rejection of theological domination, and which Christians fought against.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:55 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        What these Christians presume is that their God, the One True God, is real and is the preeminent authority over all of us.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:04 am |
    • Ja

      America is a Christian nation

      January 8, 2014 at 1:02 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        It's not. It is our nation.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:05 am |
      • tallulah13

        Nooooooo. The majority of the population is christian, but this is a secular nation. Our freedom to worship any god or not worship at all guaranteed by the Constitution.

        It's really embarassing how many American's don't even know the basics about their own government. This is what happens when you stop funding schools.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:06 am |
      • G to the T

        If you don't believe in freedom of religion, why do you live in the US?

        January 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  2. Kimmy

    Then I want to put up cross and huge Jesus statue! 10 commandments is Jewish

    January 8, 2014 at 12:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      Jesus was also jewish.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:56 am |
    • Mary Magdalene

      Jesus wasn't huge, take my word for it.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:57 am |
    • truthprevails1

      So does that mean christians are not required to follow them?

      January 8, 2014 at 4:13 am |
  3. Kimmy

    No worry it will not last more than an hour anyway

    January 8, 2014 at 12:46 am |
    • Sure

      Will you be burning a cross as you do it?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:49 am |
  4. Chuck

    THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it ought not

    January 8, 2014 at 12:44 am |
    • Yep

      Yeah, those commandment monuments are an abomination. Graven image and all that.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      Aren't you being a little hard on yourself, Chuck?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:48 am |
    • Satan

      It's okay. I'm sitting, not standing.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:50 am |
      • Chuck

        Derf

        January 8, 2014 at 12:58 am |
  5. I hope it gets vandálized lol

    Oklahoma has been turned into former Soviet Union and Oklahoma

    January 8, 2014 at 12:37 am |
    • Chuck

      I blame it on the major Migration from NO after Katrina

      January 8, 2014 at 12:44 am |
  6. Ban atheists

    Mao, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Kim Yong Un, Stalin all atheists. North Korea is ruled under state atheism

    January 8, 2014 at 12:35 am |
    • Observer

      Just like God, they kill people opposed to them.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:40 am |
    • tallulah13

      You must really hate the United States, since you obviously have no respect for our Constitution and our guaranteed right to worship or not worship as we choose. You should probably move to a place where religion is the law - like Iraq or Saudi Arabia. I'm sure you'll be more happy there, among people who hate freedom as much as you do.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:43 am |
    • And the Christians just keep on lying

      Hmmmm, funny how well over 99% of their atrocities had nothing to do with atheism or religion. Unlike the Inquisitions, the Taiping Rebellion, the religious wars of Europe, and the vicious enslavement of Latin America, which were for explicitly Christian reasons.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:45 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Where should Atheists go? Without Atheist's the country would be empty...
      Steven H Roberts : I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

      January 8, 2014 at 4:12 am |
    • sam stone

      they were totalitarians who were hostile to anything that threatened their power. just like the christian god

      January 8, 2014 at 4:57 am |
    • bcs2006

      All those dudes

      Want to be the ONLY seat of power to their people. Their atheism is not rooting in theological or spiritual philosophy, but in politics and nothing more. All true totalitarian regimes do this. It is the same reason the Pharoahs and Emperors of Rome just started calling themselves gods after a while.

      January 8, 2014 at 8:19 am |
  7. Allahu Akbar

    I hope it gets van.dal.ized

    January 8, 2014 at 12:33 am |
    • truthprevails1

      How very christian of you! You best pray for forgiveness now!

      January 8, 2014 at 3:20 am |
  8. !!

    I hope it gets vandalized....

    January 8, 2014 at 12:32 am |
  9. Satan

    Oh for crying out loud! Did they have to use that one?!?! I was having a bad hair day!

    January 8, 2014 at 12:27 am |
    • Visuals

      Awe but you look so cute here, it's nice to finally see you smile.

      January 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
  10. l33ter

    Why a lap to sit in? Why not like a BBQ grill where the lap is?

    January 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
    • YouBetcha

      Now, you've hurt my feelings. I shall be ever-so God-like and I shall construct a fire-pit to toss you into.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:11 am |
  11. chris

    These "satanists" don't believe in any Satan, they're atheists with a political agenda. They just want to cause trouble.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
    • Observer

      chris,

      They are actually trying to get believers to THINK. Obviously, it hasn't worked for everyone.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
      • Harry

        Getting believers to think is about as possible as getting fish to juggle.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:05 am |
  12. Reality # 2

    Satan the demon of myth. His believers? Demented !!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
    • Bee Lade

      Satan the angel of god, god himself force him to betray him, then cast him out after making him think he could win?

      How evil is god doing that, Lucifer loved him and had no free will of his own.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
      • God is evil; good thing he doesn't exist

        Satan is nothing but a patsy, someone for God to blame the evil in his own plan on.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • YouBetcha

          And believers want to spend eternity with that evil "God" character? Can you imagine what other nasty tricks he'd come up with in all of that time?

          January 8, 2014 at 12:16 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

        January 8, 2014 at 8:04 am |
  13. Now that's just stupid...

    or dumb. How about an atheist stone with nothing written on it. That would be contrast.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • G to the T

      Or how about all the evidence we have for the christian god? Oh wait, that'd be the same thing wouldn't it?

      January 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
  14. John

    I can't wait to see what kind of damage vandals do to this thing - I'll bet it gets hilarious! 🙂

    January 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
    • Larry

      Christians are vandals, no doubt about that.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
      • John

        It won't be Christians vandalizing this st*pid thing.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • Larry

          They always have. Did you not see the earlier comments by Christians threatening to do exactly that? No one else would care enough to bother.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • John

          Believe it or not, Satanists will vandalize this statue. I've actually seen it happen
          before. I remember thinking it was kind of funny they got hit by their own people.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • John

          Well, they probably figure this is supposed to be a Christian country, which it is supposed to be (according to it's founders, although many of them seem to have been Freemasons), and this statue doesn't belong. I'd have to agree, this is either a Christian country or a Freemason country, but certainly not a Satanist country.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • Observer

          John,

          Nope. It's supposed to be a nation of FREEDOM of religion with NONE favored.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • Larry

          If he had actually read what the Founding Fathers said, he wouldn't make claims of "a Christian country."

          January 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
  15. Chuck

    Thats a very good likeness of OBAMA

    January 7, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tim

      Fatal obsession.......

      January 8, 2014 at 12:17 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, using this to take a political swipe. How hip and edgy

      January 8, 2014 at 5:00 am |
  16. Peter

    ......I understand in N. Korea there is like satanist govern but in Oklahoma ? i can't believe shoot them all of them....

    January 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • Bill Z

      How very Christian of you!

      January 8, 2014 at 12:14 am |
  17. sara

    Nothing new under the sun!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
  18. Colin

    In fairness, if you do the math, according to the Bible, God slaughters about 2.5 million innocent people, whereas Satan kills about 10 (and all on a bet with God). Comparing God to Satan is like comparing Hitler to a irritable middle school teacher. God is simply that bloodthirsty.

    January 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • Ward, I'm worried about my beaver

      And it isn't Satan who is going to torture everyone for the rest of eternity for not being toadies!

      January 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • John

        Wow, a couple of geniuses.

        January 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • Femaelstrom

          Yes, the fools don't believe in Magic Super Invisobuddy Jesus like you do. Idiots.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • John

          Wow, another genius – CNN is full of geniuses.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • Larry

          Ad hominem is the great insta-fail fallacy of people who don't have anything worth saying.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
    • Maelstrom

      You are mistaken. God kills everyone. Even you. The system, which includes Death, is set in place to that effect. Your actual complaint is that He took them before their time or murdered them, only problem is that He has already dictated the time for all, including the ones you perceive as premature. The devil didn't kill anyone in the Bible. He doesn't have that authority. Without death there is no transcendence of the physical form. If your biggest complaint is death, then you're complaining against your own evolution as a spiritual being.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
      • Femaelstrom

        Just aren't catching a clue, are you?

        January 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
        • Maelstrom

          Caught it, ran with it, and am having a party at your expense with it.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
        • Maelstrom

          I shall call you Fe-Fe.. for you are not worthy of my moniker.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • Femaelstrom

          You speak and think like a third grader, complete with absurd positions and puerile retorts. Impressive.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • Maelstrom

          I learned from your example my friend.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
        • Femaelstrom

          Another third grade retort. At least you are consistent.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
        • Maelstrom

          Grow up child. I'm on to more entertaining things than you now.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • Femaelstrom

          And again. Perfectly consistent.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:11 am |
    • Brandon

      Actually Satan has killed countless Billions of people by introducing sin and death into the human race (Romans 5:12)

      January 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
      • YouBetcha

        I know! You should hear about how those old dinosaurs sinned! And the dodo birds - shameful! They were wiped off the face of the Earth for it!

        January 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
      • Observer

        Brandon,

        Are you talking about the BILLIONS of people that God SENT to Hell for the SIN of NEVER hearing of him?

        January 8, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • bgbgbg

          You don't go to Hell if you never heard of God. You only go if you reject God. You can't reject him if you never heard of him.

          January 8, 2014 at 7:53 am |
        • G to the T

          THEN STOP PREACHING... your inability to provide a clear message is surely sending more people to hell than those that have never heard of the bible and just trying to live their lives.

          You do realize this goes directly against what most people consider to be "christian" right?

          January 8, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • Bill Z

        Right, it was the boogie man who did it - not the fact that people do very bad things for reasons we can explain without having to resort to evil spirits and ghost stories.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:21 am |
  19. Colin

    "They believe Satan is a "literary construct," the spokesman said, not an actual being with horns and hooves."

    In this respect, they are much, much more rational than Christians, who honestly believe that their sky-fairy and his miracle performing zombie virgin-child are real animate creatures.

    It must be tough as a Christian, knowing that a bunch of roving satanist are more up to date and rational than you.

    January 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
    • Maelstrom

      Keep believing in the limitations you believe to be part of your reality and you will never be any greater than you are.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
    • lifeissoapbubbles

      Actually Hindus, Muslims, and every other deistic religion believe in a "sky-fairy"

      January 8, 2014 at 12:03 am |
  20. Freedomfighter

    Wow, Atheist churches, Satanic Staute, that's just perfect. I am quite confused, is this America anymore?

    January 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
    • Ward, I'm worried about my beaver

      Not like the good ole days of the Klan, eh?

      January 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
    • Observer

      Freedomfighter,

      Yes, this is the America of TRUE freedom of religion for all who do or do not believe.

      It's the America where "all men are created equal".

      January 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You call yourself "freedomfighter" yet you apparently have no idea about the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. One of those freedoms is the right to worship or not worship as you choose.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:39 am |
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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.