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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. Roger Tharpe

    Light and Dark will continue to war until such time God deems necessary to end it. People are homeless. People need jobs. People need proper medical care. Pure religion and undefiled before God is to visit the fatherless, protect the widow and keep oneself unspotted from the world.

    February 24, 2014 at 2:02 am |
    • ogamidiagoro

      Care to say something that makes sense?

      February 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
  2. kebabs666

    this is a step backwards. We don't want a "Doll War" where Satanists & Christians clog State Monuments w/images of their Dolls….why not just remove religious Dolls from the public & regulate exposing children to religion until the age of 16 (similar to nudity, which is just as inappropriate to expose to children as nudity)

    February 23, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • stymie1

      Yep. I think keeping the religious monuments off of public land is the best and easiest solution to the whole problem. It’s easy for people to overlook the problem when they live in a part of the world where the majority of citizens hold the same religious beliefs, the problem becomes very apparent when another world view shows up. It doesn’t really matter, Satanist, Hindu, Muslim, Free Thinking Atheist, take your pick.

      February 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • Aquarian Treasures

      Just tear down or move the 10 commandments off public property.

      March 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  3. theghostofjimjones

    That thing looks VERY cool. I hope these end up in all the court houses.

    February 18, 2014 at 3:18 am |
  4. misslaralar

    To me this is sickening. Satanists have done nothing good for this country. Why has the world become so corrupted? Why is everyone against God?! I guess it is human nature for people to not want to conform but does it have to be against God? Is there seriously nothing better in this crazy freaking world for you guys to go up against!! Do you guys watch the news? Do you see the world are children are growing up in. Do you really want your children to think it is okay to sin without ad least feeling bad/remorseful about it! No wonder everyone hates each other nowadays. I do not agree with the hypocrisy of some Christians (and todays extremely corrupted churches) but i do agree with God and everything he ultimately stands for. The fear of God is the only thing keeping this world from further chaos and destruction. Seriously guys is going against the majority really worth the consequences. Cant you see already what a godless world will be like ...

    February 17, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • meatheist

      Seriously, you are telling us that the fear of god is the only thing preventing you from being a lying, thieving, murderous child molester. You really must be sick, sick, sick. I hope you are writing this from some sort of confinement. The world is not safe with people like yourself roaming the streets.

      February 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
      • bigsammyboy

        A bit too far there. Write with words that mean something...

        February 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • logicalbeliever

      I couldn't agree more. I am a scientist, engineer, and former skeptic, recently turned faithful follower of Christ. I chalk it up to pure laziness. Many unbelievers are either inept of free thinking, or simply afraid to sacrifice their comfortable status quo because they aren't guaranteed instant gratification. Having come from that train of though myself (guilty of my own statement), I am very thankful that I opened my heart and received Jesus. The gift is free. It took NOTHING but faith, and the transformation in my life has been incredible. I feel more fulfilled and see things more clearly than ever in my life. And guess what *GASP* I am still a scientist and engineer, and very effective at it. I revel in God's glory and love using science to understand HIS creation. God bless all and I pray for you to open your hearts and minds to the free gift of salvation. PEACE.

      April 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
  5. stymie1

    This sounds more like a tongue in cheek statement for separation of church and state than any serious proposal. I think they Just want to get the religious icons off the public grounds.

    February 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Won

    Just like the days where people serve their God Baal. God got mad and completely destroyed them. It's gonna happen again, you just don't see it.

    February 9, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      i'm actually planing a baal festival want to come?

      February 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        oh and good for you praising genocide and religious intolerance. your god is by far more evil then his servant Mastema.

        February 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
  7. A song I wrote

    Oh Satan
    One day when I got a little messed up in the head
    I thought you were coming out of the computer to get me
    But then I started to feel better again
    yes I did
    And the poster on the wall looked a little bit less like you

    Oh Satan

    February 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
  8. world cup 2014 scores

    Howdy – I been browsing your website once in a while & was just asking myself if it's possible to subscribe to your posts other than via a RSS feed. I have seen that a couple of weblogs have Email subscriptions to the latest articles. Are you offering that also? Thanks for any feedback! Joye Erickson from Antananarivo

    http://www.opengovpartnership.org/users/world-cup

    February 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  9. 7

    Hello folks.

    Everyone is welcome to visit,

    http://thetreasureofzion.com/

    February 7, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
    • Observer

      7,

      These blogs are not set up to be FREE advertising for other sites for or against religion.

      Have some consideration for other people.

      February 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
  10. Justyn M.

    There is no neutral view. Once people remove Christianity in the government then the absence of it would lean towards a worldview called atheism and humanism.

    February 7, 2014 at 10:15 am |
    • FSMpriestess

      We can only hope!

      February 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • DRJJ

      Well said! George Washington said it is impossible to govern without the Bible!

      February 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
      • Aluminum Mike

        The bible and religion are great tools for keeping stupid sheeple in line and scared. Just ask the Vatican.

        It's really great to see America on a large scale starting to question religion more intensely and to throw off the awful yolk of Christianity. Great stuff.

        Christians, evidence please, or SHUSH! Enough of your delusion already! Your time has passed.

        February 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
      • somethingstellar

        Plenty of countries govern just fine without the bible. And considering Washington was a Freemason I doubt he's the first person Christian's ought to refer to for their ideals lol.

        February 12, 2014 at 2:08 am |
      • djangoboy

        No, actually this is misattributed to Washington. There's no evidence he ever said that. See mountvernon.org web site.

        March 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
  11. m.s.mohamed ansari

    HISTORY + 114 . MDCCLXXVI +114.UNITEDKING+114
    Please bring original HISTORY .Six thousand journalist are suppressing the truth of history but in one day it will come out
    Now we are in 21st century there were times former journalist exposed truth and sacrificed their precious life for the sake of truth, they unveiled the real history. Perhaps contradicting to their present power and money clouded their mind and our upcoming generation becomes a victim.
    We do not believe politicians as we used to, we do not believe the media, and whereas we believe each other”
    Thanking you
    Your’s sincerely
    M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI
    Pragmatism has now fallen foul of the continuing power of the press.

    February 7, 2014 at 7:52 am |
  12. niknak

    I want a smaller version for my backyard!
    Where can I get one?

    February 7, 2014 at 6:46 am |
    • John Graham

      Me too!

      February 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • ory

      I want one for my FRONT yard.

      February 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
  13. tensai13

    This is wonderful news! Will there also be a statue of the pedophile Mohammed? What's that you Christians are whining about now? Oh you want separation of Church and State to be enforced? Well why didn't you say so in the first place?

    February 7, 2014 at 3:15 am |
    • DRJJ

      Our kids are being taught in schools they're all just animals with no hope (macro evolution, a religion) Turn on the news for the results!

      February 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
      • ory

        "Turn on the news for the results!"

        Violent crime is DOWN 50% in the last twenty years, according to U.S. federal crime statistics.
        24 hour news coverage of particular cases of violence is up 1,200%, according to statistics I pulled out of my ass.

        "evolution, a religion"

        If you think chemistry, physics, or biology are "religion" then your science teacher was an ignorant nitwit.
        And if you were homeschooled.... yeah.... your science teacher was an ignorant nitwit.

        February 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  14. Casey

    Makes me sick

    February 6, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
  15. Mark

    Awesome. My estimation of Satanists just went up by orders of magnitude.

    February 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
  16. Eraser head

    In heaven everything is fine.

    February 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  17. I am right!

    They should arrest all those people! What blasphemy against God. No wonder people cry about the end times. America should become more communist in my perspective to change that horrific "thing". It should have never appeared! Satanic religions should be banned by state.

    February 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • somethingstellar

      All religions should be banned by the state. Teaching those lies to children should be a form of child abuse.

      February 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
      • logicandreason101

        Seriously? You don't like someone's viewpoint, so the solution is to outlaw it?

        Whatever, Stalin.

        February 17, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • austin garner

      why?

      February 10, 2014 at 9:13 am |
  18. Jethro

    Sometimes it seems like this country is set up to be its own worst enemy. There can't be any national religion, yet people dispute over religions all the time! There is only freedom in this country when it's written on paper. When brought into the real world, all these freedoms somehow fade away into a cloud of dust.

    February 6, 2014 at 2:55 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.