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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. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Anyone see Stephen Colbert interview Mr. Satan over this statue on Tuesday night.

    Mr. Satan was very upset with being depicted as Baphomet.

    May 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
  2. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Anyone see Steven Cobert interview Mr. Satan over this statue?

    http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/zekn1k/satanic-monument-for-the-oklahoma-state-house

    Mr. Satan was very upset with being depicted as Baphomet.

    May 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  3. David

    http://afa.net/Blogs/BlogPost.aspx?id=2147545505

    May 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
  4. ldadvocatus

    May as well extend the statanist philosophy to a political platform and move it all the way from Oklahoma to the White House. Why limit the thinking to a statue....really commit to the idea. Fits right in with what's going on now with all the lies, deception, corruption and scandals. Don't be selfish....ride that pony all the way to destruction for all of us.

    May 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
    • evolveddna

      Satan no more exists than Jesus or any of the gods you have to believe in. I would say spend your time thinking in a more positive mode about the real human beings that inhabit this planet, and you will be a happier, more balanced person.

      May 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
      • ldadvocatus

        So... they don't teach sarcasm in your Godless delusion of utopian bliss? Please share the sound of one hand clapping.

        May 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
      • logicalbeliever

        Based upon your moniker, I suppose you believe in evolution as opposed to creationism. Contrary to what many people now believe, evolution is a religion just like any other. It is a theory with incomplete evidence and, of course, posed as fact by the scientists that created the theory (and readily accepted by the masses who do not question it). Unfortunately, you don't even seem to understand the religion that you so fervently adhere to. DNA does not evolve – the organism does (or so the theory says). I posit that there are serious omissions in the theory that the entire universe was created from a single point without a driving force (i.e. God), and that people were created by accident from boiling soup. There is evidence all around that God does exist. Have faith and call His name and He will change your heart. I am a scientist, researcher, and engineer, and very recently a Christian believer. It takes true mental capacity to understand that there is much more going on around us that what we can see and touch.

        May 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • ldadvocatus

          With much respect for science, it merely attempts to explain that which is already created....being, existing. And, the more they learn the more they realize they don't have a clue about creation. The sub-atomic space is ever elusive and no dispute that the universe is expanding...always beyond human comprehension. As smart as humanity thinks it is ..it could not put a man on the moon before the 1960s, it could not connect the planet before the 1980s, could not have produced functional electric cars before 2005 or whatever year it was. And, humanity and it's scientists cannot accelerate the rate of change even if it were predictable because humans can't grasp the understanding and apply it to build a future before it's time.

          Anyway, the point is this...knowledge is revealed to humanity based on its capacity to grasp its understanding and apply it...much like education unfolding year over year. We knew high school was in front of us, but powerless (for most of. Us anyway) to transcend time and space to get there before we were ready to grasp the understanding...same for college....same for life.

          Simple cause and effect argument, which requires a first cause. Evolution lies within the context of creation

          May 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
  5. lottierickssamantha87

    Followers of the temple of Satan are not Satanists. They are Atheists, much like the LaVeyan viewpoint, using the term Satanism in order to provoke a reaction, which in my opinion is why they're planning to put this statue up – to provoke a reaction. It's groups like these who give the real Satanists a bad image. Personally I don't think this statue should be put up, as it's being put up for the wrong reasons and creating even more of a misrepresentation of Satanism than there already is.

    May 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • evolveddna

      Satan only exists in your mind,.as does god and all the other deities you have been told to believe in. I find the image of a dying guy on a stick repulsive yet its found every where.

      May 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
      • ldadvocatus

        Renee DeCartes contributed much to humanity as a philosopher and mathematician. He gave us the Cartesian coordinate system that allows Google, Bing and Apple to make great maps. He is also famous for his philosophical view "I think, therefore I am."

        But, Renee's statement is incorrect. Instead, it is I am, therefore I think. You are not your mind. Humans are so blinded by the limitations of their own senses they never see that they exist beyond the limitations of human form . If they can't see it, touch it, smell it, hear it, taste it feel it, it must not exist.

        "Gates of hell are locked from within"

        May 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
  6. blakenaustin

    Any government that sanctions worship of evil and the devil has clearly lost its footings. Very sad!

    April 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • igaftr

      As well as any government that sanctions belief in gods. Governemnt does not belong in the belief business.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  7. sayjoismme

    Doesn't bother me in the least, let Satanists put a statue up,just like all the other beliefs can. Pretty sure the point is to expose the hypocrisy of the law makers. Looking around this country you'd think Christianity is the state religion with all the Christian based monuments on Federal land. The 1st amendment says Congress shall make no laws expressing the establishment of religion or the expression thereof. That means the government can't legally stop them on the basis of their religion, unless they take down the 10 commandment monument.

    April 18, 2014 at 9:16 am |
  8. stevem2424

    this make me sick to my stomach what if i put a statue of guy lover dying from aids on the statehouse it a free country ...this should lots of hits and i dont care

    April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • Alias

      You're gay and dying from aids??
      So sorry for your misfortune.
      I'm sure we will all pray for you.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • onebadmamajama

      We should DO that! Great idea. It would show compassion for a "human being" who is dying of an illness just like any other.

      April 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  9. iamyourgod2014

    Hey guys its god again. just reading all your comments ( i actually knew what you would be typing before you typed it...i know...show off) anyway... you know i went down to talk to lucifer this morning after reading the news about the statue, and i saw a lot...i mean A LOT of cool people in hell. they were drinking with lucifer and throwing all night parties. anyway i have to get back to heaven, its time for bible camp!!! woot woot

    April 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • stevem2424

      I talk to my gay lover o wait he dead from aids to bad to bad !! get a life

      April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • iowasundevil

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the 1 true Gawd. You are an anti pasta heathen!

      April 18, 2014 at 2:03 am |
      • matthewmonroe

        all hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

        April 18, 2014 at 2:06 am |
  10. blessed137

    Biblical history has shown what has become of the wicked and their traditions. This statue will fade away with the world and its desires. But the ones who do the will of God will live forever.

    April 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • iamyourgod2014

      Hi blessed137, it's god....(i know, i'll wait for you to gasp, and then recover) anyway....mmm (tapping my chin....uh well i dont have a chin, but tapping the spot where a chin might be) umm I dont really mind if the non-believers put this statue there....actually it almost looks like lucifer. i have to take a look again thru his old pics...wow last time i saw lucifer was ages, he's in the pits you know..hahahha. anyway keep up the good work. ttyl love god

      April 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • logicalbeliever

        Since you seem so insistent on mocking your God, what do you believe in? The big bang theory and evolution? Or have you not really given thought to this?

        April 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
  11. samsjmail

    I'm very encouraged by this. I hope to be next with a life size replica of my Totem Pole. My Totem Pole is even more excited than me. He started bleeding this morning!

    April 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  12. psychicstalker

    Sit on Satan's lap? Wonder if they would charge for that, like a mechanical horse ride. Who really wants to sit in Satan's lap? LOL

    April 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
    • matthewmonroe

      Looks like he's either telling a story or the kids are asking for directions, maybe to some sort of religious or school celebration. He could also be giving financial advice; Satan actually has some good financial advice, maybe telling them to get a paper route and invest in some really good money market funds.
      The kids could also just be staring at him, you know he's like one of the guards at Buckingham palace; the kids are like hey Satan I am going to fart in your face, but you know he can't do anything but sit there and stare forward because you know he's Satan and he can't react or he'll get his pay dinged you know.

      April 18, 2014 at 2:15 am |
  13. timelord7202

    No thanks. Separation of church and state should allow no exceptions.

    It's also interesting how the representation of the "horned god" of paganism was twisted and turned into something evil, with the star pentacle figure also altered (turned upside down) and given a description of evil - paganism existed long before Christianity, and Satan is a Christian construct... what better way to take a conquered idol and give it the opposite meanings... makes me wonder about what Christian Cortes did with the Aztec gods after he conquered Mexico, with today's Latinos probably unaware of their own history when they call their children "Jesus" and wear crosses... they're the sons of the conquered, the sons of slaves.

    April 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  14. timelord7202

    No thanks. Separation of church and state should allow no exceptions.

    It's also interesting how the representation of the "horned god" of paganism was twisted and turned into something evil, with the star pentacle figure also altered (turned upside down) and given a description of evil - paganism existed long before Christianity, and Satan is a Christian construct... what better way to take a conquered idol and give it the opposite meanings... makes me wonder about what Christian Cortes did with the Aztec gods after he conquered Mexico, with today's Latinos probably unaware of their own history when they call their children "Jesus" and wear crosses... they're the sons of the conqured, the sons of slaves.

    April 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    poor god ... he just seems powerless to stop this statue ...

    April 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  16. jhkim6567

    Christians should stop complaining. So what if the Satanists gain power and rule with iron fists over your adorable children. History has shown that you guys do better when persecuted.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • logicalbeliever

      God treasures believers who die in Him and in faith. If you continue to mock God and his followers, History will erase you completely. I pray that you will open your heart and accept the free gift of salvation. What do you have to lose?

      April 29, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
      • observer

        logicalbeliever

        "What do you have to lose?"

        Believers sometimes cause a lot of damage to people by denying them equal rights or calling them murderers.

        April 29, 2014 at 7:55 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.