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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. tripper77

    Go ahead a put it up and waste the money cause this THING will come down in peaces as fast as its being put up. When the folks that love this are burning in the lake of fire for all time they will cry out but nobody will hear then.... FOREVER!!!!!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • Observer

      tripper77,

      The folks that are burning in the lake hopefully know how to spell "PIECES".

      January 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
    • Econ301

      Tripper77 Won't that make your peaceful religion appear intolerant and less then peaceful?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Jake

      What a horrible, gullible person you must be to say something like that.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • Neo Atheist

      If they put up that monument and someone takes it down in pieces, I will be the first with a sledgehammer to take down the ten commandments of slavery.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Shawn Bartlett

      You represent a very vile, violent, and hateful religion, as evidenced by your vitriol comment.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Boredwiththis

        ^Lol.

        January 8, 2014 at 7:16 am |
  2. POD

    It's a cold dark chaotic universe......and we are all flying around on a single rock among billions of other rocks.....AND There IS no one above or BELOW running this show.....so just "man up" and deal with it!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Honey Badger Don't Care

    That is AWESOME!! I cant wait till it goes up. They need a good FSM statue too.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  4. Brigget

    Praying my Lord stops that abomination from being erected. If not I will never go into Oklahoma or support it in any way. My money will go anywhere else besides there.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • Live4Him

      The statue is being erected by private funds.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      If this doesn't get erected then the 10 commnadments needs to be taken down.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • Neo Atheist

      Your religion isnt the only religion. You can't have it be just your religious beliefs and monuments and deny others. This nation isn't a nation just for christians. It is a nation for all kinds of people. If you want prayer in school, then you have to allow muslim prayers, jewish prayers, satanic prayers, cthulhu prayers. Be careful for what you wish for because you will be opening a door for others to express their beliefs in public as much as yours.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Reason number 46,338 why there should be a complete separation of churches and states.

    Now do you Christians get it?

    January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  6. Barry G

    We konw what Satanists would install and have us do. They would install and have us do the very opposite of all that is good and decent.

    Jesus taught us to love one another; they would do the opposite.
    Jesus taught us to serve and take care of others, they would do the opposite.
    Jesus taught us to do to others as we would have others do to us; they would do the opposite.
    Jesus taught us to be humble, kind, and compassionate; they would have us do the opposite.

    That's why I follow Jesus.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • Madtown

      They'd probably also make you listen to Pantera.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • Brian

      I disagree. You follow Jesus because you were brain-washed to do so and cannot think for yourself.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • nhguy

      now you know how atheists feel having your religion shoved down our throats. barry g – you need to lay off the kool aid YOU had forced on you at an early age well before you could form your own opinion.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • doobzz

      Is the only thing that makes you act that way the fear of punishment?

      Treating people the way you want to be treated doesn't require belief in your human sacrifice zombie.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  7. mike

    LOL. That is all...

    January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  8. magicpanties

    I love this.
    The best way to fight religious insanity is through humor.
    Kudos!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  9. NorCalMojo

    If there are any satanists in Oklahoma, I bet they're keeping a pretty low profile.

    They should keep their drama local and try to put it up in New York.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
  10. DavidLevinsn

    I think that Oklahoma lawmakers are learning that in our country, if you open the public grounds to one religion, you must open them to all. This is why, even if you are religous, there is value in the separation of Church and State.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
  11. Amy

    Fair is fair. I will be watching to see how this progresses.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  12. Oregon

    Satan is God's satan.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • igaftr

      and god and satan are both constructs of men.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • Oregon

        Or not.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • fidel

          yes, so lets murder, pillage, torture , indoctrinate humans based on, " OR NOT ". genius

          January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • Oregon

          I've never done any of those things.

          January 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • fidel

        correct. there is no god or gods, only the human mind

        January 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  13. fidel

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

    January 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Troll

      January 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • fidel

        mor0n

        January 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Alias

        @live4him
        the truth can hurt.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
    • Brian

      Ooooh where is a LOVE button when you need it???

      January 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
    • Neo Atheist

      Love it! Sharing elsewheres!

      January 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • jeff flottman

      I'm a long-time Christian and this post made me smile. The hate and anger that many Christians espouse is shocking to me. We must be reading different Bibles and walking with a different Jesus. Thanks @fidel for a nice reminder of our imperfections. Maybe some who read this will reconsider their words and deeds.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Elephantix

    What do Satanists believe in? Or are they just choosing something opposite of God? I don't think I can identify what people would see in Satan as a role model, let alone a deity to worship. "I love him because he's the father of lies." Perfect, that's who we want running around our country. That's what we want to celebrate.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      If you bothered to actually find out anything about them before you jumped to your conclusions, you would find out that your post is gibberish.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • Elephantix

        @Fred Thanks, I just thought I would go straight to knowledgeable people and do my research that way. And I figured that the most knowledgeable AND helpful people would be in the comment section of this article. And then you answered and I realized I had made a huge mistake.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • bob

      Satan is the Father of lies, therefore every politician prays to him daily for guidance.

      In general though Satanists are organized chaos lovers. which really defeats the point of chaos. then again it isn't like christian don't hold hypocritical beliefs. Though shall not kill(or Murder depending on translation) then christians murder in the name of GOD.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • James Dorr

      But that's the beauty of religion and freedom. It's not your problem because someone else feels they want to worship someone different than your god.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
      • Elephantix

        @James You are right. Everyone can believe what they want. I'm just surprised anyone chooses to believe that. Shocking, really, that sitting on the lap of a Satan statue would be anyone's idea of useful activity.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  15. pat

    “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,” Wesselhoft said. - But the majority religion qualifies because it has been established there already? How is that not exactly what the first amendment forbids?

    January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • igaftr

      To most Christians, Christianity is the exception to the first amendment, which is why they passed MANY laws that place their religion above all others. Now they complain that we are "removing god from everywhere" when we are just trying to set things BACK to the way it was BEFORE the christians violated the const!tution so many times.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  16. Salvation6281

    Text book example of "dont start none, wont be none" Good for you Satanists I dont agree with your religion but whats fair is fair.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  17. Will I be able to see the statues as I fly over that flyover state?

    I see the Tea-FOX "War On Everybody Else" is about to lose another battle.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  18. Maleficent

    Can we all just grow up already? Is that too much to ask of the human race?

    January 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Check the post immediately above yours. ^^^^

      January 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • Josh

        I hear two wrongs make a right...

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

          No, they don't. But 3 lefts do.

          January 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • mainepotter

      Never read comment boards unless you are a pessimist. Then occasionally you maybe pleasantly surprised. Rarely, though.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
  19. Darwin

    Obviously we need a CHRISTIAN AYATOLLAH who has the power to issue a 'death fatwa' against these blasphemers. They sure would know how to handle THIS in Iran.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • MoveForward

      Yes, a great example of what NOT to do.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • ben

      If you are such a fan of fundamentalist theocracies than move to Iran or Saudi Arabia, you'll fit right in. This is a free country, and you're belief in a god is equally valid as my lack of one; don't try to cram religion down anyone's throat, this is America.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  20. haddock

    This is hilarious. But they make a valid point. If you open the door to government monumnents t one religion, you better be prepared to allow monuments to any religion. Don't want this statue in your courthouse? Ok. But you better get rid of the 10 commandments.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • John@

      The courts are pretty wicked and are set up to rip off people. A Satanic statue makes sense.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:01 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.