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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. The Pres

    Being a Satanist is as foolish as being a christian, jew or muslim.
    2014 and people still won't let go of things they were brainwashed into believe since birth.
    No wonder many people see no hope for a future that still has religions.
    Anyway...
    BOW!!!!
    YIELD!!!!!
    KNEEL!!!!!
    AND GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, ERRR UMMM, I MEAN DONATIONS!!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
  2. snowboarder

    as an atheist, i no more believe in satan than any other of the myriad gods invented by men.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  3. Tyler

    I'm not supporting Satanists, but I think it is important to understand something if you're going to criticize it. The majority of Satanists do not directly worship an actual "Satan", and it is more of a philosophy than a religion. This is an age old stereotype that Hollywood and a general lack of knowledge has made people believe.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Followers of LaVey's Satanic Church don't worship a horned beast; they generally think that's as ridiculous as some omnisicent boogeyman in the sky.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
  4. Happy Atheist

    This is akin to erecting a Shrek statue in front of the courthouse to make a point about separation of Church & State. If a bunch of Batman fans had put up a statue of Batman some group would want to erect a Joker statue to make a point.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Mopery

      As a Fictionologist who has chosen Batman as my personal Lord and Savior, your comment is highly offensive.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Jesse Pinkman

    This is awesome! I hope they get it actually made and we can visit it!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  6. Grumpster

    What would an ATHEIST put in the statehouse? A politician that actually did some work.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Zeus

      yes. That is correct.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Gatorfan

      Ha, I'd more likely believe god exists than a useful politician.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • snowboarder

        you might have a point.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      They need to stop worrying so much about what some invisible man in the sky thinks and worry about what their voters think. It's just a crying shame that few do... too few politicians have to worry because too few of their voters can think...

      January 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Alias

    I wonder if I could request that a place place be left empty to show my beliefs in god.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Econ301

      I would love to see the design of an Atheist Statue. 😄

      January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • SB

        The Humanist symbol would do nicely.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Ophelia Austen

        They have one in Starke, Florida. It has quotes on it from great people like Issac Newton...

        January 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
  8. Luciafurr

    Ezekiel 23:20: "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses."

    January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Zeus

      oh yeah!!!

      Virgin birth my donkey @ss! They loved the donkey sized stuff.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mopery

      I didn't know that the book of Ezekiel took place in Tijuana...

      January 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Sounds like she enjoys donkey d*ck

      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  9. Live4Him

    Matthew 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

    January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Billy

      Of course no one even knows who authored Matthew....

      January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Lucifer

      I am the one and only. Matthew was crack addict don't listen to his gibberish

      January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • truth exists because we face it

        mathew was a fictional writer for terrorists

        January 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Brainwashed Christians

        The guy on Gunsmoke.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      L4H
      Another original thought from our stupidest religious troll without your bible you are mute.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • Zeus

      L$H,

      I want you to have an original thought today. Pretend for a minute or so that you are not religious. Pretend you are an alien visiting earth and meet some very religious people. They tell you that all was created by a god. what do you say to them?

      January 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
      • Live4Him

        What's the evidence for and against?

        January 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Johnny

          A 2000 year old book with talking snakes and donkeys is the evidence for, and everything else in the universe is evidence against.

          January 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  10. truth exists because we face it

    May I also quote?

    "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king's horses and all the king's men
    Couldn't put Humpty together again."

    January 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • truth exists because we face it

      I forgot the prophet who said it..

      January 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Lucifer

        Not Mother Teresa but the it was the infamous Mother Goose!

        January 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • truth exists because we face it

          ah.. mother theresa only feed you if you converted to catholic. She collected lots of awards too. So humble as she kept people in poverty

          January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • TYRANNASAUR

        The truth be told Mother Teresa wasn't even qualified for a job plucking chicken feathers on a chicken farm.....she's not the saint people like to make her out to be.....watching children being born in dirt poverty India so they could starve to death.

        January 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Mopery

          She enjoyed watching people suffer, as she felt that observing their suffering would bring her closer to god. She was one sick c u n t.

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

    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."....

    Sounds fine to me....I think for every god/holy statue anywhere there should be one of the Devil....It's called EQUALITY.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  12. Cecily

    That is adorable! I want one on my keychain.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  13. IdahoRaised

    This is awesome. Read the previous article while back and makes perfect sense. If christians want a statue, then anyone is entiltled to their own. Not everyone is Christian .. or believes in fairy tales as adults. Separation of Church and State should be a VERY CLEAR LINE and religion has no place in politics or government. Because of religion we have a bunch of fairy tale believing nut jobs running his country!!! I vote to burn down all churches until they start paying taxes. Use that land for something productive .. not counter productive archaic thinking!

    January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • JXC

      So go ahead and start burning them down...there's nothing stopping you

      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • Justin

      And yet, "In God we Trust" is printed on all of our money. Guess who prints money? The Government yes. So while you are cryin over oklahoma embracing the 10 commandments, you outta look at our Federal Government as a whole if you really want to point out hyppocricy.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • John

      What symbolism could better express that government is God than having government building symbolically cradling the Ten Commandments.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  14. Gatorfan

    If you have never read The Satanic Bible by founder Anton LaVey, I suggest you do so before making knee-jerk assumptions. Satanism is decidely NOT about worshipping some imaginary horned beast. It's simply a rejection of the tenets of Christianity and all the atrocities committed under the banner of religion over the past 2000 years ago. Satanism is really a live and let live belief system.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • Live4Him

      then why the statue?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Econ301

        Because apparently building statues of religious icons on government lands is all the rage now.

        Also why do you assume the 10 commandments were shaped as shown in the Movie Moses? Is the Bible clear on the shape and cut of the Stone?

        January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Econ301 : Because apparently building statues of religious icons on government lands is all the rage now.

          Gatorfan argued that 'Satanism is really a live and let live belief system', so it appears that this was NOT done by satanists.

          @Econ301 : Also why do you assume the 10 commandments were shaped as shown in the Movie Moses? Is the Bible clear on the shape and cut of the Stone?

          Who said I do? I've never watched the movie.

          <><

          January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • TYRANNASAUR

          Actually the ten commandments has nothing to do with the bible except for the fact they were lifted from prehistory....If one looks closely at them you can see that they must be agreed on before any prehistoric groups of people could come together to live in peace....kinda like the first laws of civilization.

          January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        TO MAKE A POINT.

        Did you not bother to read it?

        January 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • JWT

      I read it when one of my kids got into it and found it a much better read than the bible.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
  15. Ancient Texan

    The 14% that doesn't believe in anything bash the 86% that do and expect to convert the believers to their mindset?

    January 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • IdahoRaised

      this 86% is a mix of all religions correct? not just your own? Just because you believe in fairy tales.. doesn't mean the 86% believe in the sam Santa clause you do!

      January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • TYRANNASAUR

        Right....love you IdahoRaised.......lolololololololol ........can I have my own private Santa?

        January 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • Econ301

      Asking questions about your Religion is bashing it?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Mopery

      It's not that we Atheists don't believe in anything, we just don't believe in s u p e r s t i t i o u s nonsense which has no evidence to back up its claims. Fervent testimonials by teary-eyed believers pressuring others into conforming to their beliefs have never impressed me in any positive way. Prove that god(s) exist and we will apologize and change our minds, until then, keep your imaginary father-figures out of our government.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Gatorfan

        I'm an athest nihist. I believe in cookies and not much else.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • Zeus

      real intelligence is the ability to entertain ideas that counter your own. – Aristotle

      You have to admit people who fight for their religion have some seriously brainwashed thoughts. They can't even imagine/entertain thoughts counter to their own.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • yll

      nonbelievers don't convert people. that's for the religious. nonbelievers educate people to trust in reason, rather than faith despite reason

      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  16. matic

    All or none.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  17. karl from az

    “. . . in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy: without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (Timothy 3:1-5).

    January 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • yellownumber5

      Is that before or after the part where the Hobbit tosses the ring into the volcano?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • Tyler

        perfect

        January 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • Neo Atheist

      LOL!
      Man, that bible has the funniest lines.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Lucifer

        And dangerous. Don't forget dangerous

        January 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • Madtown

      Incontinent? My goodness, that sounds messy.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • LouieD

      "Last days?" Sounds to me like a summary of all human history.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • mojo

      Since humans have existed this has been true. The end of days is forever near.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Carrie

      Thanks for speaking truth Karl. Satan looooves it when people think he's not real and the Bible is a joke. It makes him very happy.
      Too bad we're not worried about what pleases God, who LIVES and is REAL and we'll all stand before Him one day.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • G to the T

        I tend to split the difference. The bible is an amazing set of writings and has had a huge influence on western history. That being said, I don't believe it's inspired in any way, shape or form.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Janeen

    I like the statue and am all for representation of all beliefs, but am concerned that the young girl looks so thin. She looks kind of anorexic which is concerning.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
  19. bostontola

    I doubt very much that the satanists care if they get a statue erected there.

    They and the ACLU are making a point. The point is, once the state allows one religion to be represented on public property, they must allow any other religion to do the same. Any less and the Govt would be promoting a religion. That point is most sharply made with satanism.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Then they're wasting their money?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        Only if you believe the US Consti.tution has no value.

        January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @bostontola : Only if you believe the US Consti.tution has no value.

          Do you believe that the US Constitution supports outsiders imposing beliefs upon others without their buy-in? After all, it is outsiders (i.e. New York) forcing their beliefs (i.e. satanism) upon citizens of Oklahoma when they have no vote on the matter at all.

          <><

          January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • bostontola

          They aren't imposing beliefs at all, they are getting equal access/time. If it makes it to court, they will have Oklahoma people in the suit for sure.

          January 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • Hex

      As an atheist...you're 100% right in this case. It's about religious people needing to understand that they aren't the chosen ones. You aren't special and don't deserve special treatment.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  20. Live4Him

    Revelation 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Satan's destination.

    January 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • Topher

      I burn some serious sulphur every time I have Mexican.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
    • Scott

      We call your argument "question-begging."

      January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Zeus

      quoting the Bible means nothing. Bring me some To Kill A Mocking Bird quotes and we'll have a real discussion.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • igaftr

      L4H
      The greatest trick satan ever did was inspiring the bible, and convincing people that it was inspired by god.
      The violent destructive history of christianity has shown that either god is a vindictive evil god, or satan has been busy folling people like yourself.

      Wehn I consider the ways that YOU personally misrepresent science, continuously try arguments with unbelievably flawed logic, It occurs to me you are an agent of chaos, more than a sheep of your god.

      It is you that has been deceived.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      January 7, 2014 at 2:16 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.