Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments
A Ten Commandments monument erected outside the Oklahoma state Capitol.
December 9th, 2013
01:46 PM ET

Satanists want statue next to 10 Commandments

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Lots of lawmakers have been accused of devilish behavior, but Oklahoma's state capitol may become the first to actually have a monument to Satan.

If a New York-based group called the Temple of Satan gets its way, a statue of the Evil One would sit next to the recently erected 10 Commandments monument on state capitol grounds.

"They said they wanted to be open to different monuments," said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Temple of Satan, "and this seems like a perfect place to put that to the test."

Greaves and some legal experts say the Constitution is clear: the government can't endorse one particular religion. So, if a state capitol has a monument to one faith, it must allow monuments to others as well.

The Temple of Satan is less a religious body organized around rituals and regular meetings than a roving band of political provocateurs, said Greaves. They believe Satan is a "literary construct," the spokesman said, not an actual being with horns and hooves.

Last year, the Temple organized a gay and lesbian kiss-in at the gravesite of the mother of anti-gay preacher and activist the Rev. Fred Phelps. It also held a rally at Florida's state capitol in support of a law that allows "inspirational messages" at public school assemblies.

"It allows us to spread the message of Satanism," which centers around respect for diversity and religious minorities, said Greaves.

Oklahoma legislators voted to erect the Ten Commandments monument in 2009, using private funds donated by Rep. Mike Rietz, a surgeon and Southern Baptist deacon.

Rietz declined to comment on the Satanists' proposal on Monday, citing an separate and ongoing dispute with the American Civil Liberties Union over the Ten Commandments monument.

Oklahoma state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN that he's not in favor of the Satanist's proposed statue.

"I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds," Cleveland said in an e-mail on Monday.

But if Christians and Jews can have their monument to the 10 Commandments, then Satanists must be allowed to erect their own statue, said Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberty Union's Oklahoma chapter.

"We feel like the Satanic Temple has a very strong argument to say that, if the state allows one religious monument, you have to allow others," Henderson said.

Oklahoma's statehouse grounds already has monuments honoring its heritage and Native American history, said Trait Thompson, chair of the Capitol Preservation Commission.

"Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork," Thompson said.

The commission then determines whether the proposal abides by its standards and votes on whether to approve it.

Greaves said he's received the required forms from Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Commission and is working on a design that will meet its standards.

"We want something big and bold that will be able to stand up to the weather or whatever other kinds of assaults," that may target the monument, he said.

"My favorite idea right now is an object of play for children. We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is."

The Temple of Satan created a Indiegogo fundraising page on Monday, but have thus far only publicly raised $150 towards its goal of $20,000.

Not all Satanist groups see the fun in political provocations.

Magus Peter Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan, which was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, said he believes in strict separation of church and state.

"Rather than placing multiple 'advertisements' for various religions, we think it best for the (10 Commandments) monument to be removed to private property and that there be no objects supporting religion of any sort placed on the statehouse grounds," Gilmore said.

Earlier this year, Gilmore's Church of Satan squared off against a British group of Satanists over abortion rights, after activists shouted "Hail Satan" to drown out anti-abortion activists at the Texas state capitol.

READ MORE: Satanists square off on abortion (Yes, really)

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Culture wars • Devil • Satanism

soundoff (3,610 Responses)
  1. Dislocated Luxate

    Satan doesn't exist but, then, either does God.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  2. hardcandy777

    This world is going to hell!.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I believe there is no such place as the hell of the Christian religion.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  3. Water to Whine

    God bless the US government for being secular. It's people will live in religious freedom when other's will not.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Bob from Accounting

      Hear Hear

      December 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
      • Sam

        Otherwise, where does it all end?

        December 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  4. letterstogodsh

    Reblogged this on Letters To God and commented:
    If God can have a monument I guess why not Satan?

    December 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Sam

      Not only to Satan, but to all others. If only one or two symbols of religions are allowed, then in effect the state is establishing religion. The only way to avoid it is to allow all religions to place monuments on government property, or by allowing none which is easier and fair to all and prevents government properties from becoming cluttered with everyone's monuments.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • letterstogodsh

        I completely agree, especially at a State Capitol. I think followers of the Abrahamic religions can forget that they're not the only ones, and by doing so they alienate others.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  5. Sam

    The arguments that the monument of the Ten Commandments represents the beliefs of the majority of the people in Oklahoma or any other state or the entire country, is totally wrong. Christians are a minority in the world, and according to the Bible itself always will be, no matter what the conservative right believes and would like others to believe.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The monument may represent the values of the majority of Oklahomans. It certainly represents some Oklahomans expressing their values in a louder voice than any who might disagree are allowed.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Sam

        Christianity is based on Free Will. The efforts by those who try to impose it upon others against their will, will be it's downfall and is the reason so many in the world hate Christians.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  6. Water to Whine

    For those of you who make the claim that US law, and the formation of the country in 1776, is based officially on Christian law, I give you this challenge: Take your arguement to court against the US government and see if you win. If you challenge a law in the US based on the arguement that the law is not congruent with Christian law, you will lose. It is a secular government no matter how much Christianity is invloved in society and despite many laws agreeing with basic Christian principles (which agree with most other religions' basic principles).

    December 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Sam

      Strange how so many people believe the government which established the thirteen colonies is the government this country is founded upon. People need to study history and learn who the founders of The United States Of America revolted against.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  7. Stammer

    I demand a statue be placed there honoring His Noodliness, The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    December 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Billy

      Complete an adjoining outdoor cafe where people can receive his body, so to speak? It could work I think...

      December 9, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • Water to Whine

        May the sauce flow!

        December 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        One bowl of oxtail ramen in his honor please...

        December 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • lol??

          Cannibal. Egyptians are RA men.

          December 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Mobius665

        Along with sacramental wine.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • Doris

          But please, from Sonoma, not Sacramento...

          December 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I parted with the Catholic faith over having the body of Christ with a dab of cream cheese and some capers. Will the noodle monster allow the body to be stufffed with minced lobster and shallots and coated with a cream sauce with smoked paprika, cayenne and a bit of oregano?

        December 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh goodness, Tom. Noodles go with everything. But lobster and shallots? Hmm. I'll need a rye manhattan just to think about what wine to put with that.

          December 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Cognac and soda for me, please.

          December 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • lol??

      Old school that proves the pwogwessives have tiny imaginations. The new symbol for the republic should be a banana.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Charles

      That is getting old. It's not funny anymore.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:08 am |
  8. marc

    It's creepy beyond belief, but these guys have as much a right to put up a monument as Christians do. These people that push to combine Christianity and government desperately need a wake-up call...that they likely are not going to be in the majority in the U.S. for too many more decades and will have to endure another religion forcing their beliefs on them on down the road since they've opened that door up and refuse to close it.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  9. Uncle Al

    The remarkable volume of human slaughter in the Bible. Greeks and Persians slaughtering each other, Alexander the Great slaughtering an empire, Roman Legions, the Huns, Turks on Armenians and Greeks, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Spanish and Portuguese slaughtering the New World, Belgium slaughtering the Belgian Congo, Hitler on Jews, Stalin's gulags, Mao's Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot depopulating Cambodia, Muslims vs. Hindus in India, Arabs. vs. Jews, American and French Civil Wars... drink your Jim Jones Guyana Kool-Aid.

    Has anybody ever mounted a national campaign to killed any other body to further Satan's worldly interests ? God has heaven and air pollution, the Devil has mineral and fossil fuel deposits plus geothermal energy. God offers you debt up front for promises, Beelzebub's contract is goodies up front with delayed debt service. I can believe in that! Empirical evidence strongly suggests that we've be been betting on the wrong horses. Isn't it time we Scratched an old itch?

    (Entry into heaven is predicated upon the number of yellow lights you made as a driver in this life. Fast, efficient, unambiguous, and only the right people make it in.)

    December 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  10. Gator

    I read the Satanic Bible years ago, and it actually has nothing to do with worship of the devil. Instead, it's merely a rejection of the turn the other cheek mentality of Christianity.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  11. N H

    The main issue I have with a lot of these lawsuits is they are made by groups from OUTSIDE the state in question. If Oklahoman's voted to have a statue of satan, then so be it. But to have a group from New York come in and demand their "faith" be allowed a statue on Oklahoman-owned public property, that is wrong. Go put one up in NYC, if you can convince enough people to support it. The whole point, as states in the article, is for Oklahoman values to be represented. Not the values of a fringe group hundreds of miles away.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      So you think there are no Satanists in Oklahoma? Not perhaps that the few there don't have the money or daring to do it on their own? You are basically defending mob rule, which is all we're seeing here. A dominant group trying to claim all the turf while other groups are too afraid to speak up. I have good friends in Oklahoma, non-Christians from China, and they would never risk complaining. Thank goodness someone from outside is fighting the oppression. It's folks like you who argued northerners should stay out of southern slavery and segregation issues, 'cause, hey, the majority white folk supported it.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Pete

      So, by your logic, no missionary group should be allowed to build churches outside their local home area, right? Why do they go to places like North Korea where the majority don't want them either?

      December 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Akira

      As the monuments are privately funded, what difference does it make what state the money came from? It's US currency.
      OK opened the door. They should have anticipated this.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  12. jcs

    How about something more realistic? Like a Quran monument!

    December 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Muslims in the UK have already fought and won to have the same government funded school rights and allowing Limited Sharia has been proposed. If you don't hold a fast line one religion and government it will mix quickly. NONE can be allowed.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  13. fred

    The message of satanism "centers around respect for diversity and religious minorities". Yeah.

    December 9, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • LB

      More so than KKKhristianity.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Can your religion offer something of the kind, fred?

      December 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • JJ

      Yeah....Satanists are really just humanists who chose the name "Satanists" to make Christians shit their pants.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • Saraswati

        There are theistic Satanists, but they are few and far between. Even those generally worship a fairly benighn, if not benevolent, Satan.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
      • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666


        December 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • fred

      I will let you use my name if you can explain to me how tensor calculus is used to delineate a quantum field.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • G to the T


        December 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  14. graijts

    Religion = Hatred,Fear,Ignorance, and Brutality

    December 9, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • AE

      Not always. Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Tenzin Gyatso, etc. have demonstrated differently.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Did they offer ideas that were inherent to their religions or were they representatives of humanity rather than religion?

        December 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • AE

          They probably would argue their "Religion" does not lead them to "Hatred,Fear,Ignorance, and Brutality".

          December 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
      • Pete

        MLK is an example of an individual who challenged a widespread bigotry preached on Christian podiums. The Southern Baptists fought him tooth and nail, right? So, isn't this more a case of one man fighting against the prevailing religious authority?

        December 9, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • AE

          Right. MLK definitely was a Christian himself. He, and many others, were not preaching the same bigotry that some of the Southern Baptists preached.

          December 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  15. Crystal

    I'd rather they not.

    December 9, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  16. Doris

    I'll echo what ScottCA said: "No Religious monuments of any kind should be allowed on any property designated for public offices of any kind."

    "[If] the nature of... government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope." –Thomas Jefferson

    December 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      People will argue that the monuments are speech and therefore protected. Monuments guarantee the preeminence of some speech over the free expression of others. That can't be allowed.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  17. Joey

    To you guys who say the words "Thou shalt not kill" are really some other interpretation such as a slave committing murder, I zoomed-in this picture of the monument and it says Thou Shalt Not Kill.
    And clearly you have killed an hour of my life 😀 You bad.

    December 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  18. karl from az

    I'm sure God will take care of the problem, if not sooner then at 'judgement time'!

    December 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Pete

      BY "God" you mean vandals, right?

      December 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Ah, "judgement" a hoax to scare the gullible

      December 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  19. JT

    If it goes up, I will tear it down!

    December 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      in three days I will raise it up again

      December 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
      • Doris


        December 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Pete

      Again, vandals. Can't your god defend himself?

      December 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • If it's the law

      Unfortunately, the politicians opened up Pandora's Box. It was a slippery slope they created by putting up the 10 C. monument in the first place. You may argue it is just words carved on sculpted stone – but that is what any other monument would be. Slippery slope... and not well thought out at all.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Once you allow this stuff you end up like the UK which now has government funded Islamic schools at state school libraries where the three little bigs was removed as religiously offensive. They also had to pull police posters showing the mascot dog because it went against Islam. That's where mixing religion and politics leads.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • TJ

      If erected, yeah, I'm sure it will be torn down, again and again.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • jlee

        Satanists haven't torn down the 10 C monument over and over yet, neither should those who believe in the monument. It's just what another previous commenter said – if they allowed the 10 C monument to be put up, get ready for everyone else's monuments to go next to it, whether you like theirs or not. Better rule – take them all down.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • goddog

        We see how tolerant Christians like you are compared to secularists who communicate their oppositions verbally and litigiously, rather than making physical threats. Good job of representing the "moral high ground" on which you presume to stand. The youth in the US are wise to this kind of hypocrisy and intolerance and that is why religion is on the way out. Thank Man.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  20. DazerLave

    Woohoo! Comment #666

    December 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • AE


      December 9, 2013 at 6:57 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.