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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. SFer

    I'm a Christian and I think they have every right to place it there. This is still America and it has freedom of speech.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Maddy

      Yes. The satanists do.
      You GET it.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  2. lol??

    A new symbol for the new republic should be the appropriate banana.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    •  

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfucpGCm5hY

      December 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
      • bostontola

        Yeah, none of that science stuff works. Modern medicine, satellites, Internet, cars, airplanes, etc., all made possible through prayer.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  3. RadRev

    Here is the specs for the statue: "...An image of gold, whose height is threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits."

    Can't wait!

    December 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      It will be quite popular with the ladies.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Anthony Crispino

    My wife's groin doctor knows someone who said the Ten Commendments statue removed from a courthouse in Alabama a number of years ago cried real tears as they were taking the things down. Shouldn't mess with stuff like that.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • bostontola

      You're right about that. The same day a piece of toast popped up with Jesus' face on it.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  5. sbuler

    Serves you right you morons from Oklahoma

    December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  6. Andre

    Ten Commandments are two faiths. Christianity and Judaism. And I doubt Satanists will get their way on this one.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • QS

      Remove all religious monuments from government grounds, period.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      In Judaism they are the 10 Helpful Suggestions.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • bostontola

        Moses came off the mountain with 3 tablets and 15 Commandments but dropped 1 of the tablets. I know because I saw it on "The History of the World, Part 1".

        December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Maddy

      The number of religions it represents is immaterial to this situation. There should be NO religious monuments on government property. Period.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  7. Veritas Lavinga

    This is sickening, but in the America that voted in the imbecile Obama for a second term, I can totally see this happening.

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

      To many of us, it's equally sickening to see a monument to the Ten Commandments on government grounds.

      Once you figure that out, you might be a bit more objective.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Andre

      And maybe everyone that voted for Obama is a Satanist.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Maddy

      What a stupid statement. It was put IN during Obama's term....

      December 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  8. Homer

    Evil should not be allowed!!! You don't allow illicit drugs just because vitamins are allowed that is if your argument is democracy. Freedom is not total freedom for you will lose your freedom if you will allow evil !

    December 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • bostontola

      Doh!

      December 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Evil is bad.

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

      A monument is neither good nor evil. Good grief.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • QS

      So we should not allow any religion in general, is what I'm hearing, since there is "evil" contained in every religion.

      Unless of course, like so many self-righteous religious people, you believe your religion is the only one that is truly "good" while all others are inherently evil simply for disagreeing with yours.

      In which case I can't help you as your indoctrination is too complete to be repaired.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      So, are you saying that a virgin sacrifice on the capital building steps to commemorate the Satan statue unveiling is a "no-no"?

      December 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • audrey

      Flintstone vitamins, while harmless, represent a lie.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  9. Daws

    Wouldn't have happened if some didn't feel the need to push their religion on others wherever they go, using our public land for their private agenda. Overall this seems to be becoming a great monument to Karma 😉

    December 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
  10. bostontola

    Is Oklahoma's state Capitol trying to create a monument park to imaginary beings. Start with Yahweh and Satan, add in Greek gods later, followed by Marvel Comic characters?

    December 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • EdwardTr

      Add few rides, and start charging for the entry.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

        Along with a bar and strip club.

        Think of the revenue!

        December 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          That would definitely raise a few monuments.

          December 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  11. AK

    “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.”

    – Abraham Lincoln

    December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      He sufferred with quite serious depression.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • AK

        Guess it wasn't much of an impediment to successfully running the executive branch during the nation's darkest hour.

        By his words, his faith seems to have been an enhancement.

        History, by the way, *is* my hobby.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Adam Smith

      A.L. was gay, and gay people often kneel to accomplish certain tasks.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  12. AK

    “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.”

    December 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      i guess it beats standing on your feet, eh?

      December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps you need a hobby.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • QS

      Lincoln, I believe.

      Poor guy....even the highly intelligent of their day still fell victim to the trappings of fictional beliefs.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  13. MM

    Wow! What else can I say.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  14. Dick Clinton

    Satans Temple organized a gay and lesbian kiss-in at the gravesite of the mother of anti-gay preacher and activist the Rev. Fred Phelps? Is this the kind of press most gay American's want?

    December 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      To quote Rev Phelps, "Any press is good press."

      December 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Maddy

      Considering what the Phelp's clan have done, the gay community have shown much more love than the Phelp's clan have ever done.
      Do you know anything about the Westboro Baptist Church?

      December 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • QS

      As opposed to the press wherein some religious nut declares they are going to perform an exorcism on the state for passing marriage equality?

      Or the press that shows us all the wonderfully loving Christians who showed up to support Chic-Fil-A's anti-gay bigotry?

      Honestly, compared to the way many Christians behave, the Satanists at least seem to be decent, non-judgmental people.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Justin S.

        you mean like staging gay makeout sessions at the grave of someone's mother as a PR stunt?

        yeah, that's pretty sweet and decent folk

        December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  15. Jon

    Makes complete sense to me freedom for all..... why not add a shrine to the tooth fairy between the ten commandments and the book of satan... and maybe top it all off with an easter bunny and talking motion activated talking jesus.... Sweet home Alabama...

    December 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  16. Kayla

    Let this be a great oportunity to show the world Christians are not eaily provoked to hate, but to love, not quick to anger but to love, and let it be a chance to meet people who haven't met the Lord and share him. Be present at the monument to show them your love. Love ya!

    December 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      Wonderful sentiments, and having the sharp contrast of Christian ideals placed side by side with Satanic values can ONLY strengthen the Christian message.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Jon

      Your an idiot and missed the point.... religious is as make believe as the easter bunny, santa, the tooth fairy and satan.. and there is not place in government for make believe... wake up and live and stop oppressing your self.... religions is darkness...

      December 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
      • Justin S.

        darkness is calling a stranger an idiot after she offered scripture on kindness.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Candy

      My only issue is that Greaves is insisting that they accept all religions including satanism and then states that satanism isn't really a religion. He wants them recognized as a religion while saying they aren't a religion? Hmmm.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
      • Justin S.

        He also proposes that Satanism (you know, as a 'literary construction") is about tolerating religious minorities.

        Pretty sure it's not.

        If these are the best kind of PR stunts the atheists can pull off, I think religion is pretty safe.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • JJ

      The most hateful, ignorant and arrogant people I know are Christians. They are basically bullies.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
  17. Dick Clinton

    These Satanists have big balls.. If they were a little larger though they would attempt to erect a statue outside one the many mosques in the US.

    December 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Unless you are talking about mosques on government owned property I can't see how this is relevant.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      It would be very ironic if such a statue resembled Mohammed, don't you think?

      December 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Dan

      I think the whole point is that the Ten Commandments are erected on government property, whereas these mosques you speak of are not.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Maddy

      I'd like to see a 10 C monument there, also. If Christians had the balls, they'd do that, right?

      December 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  18. Gubbe

    I heartily applaud this effort by Satanists to erect a monument to the devil next to the 10 Commandments monument in OK. However, as a practicing Pastafarian, I must insist that a monument to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, my savior, also be erected next the the other two. To simplify things, why not erect a monument to every single god, some tens of thousands in number, that people have worshiped since the dawn of mankind?

    December 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Justin S.

      we could also erect a monument to every time you've posted that pastafarian joke on CNN

      some tens of thousands in number

      December 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
      • Gubbe

        It's not a joke, I'm serious.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          R'amen! Ignore the heathen christian cultists... they will never know HIS noodley bliss...

          December 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  19. Bill

    Only the super devil will suffice

    December 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      Bush?

      December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

        Woops, I meant Dick Cheney.

        December 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
  20. Mobius665

    "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."

    Hey Mom, can I go climb up Satan's pitchfork?

    December 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
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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.