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. stanf

    In the entire bible, satan only kiills people once. He kills about 8 of Job's family in a bit with god, and with god's permission. In the bible, without even counting god deliberately drowning the entire population of the earth (less 8), god kills directly or orders the killing of several million. Among these are all the first born children in Egypt directly killed by god. If the bible is true, god is the greatest serial mass killer of children in all history. This leaves one to ask, "Who, really, is the evil one?"

    December 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Scott

      You have little knowledge of what you think you are an authority on. Be careful of the words you choose. Evil and the people that perpetuate must be destroyed. You will put your faith in Jesus and The Lord when you are burning in the flame. Repent.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • WilltheFree

        Yeah, that's it. You know the truth. Not.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

        You are fooling only yourself. I can only believe that willful ignorance runs strong in your gene pool in order to simply ignore the contradictions, cruelties, immoralities, vindictiveness, errors, etc., that are in the Bible – and as a former believer, I would know.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • doobzz

        Isn't that exactly what the bible says? Your god randomly kills throughout the bible. Doesn't take much to provoke him, either.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  2. I.S.

    Time for Christians to stand up. I guess this was bound to happen as this country seems hellbent on going to hell (pun intended & figure of speech). The lack of respect and ridicule from the non believers coupled with the absence of unity among believers created this opening.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • DanBun

      So, do you think government should favor YOUR faith over that of others?

      December 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • bacbik

      We might trade. You can stand up. But you must shut up.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      "The lack of respect and ridicule from the non believers coupled with the absence of unity among believers created this opening."

      Why should anyone respect a book basing itself partly on immoralities, cruelties, bigotries, racism, contradictions, errors, revisions, slavery, etc.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  3. Ved

    The solution is to remove all religious monuments from public grounds. There never should have been a mix between politics and religion in the first place. We should not have any references to "God" on our pennies or dollars, or in our oaths, and especially coming from the mouth of the President. We should also pressure countries that are based upon religion to change; this includes all the Muslim countries, from Saudi Arabia all the way to Indonesia, and should extend even to Israel, which proclaims itself to be a Jewish state. People should not be forced into any religion or belief anywhere in the World.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • DanBun

      Keep in mind, the Presidential oath has no reference to God.
      Lincoln may have been the first President to add "so help me God" at the end, although stories often cite Washington as being first....

      December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • G to the T

        Several presidents have also been sworn in on books other than the bible. It is not a requirement.

        December 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  4. rl

    This could get real interesting.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Doris

    James Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and eleven of the Amendments including the Bill of Rights:

    "Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

    "The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."

    Madison as president vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state.
    He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom. (See Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.)

    December 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      Christians love to talk about how the founders got everything right .... except when it comes to this.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  6. Name*


    December 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • DanBun

      Are you opposed to Freedom and Equality?

      December 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  7. Brandon


    December 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • danny

      Someone should take it to the high court. Then, properly, neither would be displayed.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Sea Otter (Leader of the Allied Atheist Alliance)

    Look at that... a bear mining for coal...

    December 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  9. Donald Carl Smith

    How about the satanist demons going back to hell from whence they came, Yahweh God is never going to relinquish His Power And Glory To Any Evil present on the earth. I think its about time we as Christians accept the persecution as a part of being a Christian, knowing that our reward will follow when Chrst comes back to destroy the evil tares that are dooomed for their destruction in the lake of fire.. Leave God's Commandments where they belong, within Government, Within Our Hearts and Souls. Be it know that We Christians will never give up on our Heavenly Father who died on calvery For our Salvation. Never give satan not one inch, He has no place within our christian society.. Donald Carl Smith

    December 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • utalkin2me

      seriously? stfu

      December 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • JJ

      You poor delusional little shit.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • Scott

        The evil in this world must be destroyed. Watch what you say. Don't be a fool. The world is full of them. Repent and ask for forgiveness.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Sea Otter (Leader of the Allied Atheist Alliance)

      I would make you my bottom-bitch... do you know what I am saying?

      December 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • Scott

        When you close your eyes for the last time and take your last breath, you will clearly see "The Bottom" and you will clearly feel the "Heat" then you will put your faith in Jesus when your burning in the flame. Heed my words and repent.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • Sea Otter (Leader of the Allied Atheist Alliance)

          Please keep your stupid jesus cult crap to yourself douchbag... your empty proxy threats are meaningless to me.

          Do you know what I am saying?

          December 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Mike

      Easy there Donald. I'm not entirely sure that "God" intended his commandments to be within government. And I know that the founding fathers didn't. Case in point: Churches are less useful than lighthouses. -Ben Franklin

      December 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • snossny

      I think it's fantastic. I think they should have a 30-foot bronze replica of Broomhilda the witch smashing Rush Limbaugh in between two big Moses tablets like a big, fat pastrami reuben. It should have its own source of solar power from the god Ra that generates an actual electric-blue blue of lightning from her eyes every 5 minutes that smites down any nay-sayer, goody-two-shoes and holier-than-thou-er within a 100-foot radius. And somehow it should generate a 60-decibel laugh at every lightning bolt that sounds something like a cross between a pack of hyenas and whatever sound Michele Bachman woud make if she tripped down the stairs of the US capitol building afrom the top step aaalllllll the way to the ground... I mean aaaaalllllllll the waaaaaayyyy dooowwwwn.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Scott

      Thank you Mr. Smith. I could not have said it any better myself. The evil in this world and the people that perpetuate it must be destroyed. God bless you.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • G to the T

        The challenge being who gets to define "evil" and what means you plan to use to "destroy" them.

        I would think christians would be in favor of free will (which a theocracy wouldn't allow).

        December 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • bacbik

      Too much unnecessary capitalization.. too much BS..

      December 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Sand

      But if you don't embrace Flying Spaghetti Monster you will be damned to the realm of Manicotti forever to boil in an ocean of Alfredo Sauce!

      December 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jye Brandt

      hahahahaha, oh wait, you're serious. You're gonna start ranting and screaming about Christians being persecuted, when you Christians have been doing it to Jews, Muslims,Taoists, Hindus, Native peoples and Atheists for two thousand years, but when any of those groups wants a little equality you immediately cry foul. You have waged wars to slay those who think differently even though the bible says 'Thou shall not kill". You invade countries for money and resources even though it says to not covet thy neighbor. How about for once you actually practice the love and tolerance you preach.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • Scott

        You have little knowledge of what you believe you are an authority on. Repent and pray for forgiveness. You have little faith and he will say to you "I never knew you "

        December 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Jye Brandt

          sooo i suppose that the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition were just you going on a milk run?

          December 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • DanBun

      I follow the teachings of Jesus, but will never call myself "Christian".
      Your lack of tolerance borders on hatred, and that is fundamentally against what Jesus taught.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  10. john rosen

    Like it or not, it's the world we live in

    December 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  11. Sea Otter

    Butters: Mommy and Daddy please don't sell me to Paris Hilton...

    December 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Sea Otter

      Oh hamburgers...

      December 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  12. Angela

    It's harassment.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
  13. Sea Otter

    Stupid spoiled whore video playset!

    December 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Billy

      Where can I get that. I still have some Xmas shopping to do.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
      • Sea Otter

        At the stupid spoiled whore store at your local mall

        December 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
        • BonesNadeau

          Alright there South Park lover. Easy now.

          December 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  14. Rodel Aristotle Butler

    Watch "Experiencing The Supernatural God" on YouTube

    December 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  15. Pat

    Are the Native American monuments religious in nature?

    December 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Wilma

      According to some atheists on here, Native Americans were delusional retards who believed in imaginary sky fairies. Some atheists on here are jerks.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Sea Otter (Leader of the Allied Atheist Alliance)

        So? What's your point?

        December 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  16. Stahp

    Freedom of religion doesn't just mean freedom for christians.

    Get used to it- if you want a monument, we'll have one too.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  17. RLM9797

    Our country was founded by Godly men of all Christian faiths, and not ungodly ones, therefore, we have a right to embrace how Christianity affected our culture and our country by displaying the 10 Commandments! If the cultists think they can destroy American culture by twisting things around, watch out, because we, the American people, will knock their abomination down to dust!

    December 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Stahp

      You're probably too old or fat to walk let alone pulverize a granite satan.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • RLM9797

        Actually, you are so wrong about fat and old!

        December 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
        • utalkin2me

          just young and stupid right?

          December 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Maddy

      Those FF wrote the Consti.tution. Visit it sometime.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Sea Otter

      You're not too smart are you?

      December 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Doris

      Uhhhh not quite. No right comes without a responsibility. Your jurisdiction may give you the right to light off fireworks, but I doubt they give you the right to aim them at your neighbors' homes.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      John Adams
      "The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

      Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states
      "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

      December 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Tom

      Wrong! Know your history before you spout off ignorance. HAIL SATAN!

      December 9, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Jla058

      In all fairness, the US was founded on the belief of freedom of religion. At least that what the original colonist had in mind.
      1) Money was not originally inscribe "With God We Trust" until 1956. Before it was Latin for "Out of many, one," referring to how out of the 13 original colonies, a new country was created.
      2) The original pledge of allegiance, written by a Baptist minister, did not originally include "under god."
      3) Some historians believe some founding fathers were not religious.
      All in all, the US was more founded on freedom, whether religious or not, not on a particular religion.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

        FYI – according to the US Treasury, " IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin."

        Just sayin'.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • G to the T

          In response to civil war, correct. Though the "official" motto on our earliest currency was "Mind Your Business" (gotta love Ben Franklin).

          December 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      You are not "we, the American people." Speak for yourself and stop the megalomaniacal use of "WE" to reflect your beliefs.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  18. Joshua

    Thanks for posting the link so I could send those guys money. Good work.

    December 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • UM

      They always post links with info like that. This is not a religious site.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
  19. PC

    Not surprised at all. It's all going as predicted. It amazes me when people say whatever they like about the bible yet world history is playing out so perfectly according to its predictions. "the abomination that causes desolation will stand in the holy place" Mat 24:15. In time, their monument will be erected right in the church. I don't think any believer should fret. Just know where you stand exactly. What must happen has to happen.

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

      The predictions said the end of time was supposed to happen almost 2000 years ago. Every generation predicts it will happen in its time. Failure after failure.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    •  Pumpkinhead

      "It's gotta run its course"

      December 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      The bible hasn't correctly predicted anything; gypsy fortune tellers can do as well.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  20. Godmade

    Wow. It truly is the end of times now. People allowing false idols to really be a part of our society. God help us.

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

      Try helping yourself.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:31 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.