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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. Karin

    What took so long, is what I am wondering. About damn time! It is either all groups or none. Though, it is going to take some tweaking of the mental mindset of those that think it is their way or the highway.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  2. vinny

    Typical leftist....they don't even live in OK...

    December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • G to the T

      Leftist = standing up for religious freedom? Sorry, don't think I scan what your mean.

      December 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    I don't want this group or any other religious junk on public property,especially on a state Capitol. They need to get rid of the ten commandments right now and also ban this group or any other religious group from constructing anything as well.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • lol??

      With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to carve stone"

      December 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • G to the T

        So... you quote the non-bibilcal quote on the French dontated statue that represents (hint definition of "idol") the spirit of Liberty.

        December 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    a statue of satan and jesus and harry potter riding unicorns would be awesome

    December 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • kyancy

      wow! That *does* sound awesome! But can a rainbow be spewing from the unicorn's horn? That would *really* be awesome!

      December 9, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  5. Dexter Sherpa

    The fact that people are actually investing their time into this just shows that our population is becoming useless. Why not just accept the fact that our country was based on different basic values that have now been expanded upon and given less power over us. There is no need to garishly exhibit this and infuriate people. People are so petty they can't just let things be. I agree with separation of church and state, but this is ridiculous and these people should be dropped into the gulf so that hungry mouths can get the food they are wasting.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • danny

      ever heard of that expression, "give an inch, take a mile"?

      December 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      It just goes to show how simple-minded most Americans are.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  6. t2vodka

    This is funny, but stupid, they should just ban all the monuments to fictional characters, aka gods and stuff. The whole lot of them are just plain morons.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  7. Cary Grant

    This is exactly why there should be no religion in government. One flavor isn't any better than another.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Doris

      Exactly. Every right comes with a responsibility. Your jurisdiction may allow you to light up fireworks, but most likely, they don't allow you to aim them at your neighbors' homes.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  8. Ryan Farnham

    "I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds" there ya go, obviously the monuments must support Oklahoma values which is Christian values... I'm a Buddhist and know this is against the law what they have done especially when stating they will deny based on values of the state, it's so transparent. If you put up a monument you must let others place there's at will, period, no if and buts about it. But where you going to stick all them monuments? What is the maximum size of said monuments? Why not place NO monuments at all and just leave it be as it is the easier and more logical option?

    December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  9. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    This is like the greatest thing to ever happen to america, ever.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Neither or Both.

    According to the bible god has murdered millions of people. According to the bible the devil has never killed anyone. It's pretty clear who's the evil one. Rear about gods murderous rampage here:

    Genesis 6:8, Genesis 19:4-5, Ezekiel 16:46-47, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Genesis 19:26, Genesis 38:7, Genesis 38:9-10, Exodus 12:29, Exodus 14:28, Leviticus 10:1-3, Numbers 11:1-3, Numbers 11:31-35, Numbers 14:36-38, Numbers 16:27-32, Numbers 16:35, Numbers 16:49, Numbers 21:4-9, Numbers 25:9, Joshua 10:10-11, 1 Samuel 6:19, 1 Samuel 25:38, 2 Samuel 6:6-7, 2 Samuel 12:14-18, 2 Samuel 24:13, 2 Samuel 24:1, 1 Kings 13:1-24, 1 Kings 14:10-18, 1 Kings 20:35-36, 1 Kings 22:51, 2 Kings 1:16, 2 Kings 1:9-12, 2 Kings 2:23-24, 2 Kings 17:25-26, 2 Kings 19:35, 2 Chronicles 13:20, 2 Chronicles 21:14-19.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      Of course you've taken all of those passages completely out of "Context!!!!!"

      They'll gladly say the plain words that are appealing are self-evident, but that the cruelties etc. need to be understood in their proper context so you "get it!"

      December 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
      • Neither or Both.

        Huh? Are you high or dyslexic? Is English not your first language? Your post made no sense whatsoever. All that time you spend staring at the sun and playing tapes backwards has got you thinking backwards.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • August

      Except that the end of time is what will tell. God's family and followers will live in peace and happiness, while the others.....well I shall pray for them.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • Neither or Both.

        Will that include the 25 million or so family that god murdered?

        December 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  11. Ronnie Harper

    I do hope they erect it in its full glory. Anything to highlight the complete absurdity of religion and junk like 'the ten commandments'. What a load, religion and commandments, and all that ludicrous bunk.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  12. Billy

    All satantanist should be burned at the stake or hanged.

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

      What is a "satantanist"? After that typo, do you honestly expect anyone will believe you are an intelligent, thoughtful person?

      December 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • Zen

        Carlos Santana fan

        December 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • Dexter Sherpa

          hahaha, well played sir/madame

          December 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • Billy

        Willthefree-Thank you for bringing your enlightened intellect to the discussion. Hardly does a typo reveal true intelligence, but thank you. Thank you very much!!!

        December 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Keith

          Your willingness to torture and kill people who don't share your religion kinda negates your argument as well, dontcha think?

          December 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Billy

          Keith--No, I don't think. Off with their heads!

          December 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Keith

          I agree. You do not think.

          December 10, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      feeble trolling

      December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Doris

      Hey – I'm a Santananist. Goodness he was just honored at Kennedy Center Honors just days ago.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

        I must confess ... I am as well, and for a long time.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • t2vodka

      Your bible supports that thought.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Sandra Bartlett

      They will someday the Bible tells us along with Satan!

      December 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
      • Good Toast

        Satan is already giving us hints....

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JuSfRgh0Vo

        December 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  13. What Your History Teacher Didn't Teach You

    Most of you probably don't know that several of the states in our country used to have an official state religion. Some of them even had them into the 1800's. The 1st Amendment was designed to specifically prohibit there from being an official at the national level, not to enforce this silly idea of complete "separation of Church and State".

    December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • WilltheFree

      I believe if you read the writings of our founding fathers you will quickly come to the conclusion that this is exactly what they meant.

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

      It took some time, but proper application of the law to the states eventually took place.

      James Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and 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.)

      Thomas Jefferson:

      "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

      December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • kyancy

        wow. Nicely done. I will use this argument over and over if u dont mind.

        December 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  14. Follower of the Jedi Way

    Where do I sign up to get a statue of Yoda erected? No worries people. It will be small.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      erect it you will

      December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  15. Mark

    Freedom of religion means exactly that.

    If certain folks of any religion, especially including those who claim to be a so-called Christian majority, believe that the government should play favorites and be their own personal mouthpiece and enforcer of their beliefs upon others, spoken in coded terms using "biblical" as an adjective – they are sadly misinformed about how a peaceful representative democratic republic should work as a society.

    Imposing a religion caste-system to afford ANY religious group special privileges, yet penalize those who are unpopular with that group, is a mockery and travesty of living in a free society.

    Theocracies are not free societies, where things like freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble and freedom of religion are marginalized or do not exist at all.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  16. NorCalMojo

    Satanists are a joke. They just do it for the attention.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • WilltheFree

      Same could be said of many more mainstream "religions". But that's not the point here....

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

      Oh Well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is their right!

      December 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • kyancy

      Christians are a joke. They just do it for the attention.

      Oops! sorry NorCalMojo

      I dont agree with this but I also dont agree with preferential treatment of other religions. They are all businesses when u get down to it and should pay taxes as such. As long as u corral them as something separate u better be ready for every crack-pot religion to demand the same perks.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Ronnie Harper

      All religions are a joke and do it for tax-free status at our great expense. Suckers!

      December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  17. Stewman

    As long as it's a beautiful statue, then go for it! At the very least it will be one of the best examples of religious freedom to date.

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

      Ah, a statue of "young Lucifer" – before all that "fall from grace" stuff – that's a great idea!

      There was a reason he was God's favorite...

      December 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • Now that's just stupid...

        unless of course you think god likes boys?

        December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • G to the T

          Why wouldn't she like boys?

          December 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  18. The Walrus

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"
    Either all religions get recognition this way, or none do.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  19. Claypiole717

    I don't see a problem with it. If we want to have rights for all Americans, to be protected, it should be allowed. But one day, everyone will realize religion is the first regiment of control, not by brute force, allowed by human beings. Government has filled in the void where religion has failed.
    If you want to be controlled for any reason not of your own, you allow Government, religion, or money to rule every aspect of your life. And when you realize its too late, when your old and dying, your life was a waste bonded to their wills and not your own.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      No, it should not be allowed, and the way to make this plain to Christians is to do just this.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  20. gwedo

    These people are undermining our freedom of and from religion. When the Christians are NOT the majority in the US someday and we are all FORCED to do something crazy like bow to Mecca several time a day in school, at the courthouse, etc. (think Afghanistan) and we try to say hey, this is not my religion who do you think will have set the precedent?

    Do you want to set the precedent of religion mixing with government? Look at Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. they all do...

    I am all for religious symbols, etc., just keep them in your church.

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

      Or at your home.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Doris

      Well I would think there are plenty of other places besides churches where religious representation of this nature is fine. A privately-funded preserved home or library of a historical figure for instance. But certain Christians keep pushing on the wall of separation. They always have. It's the way they are.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!!"

      "we are all FORCED to do something crazy like bow to Mecca several time a day in school"

      Sounds like you have been listening to fox, rush, limbaugh, etc., for way to long. Take a deeeeeep breath.....

      December 9, 2013 at 9:20 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.