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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. His Imperial Highness

    A Black Uhruu statue next to the 10 commandment statue. Would that be an invisible statue, or would it have the first two biblical laws on it?

    December 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  2. Mark W.

    I've got the cheapest monument yet. An homage to the almighty Invisible Pink Unicorn. Now these idiot republicans will learn a lesson. Probably NOT.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Uriel

    I say that if the ten commandments get a monument, satanism should have a monument too. And Scientology, and Wicca, and Asatru, and Atheism, and Hinduism, and every other religion worshiped in the United States. We have freedom of religion right? It isn't just limited to Christianity and other monotheistic religions. It applies to everyone- including satanists. If you do the research, it isn't that evil of a religion.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  4. Jerry

    Can we followers of Dionysus erect a giant phallus braced by a wine goblet and a pan flute?

    December 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I saw an add for Cialis. Perhaps that works as well as the wine and the flute.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • bridgette

      like that would go over well. maybe if it were also a fountain.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • bugz

        I enjoyed this comment thread very much, thank you!

        December 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  5. keb

    First the ten commandments , now satan , what's next ? Scientology can put up their symbol .

    December 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps the first 10 Amendments instead of all the religious nonsense.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  6. keb

    First the ten commandments , now satan , what's next ?

    December 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  7. George

    The people of Oklahoma will make it very time consuming and costly for the Satanists to pursue legal means of erecting their monument. Satan, I mean Santa, will be here soon to straighten everything out.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  8. john Mark

    OooH America how have you gone so low that you are now ashamed of The GOD of your founding Father's,you have so trusted in your technological advancment to safe you,but rest assured that no arm of fresh can't save,expect GOD that can save WHO you have deniel.Your days of visitation is at hand,all that you have put your trust on would fail you and you shall be make desolute.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Doris

      Many of the key founders of our law were Deist. Many of them refuted the divinity of Christ and the magic in the Bible. Their God was also the watchmaker God who didn't play an active role in their daily lives...

      "The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind." –John Adams

      December 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I've not yet been made desolute. Dinner was excellent. The bartender gave me a new cognac that I'm happy to recommend while we're waiting for Jesus. Kelt XO – very tasty.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • Doris

        Thanks, I'll make a note of that, Tom. I was just thinking I have not tried Cognac and soda before.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Oh, put the soda on the side for really good cognac.

          December 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Doris

          Ah – OK. Kind of like a sipping tequila versus one satisfactory for mixing.

          December 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
      • lol??

        If you weren't such a doubting tom tom you'd quit being a brandy dandy and switch to Scotch.

        December 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      john Mark: This nation was created by men who understood that people like you are the enemy of freedom. That is why they very deliberately separated church from state. You are free to worship as you will, just as those satanists are free to worship as they chose. Your American christian theocracy exists only in your traitorous little mind.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Damocles

      Silly me for trusting in medical advances to possibly save me. Leeches and hot irons to the soles of my feet to drive out the demons is obviously the better way.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  9. Khrime Milton

    Listen u idiots; God created the heavens and the earth and all in between. To him all shall return with a book of all u did in life. Then will a judgement take place. Whether u can handle it or not u will be judged...

    December 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      He has an actual book? Why does god need a book?

      December 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • Evangelos

        Well, these days, He uses the Holy iPad.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • something

        It's not just a book, it's a Mac Book.
        Steve Jobs hooked him up as penants for this he was God.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Jake from State Far

      If you are representative of Christian testimony, shove it. You suck at proselytizing.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
      • james

        what are you wearing, jake from state far?

        December 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • lol??

          Jake lost the M playin' the name game tune.

          December 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • adrifter

      Someone is going to write my biography? That's great.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • lol??

        That person had an unfortunate accident and the deal is off.

        December 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      where would christianity be without the empty proxy threats?

      December 10, 2013 at 3:34 am |
    • G to the T

      You are a poor spokesman for your god. Have you ever considered that you may be actually pushing people away from God, not "scaring them straight" as you seem to think.

      Should god hold me responsible for not believing when his professors were so awful in their technique?

      December 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  10. patti

    So what do these Satanist believe will happen to them when the die? Live in Paradise with Satan LoL. I guess they didn't read the bible on what happens to Satan and his followers. Satan will not rule Hell, He will be in in aguish just like everyone else who goes there. I rather be an atheist then one of these freaks.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • vinnie

      so I heard you really liked the Thompson gun I sent over, patti. good job.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • lol??

        Did you authorize that little DHS purchase and are they fully, naturally automatic??

        December 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • uhhh

      Woah there you quite obviously did not even bother to read the article. If you had, you'd know they don't literally believe that Satan is real...

      December 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
      • lol??

        Guile, huh, uhhh??

        December 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I wonder why you believe that anything at all happens after death. There isn't a single shred of evidence that any afterlife, god or devil or heaven or hell actually exist. There is no rational reason to believe that your ultimate fate will be anything other than the same death that faces satanists, atheists and everyone else.

      December 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
      • lol??

        Letters. some people received letters.

        December 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  11. Capone

    This is exactly why our founders wanted the separation of church and state.

    In a democracy, if you allow one religion to display its monument on public land, then you will have to allow any and all religions to display their monuments as well. And, even over 200 years ago, they understood that the most practical solution was to simply prohibit any religious symbolism of any kind on government property.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the "leaders" in 2013 lack the mental acuity that existed in the late 1700's.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  12. Heinrich

    I say let them do it. For true christians, it will serve as reminder of what we are up against. It would be nothing more than a representation of a being whose power has been totally stripped away by the sacrifice of one man.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  13. Time For You To Grow Up...

    This is inaccurate... It's the Satanists who support the Ten Commandments statue.

    December 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  14. neutral observer

    I'm not concerned either way, but this Lucien Greaves guy sounds to me to be totally deserving of a 2×4 delivered swiftly across the face.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Put it to a vote, just like the 10 commandments were

    December 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  16. Savior

    The 10 commandments are completely irrelevant around anything related to government. After all, thou shalt not lie? HA! Thou shalt not kill? HA! Though shalt not take the lord's name in vain? BWAHAHAHA! Thou shalt not commit adultery? In Oklahoma that includes barnyard animals.

    So again, tell me what is the importance of the 10 commandments when they are not even taken seriously.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  17. Bigboard

    Where's the Church Lady when we need her? "Could it be. . . . satan?" That said, if the Satanists prevail on this one, I have lived too long. Evil is as evil does

    December 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  18. bustthisnow

    How come some articles are written in this format?

    Does it make it any easier for people to read? I sometimes feel silly reading stories that are in spaced out blurps one sentence long.

    Then, for no apparent reason they throw another sentence in two spaces below.

    Is it how it would be read by a T.V. Anchor? I suppose.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  19. Jaco Bronkhorst

    Do not provoke GOD with this, not now not ever.

    In the past GOD has proven himself as the one and only GOD and many people have placed them above GOD wit a horrific outcome.

    December 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Observer

      Yep. Torturously killing people is no problem for God. Often, it doesn't matter if they are pregnant women or even children.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • Capital Letters

        makes it the truth!

        December 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • Observer

          Capital Letters,

          Yep. Not much of an endorsement for God and love, is it?

          December 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • lol??

          Capital punishment lives!!

          December 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • lol??

          Capital punishment lives!!

          December 9, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • lol??

          With a double dose of NSA vision!!

          December 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Jake from State Farm

          Good Christians love capital punishment. Makes em feel God-like.

          December 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • lol??

          State Farm?? Yer in gud hands with allSTATE!

          December 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • lol??

          Nobody gave those special sons of the Beast, the corps, rights but the Beasties!!

          December 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Martin

      And why should Almighty Odin care about some monument to a creature that don't even exist? Hi didn't destroy christian monuments, did he?

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

      your god is a punk

      thanks for playing

      December 10, 2013 at 3:35 am |
  20. Sandra Bartlett

    This doesn't surprise me. The world is going to just get worse but if you read the end of the Bible, WE WIN!!

    December 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • danny

      You didn't think they could keep you locked in with a lousy ending, did you?

      December 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Observer

      The world is ending.

      News from THOUSANDS of years ago.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      The giveaway at the end is the butler did it.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • Maddy

        In the library with the candelabra?

        December 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Now that's just stupid...

      no we laugh.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:11 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.