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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. john lennox

    God created humor and he thinks your funny sometimes

    December 10, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      you're*

      Evidently God created bad grammar as well........

      December 10, 2013 at 6:20 am |
      • john lennox

        What are you the grammar queen?

        December 10, 2013 at 6:32 am |
        • tallulah13

          Grammar and correct word usage are important. They allow those who are reading your words to understand your intent. Sloppy grammar is detrimental to effective communication.

          December 10, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • jimmy

          Dont worry bout athiests, john. There not to bright either.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Keith

          Yeah like that darned atheist Stephen Hawking. He's just not very bright, is he?

          December 10, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  2. mitch regal

    Is Obama posing for this statue?

    December 10, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      unfortunately, he'll probably pose with some dead jesus on a stick statue...

      December 10, 2013 at 5:38 am |
      • saggyroy

        ...or one of the talking snakes, oops, I mean congressman.

        December 10, 2013 at 6:00 am |
      • john lennox

        It hurts my feelings when you say mean things like that

        December 10, 2013 at 6:03 am |
  3. Scott

    If christian deny them the right to place it, they are no better than the one who want to deny them the right to put up the !0 commandments. Get over it.

    December 10, 2013 at 5:25 am |
  4. Mossback

    Let them have their monument. Hell, I'll even pose.

    December 10, 2013 at 5:24 am |
  5. selam

    excuse me since when satan is a fun for children. satan only kills and destroys that is his character

    December 10, 2013 at 3:54 am |
    • truthprevails1

      So does the christian god.

      December 10, 2013 at 4:13 am |
    • sam

      Uh oh someone hasn't read the bible!

      December 10, 2013 at 4:29 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      You might want to check your Bible again. Satan doesn't kill a single person yet God in a jealous rage is the cause of many many deaths.

      December 10, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  6. selam

    since when Satan is a fun for children. Satan only kills and destroys

    December 10, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • G to the T

      Can you provide and example Satan killing someone in the bible or are you just making a huge assumption?

      December 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  7. devin

    Just curios, what type of psychosis makes an individual wake up in the morning and say, " Hmm, atheism, now there's an ideology I think I would like to embrace. Oh, did I say atheism? I meant satanism.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • sam stone

      just curious, what kind of psychosis is necessary to believe in a life after death?

      December 10, 2013 at 3:55 am |
      • devin

        It's reality, not psychosis.

        December 10, 2013 at 4:19 am |
        • truthprevails1

          No it may be reality in your mind but in the REAL world where evidence is cared about, it is not.

          December 10, 2013 at 4:23 am |
        • sam stone

          "it's reality, not psychosis" is precisely what you would expect a psychotic to say

          December 10, 2013 at 5:39 am |
      • devin

        truth

        Are you referring to that "real world" in which 98 % of the population believe in a God and afterlife, and where 2% don't ? Is that the "real world:\" you're referring to?

        December 10, 2013 at 4:37 am |
        • truthprevails1

          2.8 billion christians does not work out to 98%, I think you need to go back to school and just because the majority believes something does not make it true.

          December 10, 2013 at 4:46 am |
        • Keith

          It's a mental condition referred to as intelligence.

          December 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          devin
          The number of people who believe any given thing has no bearing on the validity of the belief.

          Yours is a moot point.

          December 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  8. steve

    I want to see a statue of a human foot with a crow wearing a pirate hat sitting on it, flanked by 2 seals wielding sabers and dancing sunglass wearing potatoes around it. A single banner will grace the statue and it will read " Mother ". I want it next to the 10 commandment thing and the soon to be satan statue.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • devin

      I don't see any reason that wouldn't work.

      December 10, 2013 at 3:53 am |
  9. Doman

    This is the most ludicrous thing i've heared this year lol... did 'lil 'ol greavy forget to take his medicine... ?

    December 10, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • wth

      The gov't must treat all religious beliefs equally. There is nothing ludicrous about this case.

      December 10, 2013 at 3:56 am |
  10. Mikey

    I like being atheist. So much less of a crap to give about in debates like this. Religious debates go quickly, too!

    I believe in separation of church and state. No religion on public properties. Why is this so darn hard for people to understand? Remove the 10 commandments, no religious or spiritual structures or things of the sort. Maybe a non-religious code of ethics could be posted, but then again if someone needs to read ethical and moral codes as a compass, they probably aren't the kind to follow them to begin with. My code of ethics? Be a good person to yourself and others... It's really that easy.

    Remember when the atheists got together and started their religious war? Neither do we...

    December 10, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • sam

      >>but then again if someone needs to read ethical and moral codes as a compass, they probably aren't the kind to follow them to begin with. My code of ethics? Be a good person to yourself and others... It's really that easy.<<

      Common sense is no longer common. Seems like people react better to threats, or promises of some reward. Like a little kid at the dentist.

      December 10, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • sandvichmancer

      I recall the atheists and Catholics spending millions on billboards against each other in New York, money that could have gone towards something constructive. Hell, ANYTHING constructive.
      Atheism is a belief. It's a belief in the lack of something, and with all belief there's morons who take it way too far. The problem isn't with religion or a lack of, it's people who label themselves then go on the offensive against anyone who that label does not pertain to.

      Agnostic is the way to go. No faith or belief at all, there may be something and there may not be. "You may be right, he may be right, who knows (and please talk to each other instead of me). "

      December 10, 2013 at 3:46 am |
      • sam stone

        atheism is not a belief in the lack of something

        is is simply a disbelief in god(s)

        December 10, 2013 at 3:57 am |
      • sam stone

        agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. nor are agnosticism and christianity. one deals with the knowledge, the other with belief

        December 10, 2013 at 3:59 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        "I recall the atheists and Catholics spending millions on billboards against each other in New York, money that could have gone towards something constructive. Hell, ANYTHING constructive."

        It's practically impossible to throw a rock without hitting a church or some other religious message, media or icon. Atheist organizations view this as a huge fraud perpetuated on the masses. The few examples of atheist backlash, such as billboard campaigns, are designed to get people to think for themselves rather than blindly following the dictates and doctrine of immensely powerful religious organizations.

        December 10, 2013 at 5:32 am |
      • laughing @lol??

        @sandv: Light bulb burn out, or is just that dim?

        December 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  11. hearties

    There's a lot of room in the back left over there for Jesus's sermon on the mount.

    December 10, 2013 at 2:37 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    It's simple...we are a theocratic society, just ask God what it wants us to do. Then the majority will tell us and, by God, that's what we'll have to do.

    December 10, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  13. fedupwithla

    Well, isn't that special? Just in time for Christmas, too!

    December 10, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • sam

      You mean the solstice that christians appropriated?

      December 10, 2013 at 2:22 am |
      • G to the T

        Anybody remember "Yule Tide"?

        December 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  14. hearties

    You have to admit, God's words are looking pretty good right there.

    December 10, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • sam

      So sweet and childlike that you think the words came from some deity. Bless your heart!

      December 10, 2013 at 2:17 am |
  15. EVIL BOSS

    I AM THE BOSS !! I WILL ERECTED MINE !! HUAHAHAHHA..

    December 10, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  16. Mark

    It's simple....we are a democratic society, just take a vote of the American people and see if it wins a majority to place it there. I DIDN'T THINK SO!!!

    December 10, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Observer

      Mark,

      Let's take a vote for gay rights and pay equality for women too. Maybe you won't like the results.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:34 am |
      • cygnusmajor

        Already done on gay marriage rights. Every time it has been put to the American public, they sadly voted it down. Sometimes we should move forward without the tyranny of the majority.

        December 10, 2013 at 1:58 am |
        • sam

          Agreed. If the majority is too dumb to allow equality, they'll be helped into modern times forcibly.

          December 10, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • sam

      The majority, huh? I don't think so. The majority at this point has its head up the ass of some hippie liberal rabbi that lived more than 2000 years ago. Luckily they won't have majority for too much longer; the BS is dying out year by year.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:36 am |
      • Mark

        Too bad...all the good on earth dies out right with it!

        December 10, 2013 at 1:46 am |
        • sam

          You are a real comedian! I guess it depends on how you define 'good', huh?

          Have some more chik-fil-a and enjoy those delusions.

          December 10, 2013 at 1:48 am |
        • Observer

          Mark

          "Too bad...all the good on earth dies out right with it!"

          Are you delusional enough to claim that there is no good unless it involves Christians?

          December 10, 2013 at 1:49 am |
        • tallulah13

          Yes. Mark is delusional. He is also arrogant and vain. I wonder if he learned these "morals" in his church.

          December 10, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • sam

      ps, Mark – it's a democratic republic. Read a book.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • tallulah13

      The United States is a republic and our rights are clearly outlined in our Constitution. What Mark proposes is unconstitutional and thus illegal. So much for Mark's "morals".

      December 10, 2013 at 1:57 am |
  17. sam

    This is completely hilarious.

    December 10, 2013 at 1:28 am |
  18. NYreader

    I'm a Christian, I'd rather see yours go up, than send ours come down!

    December 10, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • sam

      It'll all come down sooner or later, as it should. No one's going to allow favortism for one religion.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Mike

      It really doesn't matter anyway. Because 95% or more of the people don't follow all of the commandments. That includes so called Christian's who are almighty hypocrites.

      December 10, 2013 at 2:26 am |
      • sam

        It ultimately comes down to whatever's convenient. Sad but true.

        December 10, 2013 at 2:48 am |
  19. Anonymous

    No need to even bring religion into it to argue this one down.

    Anyone think the Satanic commandment of "do what thou wilt" might just conflict a little bit with the American legal system?

    December 10, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • Gearoid

      Same with killing adulterers and dozens of other things in the Bible. That hasn't disqualified them.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • Observer

      Anonymous,

      Please read a story before commenting next time.

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

      December 10, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • sam

      So? The ten commandments were ripped off from earlier sources. What difference does it make?

      December 10, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • Mikey

      Honestly, at this point, isn't our legal system doing that already?

      December 10, 2013 at 2:43 am |
  20. Graeme from Ottawa

    religious is religious, . Buddha, Jesus, Satan,leprechauns, whatever

    December 10, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • Russ

      @ Graeme: somehow, this commercial seemed right up your alley...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKqJjTIZgO8

      December 10, 2013 at 1:21 am |
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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.