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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
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(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. Apple Bush

    While giving the commandments, God mentions that he is a “jealous” god. Jealousy is the fear of losing affection or position. In this part of the Bible God’s fear, anger, empty threats and emotional outbursts make him seem like a pathetic loser stalker instead of the almighty Creator. Maybe he should have started with creating himself some confidence or by uttering “let there be well-adjustedness.” That would have been good.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • AE

      Search "qannâ"

      December 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Translate it however you wish. It doesn't change anything.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • AE

          You can translate it your way or the other way that makes more sense.

          December 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
        • G to the T

          LOL... so it's a special form of Jealousy that only applies to Yahweh? That is too funny...

          December 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  2. There is a guide for that

    SCA Model Secular Policy Guide

    posted on December 11, 2013 01:08AM GMT

    The relationship between religion and government is consistently a subject of spirited discussion for all Americans, including elected officials. This guide addresses select issues relevant to separation of religion and government and is designed to assist legislators and policymakers at all levels and in all branches of government.

    On December 9th, the Secular Coaliton for America held briefings with the House of Representatives and the Senate to lobby for both to head the suggestions contained therein. Find out more about the visit here.

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/12/10/sca-model-secular-policy-guide?category=Politics#

    December 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Mary

      Why do Satanists want to remove the 10 commandments while having their own monument installed?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
      • There is a guide for that

        Because maybe mary had a little lamb and everywhere mary went the FLEAS were sure to follow !

        December 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • AE

        Did you read the article? No? Didn't think so.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • doobzz

        Yeah, definitely a poe.

        December 11, 2013 at 12:07 am |
  3. Mary

    Why do you turn blind eyes to the good things that Christians do?

    http://www.catholiccharities.org/about-us/about-us-how-we-can-help

    December 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Who are you talking to?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • Doris

        I think it only understands poetry, Apple. But don't get your hand too close feeding it.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • AE

      Why are you so concerned with people putting up a monument to satanism? What is it to you?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Czar Chasm

      What does being Christian have to do with people doing good works? Good works come from every religion, every non-religion and every corner of the world, even those without Christian influence. Good is subjective and the subjects performing and receiving these good works are humans, their religion is immaterial.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Philip Douglas

      Why do Christians turn a blind eye to the charities that are secular?

      American Red Cross
      Doctors Without Borders
      UNICEF
      KIVA
      Donor's Choose

      Because they think they OWN good works and charity.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
      • AE

        I can find you examples of Christians that donate and volunteer for those groups. Did you mean to say SOME Christians? It sounded like you imagine all Christians do that, which is nonsense.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • Philip Douglas

          First of all, I was answering Mary who said, "Why do you turn blind eyes to the good things that Christians do?"
          I was answering MARY, in the stupid way she posted.

          Can you follow a thread, or do you just want to flap your gums at anything to try and make a redundant point?

          December 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • AE

          Are those my only options to choose from?

          December 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  4. Apple Bush

    The Decalogue takes a strong stance on slavery, by insisting that humans that don’t belong to you should not be coveted, and should not work during the Sabbath- after all, slaves working on Sunday would be downright immoral.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    America is now largely dedicated to avoiding “keeping the Sabbath holy” in any way. I used to work retail and I can tell you this: Sunday is by far the busiest day of the week, every week, without fail.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  6. Dr. Sweet

    I believe in Satan and He is most certainly a god. Far more powerful than the Christian god I mean just look around. The Christian god lost the battle a long time ago thank goodness. What a buzz kill.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Philip Douglas

      I agree.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I wonder if I left out some plates of tungsten carbide if the One True would deign to write on them something that it wants us to know and remember.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    Catholics have to pretend Exodus 20 doesn’t really mean it when it says “no carved images”, because, well they have a lot as it were.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mary

      Why is it any concern of yours how people practice their religion?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        We are discussing the 10 commandants, are we not? That is my interest. Why do you keep trolling?

        December 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
      • Philip Douglas

        Why are you concerned with the monument I want to put up in OK, Mary? Why should you care about satanism?

        December 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    The First Amendment of the US Constitution is a requirement to break the First Commandment. Or, at least to create a society based on doing so. Cherishing the founding fathers and the Constitution means openly endorsing the right of every person to blatantly violate God’s numero uno law. Awkward, if you think the Godly Commandments are the moral basis of rightful behavior a la murder, lying and so on.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    There are not ten commandments.

    And there is no agreement on which ten of the many are “the” ten. The phrase “ten commandments” appears in Exodus 34 and in Deuteronomy 10, which is a reference but not a list. The strange thing is that the line about Moses writing on the (new) tablets “the ten commandments” is preceded by a list of totally different orders, such as “you shall keep the feast of the unleavened bread”. The familiar list is given earlier in Exodus 20, except that it is never there called “the Ten Commandments” and there is no mention of tablets until 11 chapters and 600-some commandments later. Also, Exodus 20 gives thirteen specific orders, not ten. The same list is repeated in Deuteronomy 5, yet again not called “Ten Commandments”.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  11. Mary

    I guess what i'm trying to ask is more "How" not why. How can a person like myself with a very low IQ understand the difference between the red horned devil Satan I learned about on my cartoon box and the statue these people want to install? Will this statue challenge me to a fiddle battle? Will this statue have red fiery eyes? Will its tail trip children and stab at them with its pointy spade? Enquiring small minds want to know!

    December 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It doesn't have to look like Satan to be a monument to Satan.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Mary

      Why are you impersonating me?
      Why are you threatened by my questions?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • Czar Chasm

        Please don't tell me you have never heard of me...

        December 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • yeah

      I call poe, because if it was Mary, and she were being honest, she would have said "really, really low IQ".

      Also, her posts are very short.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  12. Ungodly Discipline

    Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? For example, look though this small collection of Bible verses:

    •Deut 25:11-12
    •Genesis 38:8-10
    •Deut 21:18-21
    •Ex 35:2
    •Lev 20:13
    •Isaiah 13:13-16
    •Exodus 21:20-21
    •1 Tim 2:11-12
    •Col 3:22-23
    •Luke 14:26
    •Deut 22:13-21
    •Isaiah 40:8

    These verses feel like utter nonsense, don't they? We can find thousands of verses like these in the Bible.

    December 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Mary

      Why are you making a fallacy of logic? Why can't you do a better job of watching your premise?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I don't see a problem Mary. What is yours?

        December 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • AE

      Taken out of context – and if you don't read what it says before and after those verses – yes, they seem nonsensical. We can do that with all kinds of books.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
      • Steel

        How come your "god" can't communicate in a way that can't be taken out of context or misinterpreted? Seems ya got yerself a pretty poor excuse for a deity there.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • AE

          I don't know why, but God's ways are not always our ways. He chooses weak and foolish people and nations to carry out His will.

          "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

          December 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Steel

          AE, that is just duplicitous of you. You start off presenting what you claim are god's ways, and then you claim that you can't know those ways. Pathetic.

          December 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • AE

          I'm trying to discuss it, not insist I know it all.

          December 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        AE, is that me?

        December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • AE

          Q. What is the difference between an atheist troll and a Christian troll?

          December 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Yeah, ok AE.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    It does sound as if One True wanted those 10 commandments to endure. Robert pointed out that they were carved into stone. If they were meant to endure, where are those tablets?

    December 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      They were last mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35 about 600 bc. Well at least their container, the ark of the covenant, was. The ark contained Aaron's rod, a pot of manna, & the 10 commandments. It sure would cause a stir if the ark turned up today.

      In 2 Chronicles 36 the Babylonians destroyed the city & took all the treasure and most of the people. Here is the prophecy,Jeremiah 3:16
      And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

      There are theories that some of priest escaped with the ark and wound up in Ethiopia. The speculation gets wilder from there, the Templars found them, the Masons have them, and even that they were brought to America.

      December 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  14. Mary

    Why wouldn't people who do more good things be more special than those who don't?
    Of course they are.

    December 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Mary

      Why are there so few Satanist charities? Why are there so many more Christian charities, staffed with good people who do so many good things for people in need of food, clothing, shelter, etc.?

      December 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Because there are more Christians. You already asked that question.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
        • Mary

          Why are there more Christians?

          December 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Philip Douglas

          The same reason that most people born in Saudi Arabia are Muslim.
          You couldn't care less about the answers. You only care about being a stupid troll. You're succeeding.

          December 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Mary, you have no way of knowing that is true. You are simply making up things you want to be true.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        identical to the whole religion ... formed over 2000 years by people making up things they want to be true.

        December 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  15. Ungodly Discipline

    What is fair is fair. If you are allowed to erect some awful looking rocks with fake "commandments" on it from the bible, then EVERY other organized group or religion that wants to should be allowed to erect an equally large monument in the same location.

    December 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Mary

      Why?

      December 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
      • Czar Chasm

        Because you and your religion are not special and deserve no special treatment.

        December 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
      • Because

        fair is fair

        December 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Mary,
        The nothing cares not about your petty rocks or silly rules. Life is random and senseless. Why should you care what anybody believes or displays? None have meaning. All are turned to nothing.

        December 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Why don't you respond to me Mary?

          December 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
      • Philip Douglas

        Why not, Mary?

        December 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
        • Mary

          Why do you think that answering a question with the negative of the same question is a satisfactory answer?

          December 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Mary's mom

          Please forgive Mary, she can only ask questions, never answer them.

          December 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Why restrict it to groups? Individuals should be allowed to proclaim whatever it is that they live by on an enduring monument. Personally I would not be satisfied unless mine could be seen from orbit, but my wants are modest.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  16. Czar Chasm

    Why can't everyone agree good is better than evil? I mean, white bread is good, sourdough is evil! Brawny is good, Bounty is evil! Hot soup is good, gazpacho is evil! Why can't everyone just be more like me! Whaaah Whaaaah Whaaaah!!!

    December 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Doris

      You leave my Bounty alone! lol. I like sourdough, but it doesn't like me. And I'm very picky about gazpacho. It seems like one out of ten places that serve it is good. I've never tried to make it.

      December 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  17. Mary

    Why do supposedly logical people make fallacies of logic?

    December 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Philip Douglas

      Why do you think your rights trump mine?

      December 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Czar Chasm

      Why do you suppose you are being even the slightest bit logical?

      December 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  18. Topher

    If NAMBLA wants to erect a statue ... should they be able to?

    December 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Philip Douglas

      Is there a church of NAMBLA?

      December 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
      • Dandintac

        It's called the Catholic Church, judging by the way they have been behaving.

        December 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Czar Chasm

      How erect would they make it?

      December 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
      • Alien Orifice

        It would have to be approved by the pope.

        December 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • Doris

          That's for sure – it at least has to fit under one of those hats.

          December 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
        • Czar Chasm

          Well all the past Popes were members, this new one may just buck tradition and not sign up with them so they will have to get approval from some of their other supporters like maybe the republican congress.

          December 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Topher, no one cares about your little church and it's silly rocks.

      December 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  19. Alien Orifice

    There is a thing neither dark nor light;

    The nothing;

    The beginning and the end;

    This is your womb and your tomb;

    Both small and large;

    Both kind and evil;

    This is the reality you search for but will never find;

    For the nothing does not exist;

    And yet it is all that exists.

    December 10, 2013 at 7:35 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.