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. Wise acre

    If they don't believe Satan exists, why doesn't the empty space serve as a commemorative as it is?

    December 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Jasmine

      Because delusion is delusion, and protected equally under the Constitution.

      December 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Because the ideals exist and that is what they want to build a monument to.

      December 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
      • lol??

        They think Jesus was deluded. They could put a crucifix there reminding people what they would do if they could.

        December 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  2. Robert Brown

    Tom asked,
    “Where are the Ten Commandments now?”

    They were last mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35, about 600 BC. Well at least their container was, the Ark of the Covenant. 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. In Ezra, we read where they were allowed to return and rebuild the temple. A list of treasure was returned, the ark wasn’t among the returned items. It had disappeared.

    Here is the prophecy concerning the Ark from 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 priests escaped with the Ark and wound up in Ethiopia and a related prophesy in Isaiah. The speculation gets wilder from there, the Templars found it, the Masons have it, and even that it was brought to America.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Some Antics

      "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.”

      So with the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who visit one of the several supposed locations of the ark every year, would that not show the prophecy above to be blatantly false as it is obviously coming "to mind" for many? I am sure you excuse away the "neither shall they visit it" part by saying the locations visited must not be the real location of the ark, but it certainly is coming to mind regardless of whther they know where it is.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        What are you refering to, I'm not aware of these supposed locations.

        December 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's a pity Robert. We might otherwise get a look at your God's handwriting.

      December 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
      • oo oo

        He sees yours, beloved

        December 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  3. K-switch

    Satanists remind me of goth kids.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Some Antics

      Likely because you don't know any and have the same tired cliche of Robert Smith from the Cure image in your head when you think "Satanist"...

      December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • Akira

        Robert Smith certainly embraces that image all of these years later....even though he says he disdains the "Goth" image...

        December 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • K-switch

      I only know what i've read in Anton Levay's book.

      December 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I know three Satanists. Two are business men, one is a lawyer.

      All three are upstanding, respected members of the community in which they live. None are goth. Nor are the kids (mid 30s, early 40s).

      December 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • K-switch

        I wasn't really refering to appearance, more so engaging in something that is almost certain to be considered controversial and garner attention.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          I don't think any of them are Satanists to garner attention.

          The only reason I know the lawyer is one is that I am good friends with her boyfriend.

          Of the other two, one I met in an online discussion forum where we discussed spirituality and religion and the other, I asked about a very subtle ring he was wearing.

          I had to ask or meet them in a place where we were discussing religion to know that they were Satanists.

          December 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          And being goth isn't solely about appearance, nor is it necessarily for "attention" garnering.

          It's self expression, and aligning oneself with a peer group.

          Sure, some folks do it for the "freak factor" but they are also the ones who grow out of it by their early 20s.

          December 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • Saraswati

        The ones I'e known were all between 18 and 30, anout 80% male and 95% white. Many from a couple of decades ago would probably call themselves wiccans today. The remainder are 100% white males, mostly from Christian backgrounds. and still in a rebel phase. That said, I appreciate their work on this issue. Some times a rebel phase is a powerful force.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  4. Robert Brown

    What is going on? Someone deleted all of Mary's questions.

    December 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Did you feel that any of them were valid questions ? Did you get any inkling that she was truly interested in answers ?

      December 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        I see what you mean.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • oo oo

        I c what u mean. U really should talk, Midwest. U r quite the role model.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • K-switch

      I'd say you answered your own question Bob.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      When she posted that she was just posting to be annoying the editors kicked her butt off of the blog. Do you think that they shouldn't have, why? She was adding nothing.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        I was wondering if she didn't do it herself.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • oo oo

        Yea. Prince charming adds a lot to the discussion.

        December 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      mary is a troll, much like faith/hari/bethany, etc

      best to hope they get the hint and suck on a 12 gauge

      December 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • Mary

        If I said something like that, you would say "Oh, that's so Christ-like, you hypocrite!" but when you do it, it's all fine and dandy.

        December 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • sam stone

          suck a 12 gauge, troll

          December 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • sam son of

          little sammy is so insecure. PRISON for u babe. your heroine, u, aka dorothy, r some scholar and author. sold what 3 copies so far thru your own computer program. poor widdle thammie

          December 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  5. AverageJoe76

    I feel why they want to put up their 'Ten Commandments of the Evil One" .... or whatever.... but it seems dumb to use the devil as a mascot for your cause. Especially, if you're actually trying to prove a valid point to folks that are religious. You've basically placed a sign on yourself, "Don't listen to a word I say, I'm nuts"

    December 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • niknak

      You believers don't see the joke, they are using this thing called satire.
      They are like the Flat Earth Society, making fun of themselves and religion at the same time.
      But if you Xtians are allowed to put up Xtian symbols on state/government grounds, then all religions, including the Satanists, can put up symbols too.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Joe is not a believer

        December 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • niknak

          Sorry Joe.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • AverageJoe76

          It's cool, niknak.

          I just think they'd be better off putting up anything besides Satan. Any conversation gets immediately shutdown in their heads (if it hadn't happened already once you question god). Satan is such an adversary to them, that even pretending is problematic, AND... possibly adds more believers because they'll think these 'Satanist' are a real cult.

          Trust me, there's nothing they think is MORE real than an actual world-dominating organization of Satan worshippers. And this stunt isn't helping... anyone.

          December 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Some Antics

      If 70% of Americans believed in Harry Potter and were trying to push intelligent wizard design in public schools and wanted to erect a statue of Godric Gryffindor in front of our court houses, would it be so strange if a group that did not believe in any of it chose Voldemort as their mascot?

      December 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • AverageJoe76

        I get what you're saying, but the 'devil-concept' is a problem. Even if you make complete sense, but it goes against the Bible, "it's the devil trying to confuse you". So using the devil, as a way to make a point with them, is counter-productive to secular thinking being the way to go.

        December 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  6. lol?? is a sick joke

    Why bother with this fool and this mary? Trolls die, like gods, if you don't feed them.

    December 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Troll toll

      Trolls gotta eat!!

      December 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Tin Foil Hat

    Mary! Where are you? You forgot to put me on this morning, how will the customers recognize their favorite Wallmart greeter without her favorite hat on?

    December 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Watcher On The Wall

    Then the Christians can erect a statue of Jesus with his heel above satan's head ready to crush it!

    December 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • igaftr

      Funny, then the satanist will build an even bigger one, then the counter....back and forth until there are satues and monuments to imaginary beings covering everything.

      Why don't we just get rid of the silly monuments on govt property?

      December 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • woooWooooWoooWooo

        PC Police!

        December 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • Tom

        What's so holy about government property that it shouldnt have holy monuments on it?
        What makes it different from other property?

        December 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          First, nothing is holy. Second, religious monuments and displays do not belong on govt property. Simply inappropriate.

          Is your faith that weak that you need reminders everywhere?

          December 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • niknak

          Yes, their faith is that weak that they need reminders of it, and more importantly, they need everyone else to go along with it to validate that what they believe in is real.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Ben

          I see it as more like dogs placing their scent on everything, marking their territory, and daring anyone to challenge them. Of course, back in the old days when they had vastly more influence, they didn't need to be do crude, which is indication right there that they feel their territory threatened.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Here is why believers spread the gospel, Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

          December 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          @Ben – funny, but apropos, analogy...

          December 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • niknak

          Whos gospel BobBrownStreak?
          There seems to be so many gospels to choose from.....

          December 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          1 Corinthians 15

          3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

          4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

          December 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Madtown

          Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature
          Are you expected to reach more primitive societies, living in hard to find areas? How would you even go about this, we wouldn't even know where to start looking for some people who've never heard the gospel. Why wouldn't God just do it? He knows where they are.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          So you are told to go out and spread propoganda because your book of propoganda says to.
          That is part of the self-affirming nature of the propoganda.

          It is still highly inappropriate for it to be on govt property.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • sam stone

          robert: do you think you do more good than harm to the "word of god"?

          folks like you, and larry of arabia and particularly gopher delude yourselves into thinking people really want to hear your preaching

          learn to argue a point logically then come back

          you consisently misrepresent why atheists believe what they believe

          i don't know if you are being dishonest, or you are just that dense

          in any case, you and those mentioned above, along with several others, make christians look like morons

          December 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Hey Sam,

          Would it also be incorrect to say that some atheists have a problem with freewill & an all knowing God.

          December 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Ben

          Robert Brown
          Which "scriptures" was he referring to?

          December 12, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • Robert Brown

          He was refering to the gospels Ben.

          December 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • bostontola

      Exodus 20:3-6

      “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

      December 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Watcher On The Wall

      Then the God of Heaven will open up the earth and swallow all you idols up. Now then!

      December 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • bostontola

        The statue of Jesus you want to put up is an idol, people are not idols.

        December 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • niknak

          Then why to they have American Idol, Botswana?

          December 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Let us all hold our collective breath waiting for your god to smite something...

        December 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Ben

      It's Mary who does that, crushing the symbolic snake under her heel on statuary around the world. I wonder if this burg welcomes Catholic iconography equally?

      December 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Ben

        The Virgin Mary, not the troll Mary, in case that wasn't clear.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  9. bostontola

    On this page alone, you asked over 25 questions and only answered 1 out of over 30 questions posed from someone else.

    Does that square up with your sense of common courtesy?

    December 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Surely she'll run out of ammo soon.

      December 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • igaftr

        but don't call him surely

        December 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          picked the wrong day to quit________.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Positron

      I don't think Mary is here for civil conversation or polite debate.

      December 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • niknak

        Mary is not even female, but some 25 year old punk still living in his grandfolks garage.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  10. Philip Eugene Douglas, CS, CO

    "Why attack something that is not a threat?" ~


    December 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Ben

      God is no threat, but his followers have definitely proven to be.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • niknak

        That is what I always say Benny the Bull, "Jeebus, save me from your followers...."

        December 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Sea Otter (Leader Allied Atheist Alliance)

    "What a great day for Canadians everywhere! The Winnipeg drummers, playing the "March of 1000 Farts"...as is traditional for the Canadian Royal Family."

    "People in attendance, now gently tossing Cap'n Crunch as the prince passes by...as of course is tradition."

    "Ah, here she comes! Yes, there she is! The aboot-to-be princess of Canada. Isn't she ravishing? So pure of heart, so strong in body, so hot in the face....She is indeed the living symbol of our greatly country. My God, she's beautiful."

    December 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Philip Eugene Douglas, CS, CO

      I like South Park. I like Kenny. He dies in almost every episode and resurrected by the next episode. Kind of a fitting tribute to Our Lord, Jesus. Or something.

      December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I thought for sure that Doc V would be the first to respond... lol

        December 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  12. bostontola

    Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder characterized by a difficulty in recognizing reality, regulating emotional responses, and thinking in a clear and logical manner.

    The relationship between religion and schizophrenia is of particular interest to psychologists because of the similarities between religious experiences and psychotic episodes; religious experiences often involve auditory and/or visual hallucinations, and those with schizophrenia commonly report similar hallucinations, along with a variety of delusions and faulty beliefs.

    In a study of patients with schizophrenia that had been previously admitted to a hospital, 24% had had religious delusions. This has led some researchers to question whether schizophrenia leads an individual to become more religious, or if intense religiosity leads to schizophrenia.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study http://www.philly.com/philly/health/132456883.html

      December 11, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Evolution


      December 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • What is wrong with me?

      ...demonizing schizophrenics
      so that when people look at me, they don't see a human being....
      F.Ck YOU!

      December 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  13. tallulah13

    Why do trolls find being inane so fascinating?

    December 11, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  14. AntiMarry

    Why not?

    December 11, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  15. Sol Invictus

    Ecce venit BUTIO!

    December 11, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  16. ME II

    Why? Why? Why?

    How old are you? 2?

    December 11, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  17. tallulah13

    No one expects christians to be super human. However, it is reasonable to expect them to be honest. You can't lie and claim you are morally superior in the same breath without expecting people to notice and comment.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Whoops. Wrong spot. Oh well. Troll Mary can figure this out on his/her own.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Joey

        To think that Mary is capable of figuring out something on his or her own takes a lot of faith.

        December 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  18. AverageJoe76

    Their argument is a practical argument. Makes sense. But Satan is stupid, literally or realistically.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • ME II


      December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  19. tallulah13

    Why do I get the impression that Mary is either a troll or a student who didn't study for the mid-term in Civics class and now needs answers, fast?

    December 11, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Madtown

      Troll, in need of lots of attention.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  20. AverageJoe76

    This is hilarious. I didn't know Satanist were such comedians.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Satan created music, dancing and comedy... just ask a southern baptist

      December 11, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • AverageJoe76

        Yeah, Satan made everything we like. And of course, that's 'evil'.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:54 am |
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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.