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. greg moore

    i say let them have a statue of their own they are a legit religion, BUT not next to the 10 commandments, im not a christian nor religious but i feel thats a bit much

    December 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Separation of church and state

    Nuff said.

    December 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  3. Dorian3333

    Why is this article even on this page? Really? Satan? This is news? You can find a person to say anything in the world today if it will get their name in print. Do we not have people at these "news" organizations that actually understand journalism? That ought to be the next article....WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO AMERICAN JOURNALISM? They could use this story as the example of what is screwed up around here.

    December 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  4. CitizenKK

    They also want ice in hell....not going to happen.

    December 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  5. sly

    Satan ... Santa ... just a typo. Same difference. What's everyone got againest Satan? I've never seen the dude doin' anything wrong... Stereotypes ...

    December 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • SUE

      America has become such a great place....it's almost embarrassing. Also, displaying the 10 commandments is not endorsing a religion. These are 10 to do/not do that any deceit person should try to live by....even satan worshiper.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Snow

        They why call them "Ten commendments".. which is a proper name of do's/don'ts from your "book claimed to be from god, but written by human"..

        if it walks like a duck... quacks like a duck..

        December 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Mike

          You don't get what "from God" means do you? It was written down by man, but it's divine intervention, God told them what to write. You're sounding like everything that is written by man, is false. Well newsflash, every book is written down by man. Does that mean all books are fake?

          From what I've read, don't most Satanists believe that Satan isn't even real, but more of an idea? Unlike people who believe in God, we believe God is a real living being, most Satanists believe Satan is an idea, and not a physical, literal being...

          December 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Lew

          Written by a human but relayed by a God. The Bible is very clear, and it doesn't dispute this in any version of the books written. So be on your way.

          December 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Snow

          so, let me get it straight.. it is a book written by man, but with god's intervention – and you believe it because it is written in the same book that it is all true and written by god's intervention.. Wow.. undisputable logic... but, um, well, ah, can you prove that the guy who wrote it did not make it up?

          By your logic, If I write a book and I put it in that book that god guided me as I wrote it, would you believe it?

          December 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • DH

        AMEN SUE. I'll never ever ever understand the fight to take Ten Commandments down, like if we dont it's going to lead to an authoritarian Christian only society and we'll revert back to the middle ages. Does anyone with common sense actually believe that would happen?? REALLY??? Come on man. Leave some good up dont take everything down claiming separation of C and S. Grow up and live your life and leave our historical statues and monuments alone!

        December 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Water Duranty

      Merry CHRISTmas!

      December 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Matt

    It is so silly to see so many comments from people who believe that Satanists exist. There is no such thing as an actual Satanist. People claiming to be Satanists always turn out to be claiming it ironically because it is a funny way to prove a point (and you have to admit that Grieves comments are funny). The only people who believe that Satanists exist are people who believe that faith is a good thing.

    I have never met an actual Satanist and neither have any of you. If someone told you they worshiped Satan and you believe it, you got duped. If you heard about a person who worshiped Satan through someone else then that person and you were both duped.

    December 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • some dude

      Only partially true. There are always some wacko's who have convinced themselves they worship a being known as Satan (or similar).

      In real terms, there is a group of atheists who follow the philosophical teachings of Anton LaVey. They are known as satanists but use Satan as a metaphor rather then an actual being.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  7. batteryinme

    Murders attributed to an obviously white supreme being in the bible...33,041,220 people. Murders attributed to the bringer of light........10. HUH?

    December 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  8. batteryinme

    2013.....2013....2013......2013.....if I say it enough maybe I will wake up one day to see people actually acting like it. It is all made up nonsense people........get over your angels and demons.....pretty please!!!?!?!

    December 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  9. John

    The people should have an opinion! Let the Oklahomans decide what THEY want. Let them decide if they want a statue of Satan for their children to "play" on.

    December 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Consti.tutional rights are not up to a vote.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  10. John

    "We want kids to see that Satanism is where the fun is." I suppose fire, pitchforks, and eternal damnation are "fun" these days.

    December 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • David

      Considering Christianity is the only group to believe in this devil, then Satanism is actually Christian. Why not have it beside the Ten Commandments? Satan is just as Christian as they are. if you're educated, that is.

      December 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Water Duranty


        December 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm |


    December 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Hawk-I

      YOUR world is falling apart around you. The REAL world is carrying on and progressing as per usual.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • UncleM

      YOUR world is imaginary.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  12. checi

    About 10 years ago I worked in an Air Traffic facility in Florida that one day posted announcements around the building that prayer circle meetings would be held in the facility break room every afternoon just after lunch. I was not going to try to stop them because the people were nice and I liked them but this was a government building. So I quietly went to the facility manager (who was a black baptist minister) and told him that if he allowed these prayer meetings, that anyone who declared a religion would be able to demand equal access. He thought that would be okay if Jewish or Muslim people also wanted to pray so I asked him, "What if it's a group you don't like, like Satanists?" He looked panicked. They believe in that stuff and he suddenly decided that prayer meetings might invite Satanists to demand a meeting time during the dayshift. He called the whole thing off. They are not afraid of Zeus or Spaghetti Monsters. They are afraid of Satan. So here it is now in the news. Just like I said it would happen.

    December 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  13. Fox

    If people were any more thinned skinned, we'd have reservoir tips on our heads.

    December 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  14. srcactus

    You cannot expect to move on to your neighbors property and into your neighbors house and by the same logic you must find your own property and erect your own statue. You will not find happiness by requiring that someone else must surrender theirs!

    December 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Peter

      Government property belongs to everyone, so if they put up a statue for one religious group then they should allow space for every group that wants to put up a monument. If that is not o.k. with you then don't put up a monument in the first place.

      December 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  15. R

    I say let them have their demon statue as long as they have a statue of Phil Robertson from DD shooting him with a shotgun that has a rosary wrapped around the barrel. After all it did they say they wanted a statue of satan but didn't say anything about how it is portrayed.

    December 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Peter

      Cool, can the satanists make a statue of god drowning a pregnant woman, since he did that thousands of times over in the flood?

      December 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  16. John N Florida

    The Founders already KNEW what the modern day zealots can NOT seem to figure out:

    When you break down the WALL, EVERYBODY is allowed IN!
    You don't GET to pick and CHOOSE.
    You MADE your choice.
    You have 2 options:

    REVERSE your original decision OR

    Let EVERYBODY have equal access.

    December 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  17. anonymous

    Ideally, government will not establish any religion, including the religion of the Ten Commandments. If Oklahoma insists on mixing church and state, then the following monument should be placed next to the Ten Commandments monument:

    The Ten Commandments for Atheists
    1. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
    2. Be true to yourself.
    3. Respect others and their beliefs.
    4. Help those in need.
    5. Be truthful, civil, fair, and humble.
    6. Differentiate reason and emotion.
    7. Strive to be inclusive.
    8. Be trustworthy and responsible.
    9. Address and solve problems.
    10. Dream big, work hard, play.

    December 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • App

      Christians' Ten Commandments is fully enough.. we don't need any others commandments anymore.

      December 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Carl

    It is time we stopped depending on governmental protection of Christianity, and took up the cause on a personal basis.

    December 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Barbara

      If your god and your Christ are all-powerful, why do they need anyone's protection?

      December 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  19. SteveInMN

    These guys are TOO funny!

    God Bless 'em!

    December 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  20. Mike Denney

    Where are random disillusioned snipers when we need 'em?

    December 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • James

      There are those good christian values! Jesus would be proud.

      December 13, 2013 at 1:14 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.