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. god Ammit

    Well, I guess sooner or later the statue will be all "Set". get it? "Set"....oh god Ammit

    January 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  2. codenine75a

    I like that about the church of Satan. I love statues. Take this. Was a mason satanic because they constructed idols? I wonder if that was a factor of the fall of Rome because they proved that statues were satanic. I guess most artwork is satanic too. What is the world coming to when a person cannot pull visions from hell and manufacture a concrete piece of artwork.

    January 2, 2014 at 7:54 am |
    • god Ammit

      The statue is just an idea for the moment, so far nothing is Set in stone.

      January 3, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
  3. Why is it?

    Every time I see the word "Satan" I always have to do a double take because I think it says "Stalin".

    December 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      Or Santa.

      December 28, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • ogre12

        because you know no better..that is obvious.

        January 5, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
  4. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    I want Weeping Angel statues...


    December 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Head scratcher

      I love those

      December 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  5. omnipotent one

    the 10 commandments does not belong in any government building state or federal, I want an atheist statue next to the Satanist statue

    December 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Watcher in the Water

      I like the agnostic statue that they already have next to it, it might be there it might not it depends on what dimension we're talking bout and if reality as we know it actually exists.

      December 22, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Homer10

      Oh, hay now, you can't forget the Jews, Hindues, Muslims, Buddists, and let's not forget the church of the pious pizza based in a maximum security prison. Let's see maybe we need some statues from the Mormons, Hare Chrishnia, Children of God, Hezbola, Al Qaeda, The Taliban, ........ Uh oh, there's no more space left for any more statues. Who's going to have to be left out?

      December 31, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Mark

        That's why the government needs to stay out of the religion business. Courthouses represent all of us in this society. The government does need to take sides in showing favoritism of one religion over another. I have no problem with that statue being displayed on private property, but it has no business on public land.

        January 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Ed

      An atheist statue, by definition, would not exist.

      January 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  6. Be my nightmare

    Three am and I am awake
    With visions of severed fingertips
    And stone grey eyes that accuse me
    Though I've done nothing wrong
    Black and white lettering spinning in reverse
    Flashing lights and spinning things
    The taste of copper
    You'd hit me if you could
    But you are just a dream
    And the alarm will go off soon

    December 21, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • REM

      Life is bigger
      It's bigger than you and you are not me
      The lengths that I will go to
      The distance in your eyes
      Oh no, I've said too much
      I set it up

      That's me in the corner
      That's me in the spotlight
      Losing my religion
      Trying to keep up with you
      And I don't know if I can do it
      Oh no, I've said too much

      I haven't said enough
      I thought that I heard you laughing
      I thought that I heard you sing
      I think, I thought, I saw you try

      Every whisper
      Of every waking hour I'm choosing my confessions
      Trying to keep an eye on you
      Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
      Oh no, I've said too much
      I set it up

      Consider this
      Consider this the hint of the century
      Consider this
      The slip that brought me to my knees failed
      What if all these fantasies
      Come flailing around

      Now I've said too much
      I thought that I heard you laughing
      I thought that I heard you sing
      I think, I thought, I saw you try

      That was just a dream
      That was just a dream

      December 29, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  7. What if

    What if a person spends their life helping the sick and the poor. What if that same person believes in equal rights for all people regardless of race, gender, orientation and even religion. What if that person felt their only reason for being alive was to help others. But what if that same person believed Satan not only existed but was absolutely devout in their feelings for the invisible guy? How would you view that person if you didn't happen to like the shape of their invisible friend, or maybe didn't like that they had an imaginary friend? Would it be up to you to dictate their imagination?

    December 19, 2013 at 6:28 am |
    • franklovesfl

      Still won't have the historical connection to our legal system that the 10 commandments have.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        You do realize that the first amendment is in direct conflict with the first commandment and only three of the ten commandments are considered crimes and then only in certain cases (killing, stealing, lying), or have specific exceptions.

        December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • Willie

        Also you do realize most of the founding fathers where against organized religion... Jefferson went as far as to write his own version of the bible. Washington stated that Christianity was a cancer he hopes would never take hold in the US.

        December 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Now that's just stupid...

      I would ask why he needed satan or any other imaginary fellow to do good and be good. Those traits would be his own.

      December 19, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • Observing

        Perhaps he just prefers invisible people to real ones, those invisible people are pretty good at being whatever you need them to be.

        December 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  8. David

    Your real problem is whether YOU exist, not whether God exists. If there is no God, then everything is just physics and matter, molecules and forces. Then your brain is essentially no different from a rock on the ground, except for the particular arrangement of those atoms. And the next thing that you say is just brain chemistry. There is no YOU that speaks, just brain chemistry producing sound out of your mouth. Is that right or not?

    Molecules can’t decide between good ideas and bad ideas, between logic and illogic, between right and wrong. Everything about YOU tells YOU that YOU exist! There is more to YOU than molecules. And once YOU admit that YOU exist, it’s easy to figure out that God exists.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • doobzz

      Hey Rocks for Brains! Try reading a real science book. All that intelligent design crap is scrambling your molecules, lol!

      December 18, 2013 at 12:00 am |
      • Wow

        Yeah Daverino why don't you make like a tree and get outa here...he he he. Stupid philosophers don't got time for science n books n learnin stuff, right doobz?

        December 18, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Patrick

      Not one for all that fancy book learnin', are ya?

      December 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      David has stated: "Molecules can’t decide between good ideas and bad ideas, between logic and illogic, between right and wrong.

      You are completely incorrect. Our brains do exist as a specific collection of molecules, and our brains do all the things you claim they can't. I'm not sure why you think you have a point, when the very existence of our brains contradicts your odd proclamation.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  9. Youtube - Teresa MacBain "Shift Happens"

    John Compere, PhD

    I was a fifth-generation Baptist minister, ordained at age 18, while in college. I served until age 32 when I left the ministry and the church to get a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I had already completed a three-year seminary degree following college, which only increased my doubts about the authenticity of the theology I had learned from childhood. Leaving the ministry was not an easy decision to make since all my friends and family were in the church. But it was a decision I ultimately HAD to make if I didn't want to risk being publicly phony and privately cynical. I became an agnostic, then an atheist, NOT because I hadn't read the Bible, but because I had! An atheist, by the way, is simply someone who does not believe in a supernatural being. I am convinced that the evidence supports that view. All religion suffers from being bound by unchanging myth.

    As a psychologist, I continued to try to help people find meaning in their lives. I taught at the university and medical school, had a private clinical practice, and then became a professional speaker on "Psychology You Can USE!" I seriously doubt that life has any ultimate meaning, but I'm convinced that we can make our own meaning, and I have spent the last 45 years since I left the ministry trying to help people do just that. Success is not the goal - all therapists have dealt with many a successful person who was miserable - life satisfaction is the goal.

    When I made my career change, I was essentially on my own. I wish something like The Clergy Project had been around then. I could surely have used it. The goal of this project is not to try to convince believing clergy to give up their faith. Rather, it is to help those in the clergy who, for their own individual reasons, are no longer able to believe, to try to figure out how to make a huge sea-change in their lives. It may well be the absolutely most challenging career change anyone can make. We simply want to help make it easier.

    December 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • View and review

      I know how you feel. Eventually you come up against things you know you don't know and have to wonder what you don't know you don't know.

      I'd recommend looking at Neurotheology always interesting.

      December 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • salvador l fabian

      there is nothing worst in life that a confused ,sycology por little thing being confused

      Salvador l fabian

      December 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • doobzz

      It must be hard to pick up the pieces after being so publicly fired from Harvard because you are liar and a fraud.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:45 am |
  10. Evil Martha Stewart

    I don't know why I just thought of this but the church of Satan could always bake little upside down star shaped cookies with a frosting goat face in the middle.

    December 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Mobius665-just-a-close-friend-of-666

      Mmm, perfect for dippin' in a warm glass of virgin's blood.

      Or milk – your choice.

      December 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • For real

        Did you know that milk is actually body modified blood? Also commercial milk contains a certain amount of both cow blood and pus due to the inhumane treatment of cattle hooked up to a machine.

        Gross isn't it?

        December 29, 2013 at 8:29 am |
        • Gabriel Leal

          you're an idiot.

          January 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  11. ronvan

    My question would be just WHO is going to WIN? Satinists, or non-beleivers or christians? The SAD thing, for me, would be to take down the 10 commandments & then NO ONE could put up ANY of theirs! This "rights" argument is going to be the "great downfall" of our country!

    December 17, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What do purveyors of fine linen have to do with it?

      December 17, 2013 at 9:21 am |
      • Ponyboy Garfunkel

        I don't give a sheet what those Satinists think!

        December 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • doobzz

          I don't cotton to the idea either.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • BruceC

          They're just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      What does this "win" look like to you?

      If any religion is allowed to put up a monument on government land, even at their own expense, then all religions must be allowed to do so.

      The government is meant to represent the people in this country. All of the people. Not just those deemed acceptable to the majority.

      December 17, 2013 at 9:24 am |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        Yea – I'd love to see more statues of naked Hindu deities!

        December 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Free for all

      Let's fill it up. We could put Satan over here, Zeus over there, Athena standing in the background It'll look like the Parthenon in no time.

      December 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  12. David

    I have a simple question for conservative Christians.

    Why do the Oklahoma state capitol grounds need a ten commandments statute? What will (or will not) occur due to its presence that would not (or would) occur without its presence.

    As a "non-conservative" Christian, I feel the need to call out conservative Christians just as we always ask moderate Muslims to call out Muslim extremists. The fact of the matter is that conservative Christians represent the largest bully group in the United States of America.

    So I call on all "non-conservative" Christians to not let Christianity be highjacked by the most unChristlike segment of our population – conservative Christians.

    December 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • lol??

      Crips Christian, Bloods Christian. What to choose?? The pwogwessives LUV for the Hegelian dialectic keeps all in the dark.

      December 17, 2013 at 4:56 am |
      • Science Works

        The hand that carved the monument lol?? is an evolutionary marvel !

        Maybe the people in OK that teach children will understand !

        Discovery of 1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossil Human Hand Bone Closes Human Evolution Gap

        Dec. 16, 2013 —


        December 17, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  13. Santaist

    Although a statue to entertain the kids would be nice after December a statue of Santa wouldn't....be...

    Oops. Never mind.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  14. RighteousRuler

    those who want to be filthy. Let them be filthy in darkness and sin. After all, they love darkness rather than the Light they know is God but they have turned away and have been awarded reprobate minds having their consciences seared with an hot iron. The word of God burning as hot coals on their heads. (why do the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things?)
    others, ordained to eternal life, who have been recreated pure in heart shall see God who is Spirit as Jesus in Light.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  15. 7

    Everyone is welcome to visit ...


    December 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  16. Jay Chong

    As a follow up, a group of Hindus also want to place a statute of one of their deities in OK. Although the Satanists might be denied, it appears the OK committee on these monuments might actually consider accepting the Hindu's monument. http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2013

    December 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.109:1 Say: O disbelievers,109:2 I serve not that which you serve,109:3 Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve,109:4 Nor shall I serve that which ye serve,109:5 Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve.109:6 For you is your recompense and for me my recompense.

    December 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
  18. Lana


    December 16, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • lol??

      Lana Banana

      December 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
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.