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. Harris

    Spiritual warfare is the cosmic conflict waged in the invisible, spiritual realm but simultaneously fleshed out in the visible, physical realm. The root of the war is something we cannot see, but the effects of the war are clearly seen and felt. This is because everything physical is either influenced or caused by something spiritual. Paul tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is not against our neighbor, spouse, coworker, child, or even our own propensities or weaknesses in our own flesh. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

    January 12, 2014 at 8:08 am |
    • igaftr

      There is no evidence that there is anything like a "spritual realm" or spirits or anything remotely "supernatural"....you only have wild speculation...there are an infinite number of other possibilities.

      January 12, 2014 at 8:25 am |
  2. iris

    First (1) of Samuel chapter 5.and 6. History at his best information. I don't have to take care of what God is God.Look up

    January 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sure that made sense in your head.

      January 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
  3. pam

    I think people just want to start trouble and get something started. When the Rapture comes have fun serving your master, I plan to enjoy HEAVEN! GOD bless everyone, HE loves us all,

    January 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • Observer


      "I think people just want to start trouble and get something started."

      Yes. So why are there so many Christian HYPOCRITES who pick on gays or pro-choice supporters?

      January 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
      • Dody McCoy

        Pam said "I think people just want to start trouble and get something started." I agree with her. But Then someone replied to her "Yes. So why are there so many Christian HYPOCRITES who pick on gays or pro-choice supporters?" and this is so true also but there are haters in every group. What we have to do is realize we were all created by the same being and he/she gave us free will and he/she also gave us many forms of guidance. It is up to us what we do with the teachings and how we treat each other and the gifts he gave us. The Creator gave us each the gift of life and the gift of free will ....... unfortunately not all of us use our gifts very wisely. Though I am not really sure why it took the Satanists 4 years to decide they needed equal representation as far as art work outside the Oklahoma state Capitol was concerned are the Native American Traditionalist, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., also represented there as well? I didn't notice if they were mentioned in the article?

        Dody McCoy
        Chantan Peta Winyon
        When you harm the one, You harm the all!
        When you help the one, You help the all!
        You see.....................
        We are all Brothers and Sisters!
        We are all related!

        January 22, 2014 at 1:58 am |
    • Armageddon

      According to this blog there is going to be one hell of a fight:


      Good luck!

      January 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
      • Science Works

        And the CON continues !!! And this is NASTY !

        Can exorcisms help soldiers with PTSD?


        January 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • Now that's just stupid...

        Maybe they'll make it into a movie and you can watch it.

        January 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • Now that's just stupid...

        This blogspot is not in use. Ha.

        January 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's sad when people need an imaginary friend in order to feel like they are loved. It's even sadder when these people get all happy and excited when they think about their imaginary friend torturing other people for all eternity. Kind of makes you understand why they don't have real friends to love them.

      January 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        Its even sadder that you think we are happy to think people are being tortured for eternity....stop making up stupid crap like thsat

        January 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • Observer


          You are CLUELESS. Read the blogs. It happens.

          January 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          OH I know it happens..but must you make a blanket statement that all Christians are like this? YOur post pretty much implied it

          January 12, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Unlike the christians on this blog, kermit, I don't lie.

          January 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Ad homs..IM a Christian..I have yet to lie....

          January 12, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • Observer


          "Ad homs..IM a Christian..I have yet to lie...."

          So your lie at the start of this thread was not intentional.

          January 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • Observer


          "OH I know it happens..but must you make a blanket statement that all Christians are like this? YOur post pretty much implied it"

          I NEVER said "all". I told the truth. Stick with TRUTH and not IMPLICATIONS.

          You've gone from "stop making up stupid crap like that" to "OH I know it happens..". Not good.

          January 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • OTOH

      "I think people just want to start trouble and get something started."

      Yeah, cases in point:
      - Ancient Israelite men seeking ethnocentric power
      - Paul of Tarsus and the crew


      "I plan to enjoy HEAVEN! "

      Heheh, wait 'til you get to the New Covenant #56,723 in a few eons. It's a lulu! You couldn't trust that "God" character even if 'He' were real...

      January 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • kimberly

      Hi there I believe God loves us all too,

      February 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Common Sense

    If you don't want to see Satan then keep christian propaganda off of public buildings. You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. Just because christianity is privileged and catered to in the US doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. The same way they feel about seeing Satan on the State Capitol grounds is the same way everyone feels about the ten commandments. It's time they realized that.

    January 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
  5. Thomas

    get me near this thing,

    and everyday we could add something new;

    like day #1, a sports mitt on his hand that points up 1 finger with the rest curled, 'proudly' stating..

    "we're number one!"

    like day #2, mitt gets replaced with the fabrication of some decapitated head of a leader and the saying enscribed somewhere,

    "to err is human,

    but to know the difference to where you stand without your head.."

    and so it goes 🙂


    this is priceless and will have some very *VERY* funny outcomes with prank satire!!


    thomas 🙂

    January 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
  6. Mark

    I saw this quote in article this morning. I think it sums up why there needs to be a rigorous wall of separation between church and state:

    Every religion wants to be special, and none of them are. Religious freedom in this country guarantees equality. Whatever the Christians can do, the Jews can do, the atheists can do, the Satanists can do. All that religion stuff is bunk to me, but at least it’s equal.

    January 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  7. lisa

    You believe in keeping your satanic crap seperate but your like some churches who try to push you influiance down our throats, I am a christian and I was born in Okla, I would rather see the ten commandments the see the devil. But you all you people you are all the same your fighting for a cause bc what God didn't show you a miracle right when you wanted it or you think the devil is more powerful, good luck when the rapture comes I know where I'm gonna be. HOW ABOUT Y'ALL?

    January 8, 2014 at 10:32 am |
  8. Dan

    I'm just happy no one is blaming the Jews. They should just move it across the street. Anyone that hates the 10 commandments because they are "Judeo-Christian" has to chill out and not let it ruin their day.

    January 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  9. Mentalcase

    Makes me laugh when the Christians get their feathers all ruffled over this stuff.

    January 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jen Nifer

      Why is that so amusing?

      January 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  10. Cameron

    Put the new Satan monument down at the DMV where it belongs.

    January 5, 2014 at 12:00 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.