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. cpc65

    They just want some attention because they got none as children.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Akira

      Who? The people that put up the Ten Commandment monument?

      December 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Larry L

      Had they gone to a Catholic Church they would had had a great deal of attention from the Priests...

      December 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  2. Larry L

    "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," "
    So now freedom of religion only applies to those religions considered (by Christian politicians) to reflect certain "values"?

    December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Duane

      I think that's been the case for a long time.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Excited

    I have GOT to give money to this cause!

    December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  4. GH

    I support the separation of church and state. I'm frequently galled by the hypocrisy of a certain political party that claims to want "freedom of religion" when what it really wants is "freedom TO IMPOSE religion upon others." That's why I'm against prayer in non-religious schools - it's not fair to have one prayer without all the others, and how much you wanna bet that one prayer is usually Christian? While I don't support satanism at all, I think if there can be a Ten Commandments statue on a public facility, well guess what - "sauce for the goose."

    Love the LGBT kiss-in on Rev. Phelps' mom's gravesite, though. That vile man is a wolf not even bothering to pretend he's a sheep, and he deserved it. He and that equally vile excuse for a church are everything anti-human and, for that matter, anti-American.

    I really should be more open about my feelings, though. 😉

    December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • OldMo

      Go to google images and type in "Rev Phelps Al Gore". I believe the "good" reverend also ran three times for political office as a Democrat. He and the entire Westboro Baptist Church are frauds. They aren't Christians and I think that's the whole point of their schtick. They can create mischief, discredit Christianity and hopefully score some lawsuits along the way.

      As for the satan statue next to the 10 Commandments, I'm all for it. I think it'll act as a good reminder that we have a choice of two paths in this life that lead to different destinations in the next. We serve one of two masters whether we care acknowledge it or not. Put the effort in to see if the God's word is true. I'd rather do the legwork and reject it than be lazy and rely on what someone else has to say about it. Don't put your fate in someone else's hands. Sermon over. 🙂

      December 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  5. JonathanL

    Why are they there in the first place? What a waste of time and money! One with a simple list of 10 rules allegedly proposed by the Judeo-Christian God for the religious simpletons who don't have morals to begin with and won't obey them, and now a group proposing a monument to another god that doesn't exist to get that attention their mommies never gave them. This is all 100% man made 'ado about nothing'. If they succeed I will start the A+ society for Atheists and put up a big sign in between them explaining to all innocent passerbys that these are really just monuments to man's ignorance, and that they will at least serve, as long as they last, to remind future mankind of what ignorant apes we were back in the 21st century.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  6. Jim

    I notice the atheists and the separation of church state people aren't protesting this. Their bigotry is saved only for the Christian. I don't have a problem with a Satanists monument. Nothing says it has to be displayed aside the Decalogue however. On the other side of the stairs would be appropriate.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Akira

      I don't think so; the ACLU is involved.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Science Works

        The Republican-controlled Legislature in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its consti-tutionality. The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking its removal.


        December 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • Jim

        Those who use our laws to remove religious monuments from public property are no different than the Taliban who used bazookas to blast a statue of Buddha out of the side of a mountain in Afghanistan. It's simple intolerance of the beliefs of others.

        December 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Not very bright are you?

          December 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • Wolfaxe451

          Ok, but then every religion gets to place their statue right next to yours. As long as you're fine with that everything is good.

          December 10, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • JonathanL

      As an Atheist I protest how man made munments like this are cluttering up the natural view. Both serve ignorance. But there will always be some group that wants to tie their opinion to some sort of erection.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • magicpanties

      Because we all know that OK will never allow a Satan statue there, so they will end up removing the christian monument, which is what we really want in the first place.
      The Satan ruse is simply a [clever] means to an end.
      Kudos to this new strategy.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Actually, beyond the amusement is the hope that the embarrassed Oklahoma religious right will have to a drag their little monument away and no one will have a preeminent place promote their religion on public land.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Stephen Miller

      Jim, the point of the group (who are pretty clearly not actually worshiping Satan, just making a political statement) is that the Ten Commandments already exists in the courthouse, and that makes for a double standard. They are saying "if you honestly think any religious monument is allowed, try this one on for size." It's an argument for separation of church and state by means of contradiction; that's why no one who wants separation is protesting. It's not an anti-Christian bias.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • teri

      Actually, they are too busy laughing to type. This is exactly the kind of thing the separation of church and state is meant to prevent, you open the door up to one religion, then ALL religions must be allowed. Even if you don't believe or agree with it. The reason I'm able to type is that I saw this the other day and I can type and giggle at the same time. Too funny!

      December 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • want2believe

      Atheists organizations will undoubtedly fight this as they should the original moment. Until then we'll enjoy the excuses Christians give for why their shrine should be allowed but not anothers.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  7. WontlastLong

    If they put it up it wont last long, and you satanists can bet your butt on it.
    I would bet anyone 50,000 that it wouldnt last a week to be precise.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Man thats a lot of Pesos!

      50,000! Thats like over $3000 US!

      December 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "WontlastLong" Is that a threat?

      'cause if that's a threat Satan can kick your god's soggy ass along with it's 10 demandments and anyone in Oklahoma who wants his ass kicked


      December 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Istalef

    Shouldn't they go to hell, where they belong?

    December 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • want2believe

      The satanists or the people who thought it was a good idea to erect a religious monument on government property?

      December 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  9. MightyMoo

    Thank you evangelicals for opening the door to not only your religion on state ground but that of Satanists, Muslims, etc. You have just shot yourselves in the foot.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Cervantes

      You are very welcome.

      Oh wait, I'm a pagan/Odinist nevermind

      December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  10. Chuck

    Islam is already Satanism, just goes by a different name

    December 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Upchuck

      The only people who actually believe in Satan are Christians, so of course that makes them the only true satanists. And the behavior of Christians is often satanic.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • WontlastLong

        Muslims believe in Satan too you fool, learn some theology various religions do, he is just a fallen angel not a God.

        December 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • Cervantes

        Wrong you poor uneducated dolt.
        Christians, Muslims, Jews, and many more through history believed in a hell.

        December 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • want2believe

      Christianity has it's bad apples as well. Just different branches of the same Abrahamic religion.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  11. tiff

    Please tell me CNN accidentally printed an article from the Onion.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  12. Pete99

    "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.

    Would tolerance be one of those values?

    December 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • ME II

      Exploitation,. theft, and cheating?

      "Most of Oklahoma was set aside as Indian Territory before the Civil War. It was opened for general settlement around 1890—the 'Sooners' were settlers who jumped the gun. " – Wikipedia

      December 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Warhorse

      No – tolerance is not something we believe in, especially for this flavor of JUNK. IMO, you can tolerate things to a point, then you got nothing but waste. Gotta draw the line somewhere. The proposed statue will not stand in OK – I can guarantee that.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Oklahoma – one of our more useless states...

        December 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • want2believe

        And because of that the 10 Commandments will come down as well.

        December 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • michelle

        Why is what is good for the goose not for the gander?

        December 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • Wolfaxe451

        The Commandments statue is going to be forced to be taken down if you don't allow a Satanist statue. While you (and many others) might not like it the law is no stance on religion, so either all or none. You can't just say no because we don't like it.

        December 10, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  13. MoodyFoodie

    How 'bout state capitol grounds should have NO religious monuments? We don't live in a theocracy so if you want one exception you ought to allow them all....put them in your church grounds or private land if you don't like it.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Warhorse

      Sorry but you have it wrong. That law is to keep government from infringing on religion – not the other way around.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • Btsmokincat

        So I take it you are completely in favor of the Satanist statue?

        December 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Sorry but you have it wrong. That law is to keep government from infringing on religion – not the other way around."

        And how can a government possibly be said to not infringe on ANY religion when it endorses they beliefs of a single one? In other words, but having the 10 commandments there, they are infringing on everyone that isn't a christian.

        December 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    There's a god that can't be noticed or remembered. Neil Gaiman's forgettable god. Monuments to it have been erected in many places. I don't know if there is one at the Olahoma courthouse. Neither do you.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      December 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Akira

      I love Neil Gaiman.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Taylor

    Lol, "I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on capitol the capitol grounds,” So, does that mean we should have a monument devoted to racism, incest, gun waving, gay bashing, type 2 diabetes, syphilis, and large trucks/SUV's painted in the building? This state makes me sick. The ten commandments, whether they reflect Oklahoma values or not, have no place in a building dedicated to legal practices. The building should not house religious effigies of any sort lest you want to house one of ALL the religions practiced in Oklahoma including Islam, Paganism, Native American polytheism (don't know the name), Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Transcendentalism, AND Satanism. Despite what you and your Bible study group think, Satanism is an "Oklahoma value". It's practiced here, it's valued here, get over it.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Warhorse

      Well, good. Us Oklahoman's can count on never seeing you here then. I knew there was a bright side to your post...now get back under your rock.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • WontlastLong

      Your stupidity is overwhelming apologize for the whole people posting.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • WontlastLong...

        in the fight against childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.

        December 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  16. John Stefanyszyn

    They may not agree on each other's "religious faiths", but they each live by the same way of life...that of FREEDOM of self-rights.....and one's true belief is seen in how one LIVES & WORKS in one's life.

    FREEDOM...to serve and magnify the self (XES)....this is the 'god of fortresses' and image that all worship.

    And this "FREEDOM' confesses that it is RIGHT to be free to worship ANY god.
    ...that it is right to be free to define one's own happiness....to define what is 'good and evil' for one's self-justified desires.

    BUT Jesus Christ, Son of the One Creator, said the we are to worship the One Lord God and Him Alone, His Will Alone, to serve.

    ...and all reject this for man loves instead the FREEDOM to do his own will according to his own righteousness...even now proclaiming that it is 'RIGHT' for men to marry.

    Take note...it is written by the One God that it is Only Jesus Christ that will rule as Lord, Master, and King and He will do so according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Yehowah Elohim God, Creator and Father....and not according to man's first love for his 'freedom' will.

    Do you see the signs?

    December 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Larry L

      The signs are quite clear... Still, if you get help soon maybe you can avoid a complete breakdown.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • charlie828

      Good story, very creative. Not one word true, but creative. Gods and devils do not exist, never have, never will. Keep banging it out though, it is amusing.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  17. Old Enough

    I think The flying Spaghetti Monster should also be included. It is an existing religion that has many followers.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  18. SixDegrees

    Works for me. Want to dissolve the wall between church and state? This is what you get in return.

    For starters.

    I'll be submitting my request for a Church of the SubGenius monument immediately. And another for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Carl Christopherson

      Put one in for the holy phallic as well.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  19. Violette

    Those of you who believe the this country was founded on "Christian Values," will you please tell me what those values are supposed to be? The 10 commandments? Nobody follows most of those. So where was there ever laws requiring that you honor your parents? What law says you can't covet your neighbor's wife? I have never been cited for taking the lord's name in vain. And, oh yeah, "thou shalt not make thyself a graven image." Like to statue of the Ten Commandments we are currently discussing?

    These "Christian Values" you are all so fond of referencing are simply customs/cultural taboos that are pretty universal in a lot of cultures. Murder, theft, incest, etc. are forbidden in most cultures, even those that never heard of Jesus.

    December 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Christian Val Hugh

      You must be a Satanist to be pointing out our hypocrisy like that...

      December 9, 2013 at 5:40 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.