January 7th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Satanists unveil design for OK statehouse statue

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Satanists have unveiled their design for a proposed statue at the Oklahoma state Capitol, including a place for people to sit on the devil's lap "for inspiration and contemplation."

The New York-based Satanic Temple submitted its proposal to Oklahoma officials this month after applying for a spot on Capitol grounds late last year. The Satanists say their statue would "complement and contrast" with a Ten Commandments monument placed at the Capitol in Oklahoma City in 2012.

The Satanists' proposed monument depicts Baphomet, a goat-headed pagan idol sitting on a 7-foot-tall throne inscribed with an inverted pentagram. In an artist's rendering provided by the Satanic Temple, smiling children look adoringly at the devilish figure.

"The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures," Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said in a prepared statement. "The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”

According to its Indiegogo page, the Satanists have raised more than $16,000 toward their goal of $20,000 for the monument, which Greaves said would "be a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority and the unjustly outcast.”

The Temple of Satan is less a religious body organized around rituals and regular meetings than a roving band of political provocateurs, according to Greaves. They believe Satan is a "literary construct," the spokesman said, not an actual being with horns and hooves.

READ MORE: Satanists want statue next to Ten Commandments

The proposed statue includes quotations from poets Lord Byron and William Blake.

“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion” runs the Blake quotation. The 18th-century poet was a Christian, albeit one with a mystical bent and little use for traditional morality.

The statue's main figure, Baphomet, has long been associated with Satan, Greaves said. In the 12th century, the Knights Templar, a group of Christian crusaders, were accused of worshiping Baphomet in their secretive rituals.

"From the mythology created by these accusations against the Templars, we now have a symbol for Satan pictured as a goat-headed beast," Greaves said.

Since the 1960s, a variation of the horned goat head has been the official symbol of the Church of Satan, which is not affiliated with the Temple of Satan. The head of the Church of Satan has told CNN he does not approve of the idea of a Satanist statue on public grounds.

Oklahoma state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft told CNN that he doesn't think the Satanists' statue will be approved.

“What will disqualify them has really nothing to do with Satan as such; it's that it has no historical significance for the state of Oklahoma,” he said.

Trait Thompson, chairman of Oklahoma's Capitol Preservation Committee, said he has not received the Satanists' proposed design yet. He also said that no applications will be considered until a lawsuit over the Ten Commandments monument is settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued over Oklahoma's Ten Commandments monument, calling it an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

After news broke of the Satanists' proposal, the state was flooded with requests from religious groups seeking to erect monuments to their own faith, including Hindus and Pastafarians, a satirical religion that "worships" the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

An Oklahoma lawmaker told CNN that the Satanists' message wouldn't fly in the Bible Belt state, where nearly two-thirds of the population is Christian.

"Any monument displayed on state property should reflect the values of Oklahoma or memorialize those who built or defended our freedom," Rep. Bob Cleveland said Tuesday. "In my opinion, this Satanist monument does not meet with the values of Oklahomans."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Satanism

soundoff (3,489 Responses)
  1. Brainwashed Christians

    Satan is the christian scapegoat for everything bad that happens in the world. How deluded.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
  2. History Bear

    Oh Hell why not ? Satan is no more real than any other god. Let's add Odin, Jupiter, Buddha, they all had strong followings at one time and proported to show a way of life and were passed over- except Buddha who isn't a "god" but a philosopher.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
  3. WhenCowsAttack

    Personally I love their concept, and their statue. I find the whole darned thing hilarious, and cannot wait to see what comes of it.

    Oh, and I want to sit on Baphomet's lap! They should have left his gigantic phallus intact, though, for further "interaction" and "contemplation".


    January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • Cecily

      I am ready for a keychain and a bumper sticker! Please post if you see them go on sale anywhere!

      January 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • Easy

      Obviously you're a gay one.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
      • Meat

        Yeah, because CLEARLY heteros aren't interested in erect phalluses. Dolt.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • Observer


        Not too bright.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        Um, no, if I were a gay one I'd probably be wanting to sit on Lilith's lap.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • ghz

      And now satan is good. What a fool thought or they really believe people is stupid..?.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  4. paul

    Subtlety, thy name is not Satanist.

    Now if the Ten Commandments were being held by Yaweh then the Baphomet would be appropriate.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mercury

      Or Mel Brooks....

      January 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you trying to say that the Ten Commandments monument is not religious because it doesn't have an image of a religious figure?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Hoeyuno

    Hahaha....can't discriminate againts the Satanists.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • loverpoint


      January 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Ask those that erected the ten commandments statue.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
  6. hockeynut90

    This whole thing is an absurd situation that has run amok. There is a separation of church and state for a reason. Once the state chose to open the door and endorse a "religion" or at least put up a monument to their choice of one, they created the problem. Now everyone will want a monument for their own FICTIONAL character. They might as well put Zeus, Odin, Thor and Ra up as well because they should all be treated equally. They are equally as invisible, believable and real as Satan Allah and God. If the human race could get over the petty squabbles over which invisible myth was more powerful, we may have a chance at survival.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • Divdar

      I suppose that if it were 10 moral rules from Jefferson sayings, or Dr. Suess, or whoever, it would be okay. If you don't believe in God and these are just sayings of men, what is the difference? If they aren't religious to you and they're just a moral code, it shouldn't matter.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • igaftr

        The difference is that the 10 commandments are part of a religion, that has been authorized on govt. land. It does not belong there.

        January 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
      • G to the T

        "If they aren't religious to you and they're just a moral code, it shouldn't matter." – But only a few of them are about morality in general. MOST of them are in regards to worshiping Yahweh and ONLY Yahweh properly.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • Live4Him



      January 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  7. Easy

    If atheists have churches now it simply means that they belong to a religious group, otherwise they wouldn't have called it a church.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • Atheism is for everyone

      Although I think it is stupid and wouldn't join one myself, the key piece in the term "church" is the Tax Exemption that goes with it. As soon as churches are rightfully taxed I'd venture a guess that the atheists churches will go away.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • Easy

        I don't think atheists will get rid of their sanctuary.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • Hilikus

      What are you talking about?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • loverpoint

      This is about Satanist not Atheists. Hard to have a statue of something that you don't believe in.

      I do not think any religious idolatry belongs in a government building.

      I think Christians are probably hoping this is approved so that they can knock down the wall dividing Church / and State ..

      January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • someguy

      these are satanists not atheists. you seem confused.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Alice

      I think you need to do a bit of catching up; the Atheist Church was "yesterday's news". The article clearly states, "Satanists unveil design for statehouse statue". Get with the program, dear. You don't want everyone to think you are slow now, do you?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Yovann

      Satanist aren't atheist thoguh. Satanist believe the devil is the head of their religion. They have a deity, atheist don't.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • loverpoint

      The call it a church / religion so they can file for tax exempt status. Can you blame them.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
  8. Ian


    January 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • only since

      the 1950's. One of Ike's nastier deeds.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Which one? And anyway, speak for yourself.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • QuestionEverything

      E pluribus unum

      January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • ME II


        January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Mind Your Business"

        January 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • sandyfrank


      January 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • igaftr

      In god we trust is a lie.

      The proof:
      I am one of we, as in the all inclusive "we the people"
      I do not trust in any gods ( and also have a hard time trusting those that do, but I digress)
      Since I am one of "we" and do not trust in gods, your statement is a LIE.

      January 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  9. TheBob

    About time Lucy got some representation.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
  10. BoscoBoy

    While I admire the cheerful simplicity of the design I must object to the poor proportions of the children's limbs and the undersized goat-demon head. I think the point here is that no religious statues of any kind should be allowed at government facilities. We are supposed to have a separation of church and state in this nation.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • GB

      Finally somebody gets the whole thing!

      January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |

    Us Christians have failed being beacons of light for the world.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • BoscoBoy

      Yeah, The Crusades and the Spanish inquisition weren't really highlights of the christian enlightenment,were they.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Shootmyownfood

        Probably because the enlightenment happened a few centuries later.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          And wasn't Christian. It was a time when faith and traidtion were challenged.

          January 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • Divdar

        Do you really believe that if religion didn't exist, we wouldn't have things like these? You are a fool if you do.

        January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • Egg


      January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Not an idiot xian

      Yes, burning people alive and calling them witches for not believing in your supernatural "deity", is one of the things that makes christians "GOOD" people?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Brainwashed Christians

      Maybe beacons of nonsense.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  12. John Adams

    The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

    Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

    [from A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787-1788)]

    January 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Chris

    Idiots everywhere.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      I think it's frickin' hilarious.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • loverpoint

        Santa Claus has the North Pole , Satan Claus has hell

        Santa Claus asks kids what they want for Christmas, Satan Claus asks them to sell their soul to him in return for presents ( Sort of sounds like Grover Nordquist )

        I can't wait to see some kids field trip report. Showing his classmates a picture of himself sitting on Satans Lap at the State Capital . I thought their was supposed to be a separation of church and state ?

        January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • Egg

        I'm crapping my pants 🙂

        January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • Egg


        January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • t3chn0ph0b3

          No upvoting! The horror!

          January 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jeebusss

      My pretend friend is the best! No MINE IS! No but mine like, has a Jewish zombie son! Mine make the best barbecue!!!! LOL.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • TheBob

        Mine comes with all you can eat noodles. Plus free sauce. Oh the sauce! Blessed be the sauce!

        January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Peregrine


          January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • fatherheathen

      Those who support displaying the 10 commandments on public ground? Yeah, I agree.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • BoscoBoy

        How about the 11th commandment? "Thou shalt not be an overzealous hatemonger in thy religion."

        January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Mark Causey

      I remember once my father told me that all religions are based on things mankind doesn't yet know. As an example man once worshiped the gods of the moon, sun, ocean, wind, fertility, etc... and once the fundamentals of those gods were understood, they disappeared. Now man is worshiping the god of death and in many religions, the 2 gods of death are satin and elohim or allah (look it up). What better way to worship death than a statue of satin????

      January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • BoscoBoy

        Satin? I would prefer a statue made of chenille.

        January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Brainwashed Christians

          Or a fine cloth!

          January 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Rusty Lunchbox

    Strikingly similar to a George Washington statue.. Hmm.. Interesting.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  15. t3chn0ph0b3

    Tee, hee!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  16. Mein

    Bart Ehrman, PhD, professor of religious studies at Chapel Hill – THE SATANISTS? is the same one?

    January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • Fan2C

      Heads up. Don't bother replying to this poster, "Mein". I just spend some time composing a message and the original post has been deleted - by him or someone...

      January 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  17. Reality # 2

    The Ten C- take away the first three and the rest are simply a summary of the codes of humankind passed down from the likes of Hammurabi and the Egyptians and their book of the Dead. Both came before for the OT/Torah.

    Added details:

    Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

    "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

    I have not reviled the God.
    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
    I have not done what the God abominates . . .
    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
    I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
    I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
    I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
    I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
    I have not blocked the God at his processions."

    "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

    January 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  18. Peter

    This isn't going to end well for Oklahoma. Either they are forced to let this statue in, or the face a lawsuit claiming discrimination. Even if two thirds or so of the state is Christian, what about the other third? This statue represents that other third as "a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority and the unjustly outcast.” That non-christian third of the state is definitely the unjustly outcast.
    You can't have it both ways, either equality for all (and by all, I mean everybody), or no religious stuff on government property.

    January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
  19. Jeebusss

    LOLOLOLOLOL. So what is it Christians? Are you going to agree that religion doesn't belong on state property or are you going to face the fact that this is what you get when you open the can of worms? Watching you squirm is EPIC!

    January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • loverpoint

      The idea of sitting on Satans lap and contemplating , sort of sounds Christmasy. Sit on Satan Clauses lap and sell your soul for presents.

      The Republicans already have a version Satan Clause, his name is Grover Nordquist .

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 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.