January 7th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Satanists unveil design for OK statehouse statue

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(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. St. Montius Pythonus

    Satan turned me into a newt!

    I got better.

    January 7, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  2. Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Mime Yodel-Twerking

    Hey! Where is MY statue! I have every right to have a statue there too! Something monumental, me bravely clutching a tasty peanut as a satanac squishy-tire bears down on me it satanic satany stuff. Oh I have been forsaken, ye of short memory and smelly armpits! My rodenty apocalyptic squirrelgeddon fast approaches! All tongues shall bow, all knees will confess, all cats shall develop explosive diarrhea, that I AM GOD!

    January 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • Damocles

      Won't someone please think of the cats?

      January 7, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
      • James Foley

        Oh I have, they're delicious

        January 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
  3. SSN 152-60-4382

    No tolerance for depraved perverts. Satanists are a bunch of child raping b!tches

    January 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
    • Damocles

      Is this the new ad for Life-Lock?

      January 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Willis Fitnurbut

      No tolerance for depraved perverts. Christians are a bunch of child raping b!tches:

      Father Chester the Molester

      January 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
  4. 7

    Hello folks, everyone is welcome to visit...


    January 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
  5. Lucifer Q. Satan

    It greatly saddens me to see myself mistakenly represented as a goat-headed thing, though I do appreciate the buff body that ladies would want to twerk with. In the name of accuracy, I actually have the head of a chicken, the shoulders of a squirrel, the breasts of Scarlett Johansson (my favorite part, actually), the belly of John Candy, the derrière of a poodle from New Jersey, the legs of Richard Nixon, and Fran Dreischer's gratingly annoying voice.

    Please adjust the statue accordingly.

    And remember: I'm not the one with the eternal torture concentration camp.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Thank you, debil-person. If the people who say they freed from the "old law" yet continue to declare their subservience TO it, can have a monument, so can anyone. Personally I would like a "crescent moon" placed next to you also, in honor of the Arabic moon god, whom you may have heard of. His name is Allah, (it used to be Al-Iih) .. the crescent phase of the Arabic moon god, (whose name was "Sin"), and who according to original Qu'ran (and as recounted in the Satanic Verses), had the same 3 divine daughters, as Sin.

      January 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
  6. Dandintac

    I think the Satanists are just as crazy as Christians if they believe this thing. Lucien Greaves (if that IS his real name!–sounds too perfect a Satanist name) may say it's a literary construct, but so many humans are so gullible I can see how some of them may believe this thing is for real.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
    • Maelstrom

      No, don't underestimate our insanity. We Christians believe both in the God and the Devil, we just believe God wins in the end. Cept.. our Satan is a Dragon who fought the armies of the Lamb while chasing the Virgin Mary to kill the Christ.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
  7. Mopery

    Hallowed be Marvin's name.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
  8. Jethro Bob Sheepfondler, Oklahoma State Representative

    As an official representative of the Great State of Oklahoma, known for it's . . . It's . . . I'm sure there's something we are famous for, uh, where was I? Oh yes. Here in Oklahoma, we have many important issues to focus our genius upon, and none is more important than the rock in front of the statehouse. Now rocks that look like rocks with words on them are okay, but goat rocks just ain't in the Bible, which is our state Constitution as best as I understand it. Now I know you gay lib trades think there is a constipitution thingy in this country, but as that great Foundiing father Captain Barbossa said, it's not so much rules as guidelines. So we just don't have to listen to anyone we don't want too, because they are unAmerican fools who think they have freedom of speech and equality. Not in my state, Bub!

    January 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Dear JB,
      There never was a box with commandments written upon them. WHy do you think it disappeared from history, and why was NO ONE ever allowed into the Holy of Holies to look at the arc, or open it ? Cuz if there was one, it was a fake, and it probably never existed. Why was it not among the temple regalia that was carted off to Rome ? One guess.

      January 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Mopery

    Spending your whole life reading the same book over and over again does not make you literate.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • Bible Bob, Knight of Infallibillibabbity

      Maybe, but it make you really good at ignoring the inconvenient parts you should follow too but don't want to.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Nor does it teach you anything about the texts, their context, or how they fit into the literature of the ancient Near East, or how the humans who assembled it did so, or their political motivations for creating the scrolls, which were centuries later VOTED, non-unanimously, into the set, know as ta-bibla.

      January 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
  10. coral

    Nothing gets the adrenalin up like a good old religious conflict, does it? -church versus state, god versus satan, religious freedom versus religious persecution? atheism versus theism? iconism versus iconoclasm?

    .....and so the world will always be at war, and mostly over different religious beliefs.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
    • Mopery

      War. War never changes.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
    • Alton Copland

      Eh, religion is on the way out in the US... most stats show atheism and agnosticism rapidly increasing. As our reliance upon science and logic continue to grow our need for a mystical/spiritual understanding of the world will decrease. Most of Europe is already there.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      "Dogma" is the disease, and critical thinking is the antidote. "Religion" is not the greatest evil.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
    • End Times

      No. Such wars will end once all evil people has been cast into the lake. The Battle of Armageddon (the momentous battle where Lucifer is defeated) will bring an end to it all....

      January 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Yawn. ... boring troll is boring.

        January 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    We may be able to get a fairly good idea of what Oklahomans actually want by looking at what they do allow on their lawns. Monuments to the ten commandments are vastly outnumbered by lawn gnomes, jockeys, jockeys of colour, mirror balls, fake deer and flamingos. They are crying out for more gods and their state legislature only allows them one and it's invisible.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
  12. soup

    Read somewhere that Satan crucifies his followers in hell..... But I'm sure he appreciates the statue.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • DC100

      No you didn't

      January 7, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • soup

        Sure I did!

        January 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Where? Citation please.

          January 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • Bible Bob, Knight of Infallibillibabbity

          It was in a comic book. I loved that one, especially the part where we get to help pour burning coals on the heads atheists in our loving goodness.

          January 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
        • soup

          Tears of Heaven Series: Heaven and Hell by Kenneth Zeigler.

          January 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
        • Lars

          The science FICTION series??
          You take that as truth? Are you freaking stupid? Do you think Dante's Inferno is non-fiction as well??

          January 7, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • Lars

          If you're going to believe anovelist's version of hell, read
          "Hell: A Novel" by Robert Olen Butler. At least he won a Pulitzer.

          January 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Bible Bob

    I just get ever so mad that other people get to have an opinion. Then when I hear that they get to have a statue too, oh, oooo, argh, fiddlesticks! What is America coming to when people can have an opinion other than mine?

    January 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
    • Willis Fitnurbut

      I just get ever so mad that other people get to have an opinion. Then when I hear that they get to have a statue too, oh, oooo, argh, fiddlesticks! What is America coming to when people can have an opinion other than the religious indoctrination that I spout into everyone else's life. Who could care less what your belief is when my religion is right and everyone else is wrong?

      January 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
      • Bible Bob

        My echo gave itself the name of Willis. Dagnabbit! My echo should have a good name like Fubar Crossucker.

        January 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  14. Venn

    My cousin's stuffed moose head looks scarier.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
  15. shawbrooke

    Not every quote is profound.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
  16. Sivick

    I was kind of hoping that satan would at least flash the heavy metal sign with his fingers. oh well... it's still pretty awesome. Can we get a star trek or a star wars statue up there too? I believe in the Force way more than i believe in the bible. oh and all those bible thumpers out there could you not post your outraged replies in all caps? seriously, learn some manners. It's the 21st century. It just makes you look like technology heathens.

    January 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
    • G to the T

      1 question – midichlorians or no midichlorians?

      January 8, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  17. Jean

    Satan/ Lucifer does not look like this statue at all. Satan is a cherub, he was Gods most beautiful, blameless and strongest creation He ever made. God created man who has never came close to Lucifer according to the book ofvEzekiel in our Holy Bible.
    Maybe you should change your cartoon image and get something right.

    January 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • coral

      How do you know what he/she looks like?

      January 7, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
      • Love It

        Coral. You are the bestest.

        January 7, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      Don't mock Satan's appearance. He can look like whatever he wants to look like if you know what I mean. My wife's groin doctor saw him walkin around over in Elizabeth in broad daylight just like he was the mail man or somethin. He plays tricks on people too:


      January 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
      • MR

        Lmao, what a yokel.

        January 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
      • Flint Fredstone

        I think it's really cool that she keeps Satan in her house because he makes good toast.

        January 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
  18. Morality

    Short sightedness of the people now-a-days are rampant. Celebrating evil seems like just-for-fun and with no bad intentions. But people are not the same. There are many lost people everywhere. They are NOT emotionally stable and morally intelligent. And one thing they need is a statue of evil.

    Gangs are Camaraderie but with a simple symbol within their psyche people can become murderer.

    Society needs to uplift GOODNESS in symbols at least. You will never know how it helps.

    Just like in a woman. They need to put on lipstick no matter how ugly they are. You will never know how people think of you. Someone might love u because of it.


    January 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
    • Damocles

      Q-tips aren't supposed to go but so deep.

      January 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
      • Love It

        I meant Damocles is the bestest – but Coral, you're not bad either. 😉

        January 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • Venn

      Not everyone thinks of Satan as the bad guy. Without him humans wouldn't have the knowledge of right from wrong, and wouldn't need redemption from God, right? No Satan, no Christianity.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
      • Uncommon Sense

        Gee Venn, I didn't have to go to church to know that killing people isn't nice. Is that where you finally got the message? How sad.

        January 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
      • Venn

        How did you come to think that I ever belonged to a church?

        January 8, 2014 at 10:14 am |
  19. coral

    First, that head looks like no goat I've ever encountered. Second, what's the point? Do the satanists not know that their association with 'pagans' opens them to ridicule (with many neo-paganist groups)? The word is from the Latin meaning rustic, a bumbling idiot. If you believe only in Satan, call yourselves monotheistic. If you believe in other deities, then you are polytheists. Luckily I am too old to live to see where these conflicts will end, but I see something like the witch hunts of old. Who will be the witches, who the persecutors, who knows?

    Why is religious belief so controversial? Why is religion, which preaches life and let live, love, etc. the most intolerant of all philosophies?

    January 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
    • Euell Gibbons

      It's not a goat. It's the head of the chupacabra. And believe me, they won't settle for a blue-eyed scallop for dinner.

      January 7, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
    • Venn

      What are you then: A monotheist or a polytheist? If people get to call themselves Christians for believing in Christ, then why shouldn't people who worship Satan not call themselves Satanists?

      January 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Rustic doesn't mean bumbling idiot. Not sure where you are getting that from.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • Webby

        "Rustic", can be used in a derogatory sense.

        lacking the sophistication of the city; backward and provincial.

        synonyms: unsophisticated, uncultured, unrefined, simple;
        artless, unassuming, guileless, naive, ingenuous;
        coa.rse, rough, uncouth, boorish;
        informal: hillbilly, hick, farm-boy, hayseed

        January 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
        • Webby

          * sheesh, couldn't get that to post until I found the zinger, "coa.rse" (another a.rse word for the list!)

          January 7, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Satanists aren't Pagans. Satan is not a part of any Pagan faith that I am familiar with. Satan comes from Judeo-Christian mythology.

      Yes, many Christians dress him to look like any of several Pagan gods, but that doesn't mean he is one.

      Then again Baphomet isn't exactly Satan either. Just like all religions, Satanism borrows from those that came before it and makes it their own.

      January 7, 2014 at 9:49 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.