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. ecleggett

    And Christians wonder why atheists emphasize separation of CHURCH & STATE

    February 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
    • basedrum777


      February 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
      • tensai13

        Amen to that.

        February 7, 2014 at 3:18 am |
  2. nik green

    Strange. The legions of so-called "Christians" in the Bible Belt have taken to taken to greed, materialism and other aspects of Satanism, while the apparent Satanists are embracing "comassion and empathy".

    Talk about a role reversal!

    February 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • Even stranger

      Neither of them exist so where does that leave us all?

      February 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
  3. Joe Ma

    Anyone who says Satan has no part of our history in this country needs to look at the forefathers, the masons, our government and the money that's in their pocket. In God We Trust.... we just don't specify which god. Gotcha'.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Even stranger

      If neither of them are there it really doesn't matter much.

      February 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  4. Napoleon

    Satan you fat lard, come get some dinner

    February 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
  5. a-boy-scout-assingment

    I for one totaly agree with Paul Wesselhoft. The satanists have no historical signifigance in this country (not even just in oklahoma). I dont understand why they dont realize this but the only thing they've ever done was argue that we need to include them in things they havent helped us with. Plus this country was founded apon the priciples of christian religions. (mainly cahtolics) There were no satanists on the "La Santa Maria" No pentagrams carved on or brought in the May Flower. They all belive in two things. They needed to get away from their monarchy and god was real(along with all the teachings he brings). This is what drove our country to what it is today. forget all the debt and think about all of great accomplishments. And all the pride we have during the olympics. None of this would have come to pass if these things did not happen. If those Chritsians did not set rules for their new country around the principles of their own religon. If we did not gain our freedom from an overpowerful monarchy. so, i firmly believe that you can say what you want, Make as many blue prints as you need of your goat but no Christian in their right mind is come help you erect your statue.

    February 1, 2014 at 12:20 am |
    • Napoleon

      It's like my favorite animal, the liger. It's a cross between a lion and a tiger, but with super powers.

      February 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
      • 00mpal00mpa

        Napoleon, Ligers are REAL. Lions and Tigers belong to the same genus and have the same number of chromosomes(19 pairs). However, Ligers don't have any super powers afterall but nonetheless they are the largest living cats. Adult males weigh in around 900-1000 pounds.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • Observer


      Fortunately, our great nation does not base it's laws on the Bible. We got rid of slavery, discriminations, etc.

      February 1, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
    • basedrum777

      Boy Scout: since about 1/2 of the US is now non-religious I'm sure they'll find some very eager workers to help put their statue together. Other than that your entire post was BS and based on a worldview where the religious are only responsible for the "good" they've done and none of the bad. You sound like the Taliban.

      February 6, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
  6. I want a Satan

    I want a big section of farm land in Oklahoma penned off and I want a Satan or two. Of course I'd have to buy Satan food. But if I had a Satan I'd name him Tina just like the one in Napoleon Dynamite. Except that one couldn't fly.

    January 31, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
    • I want a Satan


      "Tina you fat lard, come get some food". So cute.

      January 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • Napoleon

        That would be sweet

        February 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  7. Bones McCoy

    They should tear down all statues and religious monuments in public / government property. If not, you open the door for hundreds of possible statues and it will just get too confusing and too crowded. America was founded on freedom of religion. Instead of hundreds of statues, make one that symbolizes religious freedom and unity. That's all that really matters.

    January 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  8. The weather girls

    God bless Mother Nature, she's a single woman too
    She took off to heaven and she did what she had to do
    She taught every angel to rearrange the sky
    So that each and every woman could find her perfect guy
    It's Raining Men! Hallelujah! – It's Raining Men! Amen!
    It's Raining Men! Hallelujah!
    It's Raining Men! Ame---nnnn!

    January 26, 2014 at 5:54 am |
  9. Buckshot

    I wonder if some Oklahoman now wants to have the head of the antichrist mounted on their living room wall next to their Remington. If not Oklahoma definitely Texas.

    January 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
  10. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Yay! They mentioned me in the article!

    January 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
    • Parmesan


      Long distance dedication for the FSM

      January 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
    • Ray Sanders

      Pastafarians, a satirical religion that "worships" the Flying Spaghetti Monster......Do not persecute the Pastafarians. They have as much evidence that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists as any other religion has evidence that their God exists.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • djangoboy

        More evidence, actually. There's pasta! A gift from FSM!

        March 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
  11. Poltergist

    No one wants a 7 foot furry statue.

    January 25, 2014 at 12:09 am |
  12. six1forecords

    Reblogged this on six1forecords and commented:
    Pay attention to everything going on around you people...

    January 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
  13. Joe

    And this is why we should not allow ANY of them on public property – Really ( Religion) / (Government) Islam keeps wanting to mix the two and it works so well for them.

    January 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bones McCoy

      Agreed. Tear them all down, otherwise this will just lead to others doing the same and before you know it there will be hundreds of statues for each possible religion, even Jedi. If anything, they should have a universal statue that symbolizes religious freedom, instead of each individual religion getting a voice. Our country was founded primarily on freedom of religion.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
  14. Satan

    How come you made me look like an alpaca?

    January 19, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  15. HappyBeliever

    Don't let these evil, vile creatures try to harm the goodness of the human soul. All they want to do is cause harm and detriment to those who have an inner joy. But the strong and good believers know that the shield of light will always deflect the swords of darkness. Walk in the light, be joyful in your heart, see God's simple beauties in all of creation and don't falter under these people's attempt to throw you off the path of glory. Yes, they are trying to make our society dark and dreary and if that's how they want to live, that's their choice. But that's not how I will live nor do I want anything to do with these types of people.

    January 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Frankly, I don't want anything to do with them either. I don't want anything to do with the rabid fundies who want 10 Commandment monuments in front of every courthouse either. Opening the door to the one opens the door for the other.

      I've got an idea–why don't we just have no religious monuments on government property? Let's keep the government secular (neutral with regards to religion), and let people practice freely without the government favoring any religion? Build up that "wall of separation" and get rid of ALL the monuments.

      January 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
      • Rascal262


        January 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Tonya

        Couldn't have said it better...It's called separation of church and state people!!!

        January 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  16. I dare you

    Sure you guys are all brave when it comes to Satan, but can you handle Bloody Mary? I dare you to take a candle, go into the bathroom at midnight and say "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary", I forget how many times, but let me know what happens.

    January 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Austin

      The only thing that happens when I say "Bloody Mary" a bunch of times is that I drive my truck through churches and have demon squish-kitty visions from God.

      Yeah, there is a mirror behind the bartender. How did you know?

      January 19, 2014 at 5:43 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.