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. karnaval2

    It's just a statue of a man wearing a goat's head mask... or of Baphomet if that is what you believe it to be. You are free to react to it in any way you choose. Admire it, criticize it, bow down to it, curse it, or whatever... you are your own master, the final choice is yours. The devil can tempt you all he wants to do his bidding, but you still have to make the final move. The devil can't do it for you.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  2. ddeldude

    Satan Bless America! The land of the wicked and the home of the insanely free.

    March 30, 2014 at 8:54 am |
  3. anavinjohnson

    Once you open the door to allow one group to show their view it allows all to show their views. The state cannot show favoritsism over one belief system over another. England had this which is why settlers left England in the first place. We never learn from our past. Shameful.

    March 30, 2014 at 12:44 am |
    • ddeldude

      Next thing you know there will be statues of pedophiles, rapists, serial killers and drug cartels. "In America, you can be anything you want to be, and if you have enough money, you can hire lawyers to keep you out of prisons too." Satan Bless America!

      March 30, 2014 at 8:52 am |
      • matthewmonroe

        I agree, I am revolted and traumatized by this idea. I am not kidding either! This is not OK regardless of what belief system a person holds.

        April 1, 2014 at 5:09 am |
        • samsjmail

          My Totem Pole is appalled as well. I hope to have a replica erected there soon.

          April 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  4. abundantlife

    Evil doers are these satanist, whose end is destruction unless they repent. . http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/satanic-temple-looking-build-statue-baphomet-oklahoma-state-capitol/

    March 29, 2014 at 11:23 am |
  5. chosenbygrace

    funny, because it's so over the top, yet still an abomination. if that does make it to a "state house", surely these are the last of the last days then

    March 28, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
    • lilithlore

      Last days because of a statue? – lol. Pretty weak 'god' you have there.

      March 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
  6. codenine75a

    meh. At least they do not hide their places of worship in residents. Yeah and there is no black garb assassin around in it. So it would work. Yeah. I guess someone has to visit one of their churches just to see how evil it is instead of gocking at it like brat. Hey, it could be a great haunted house trip if I went and visited one of their places of worship.

    March 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
  7. evinar

    I'm not scared one bit by Satanists. They're generally nice people, who believe if one religion gets to put up their idols, that they should–and they're LESS hypocritical when they do it!

    Besides, Satanism is a REACTION to Christianity, more like a protest. Protesting Christianity? We need more of it.

    March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am |
  8. hearthetruthonline2014

    take a look at http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com


    March 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
  9. atheist85306

    I laughed so freaking hard when I read this that I spit out my milkshake! Good for the Satanists! If Christians get put up symbols of THEIR mythology, then why not the Satanists?

    March 17, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • evinar


      March 22, 2014 at 12:26 am |
  10. devilsadvocate01

    Love it!!! Hail Satan, the best friend mankind ever had!

    March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  11. Aquarian Treasures

    How do these christians know that Satan looks like a anthropomorphic goat headed thing with horns? That is sheer stupidity and religious nincompoopery. Most of the evil in this world is done my average good looking people. Religion is such a retrograde force on humans...

    March 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  12. cleareye1

    Why not? Throw in a Ganeesh or two while they're at it.

    March 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  13. kensai2000

    Uh-oh...some of the things going on today or some of the things that the big guy said he got angry over in the first place and statues of other dieties- a big no, no. And a statue symbolizing Lucifer of all things. Well we started out as a nation of God and we prospered. We have moved to become a nation of heathen religions and atheist and we will suffer- we are already. Satanist think its a literary figure- I think its a slap to the face of my God. This nation wouldn't founded on the principles of other religions. I don't believe in suppressing no one in their religious practices, but I think if you live in this nation- you should respect it was found on the ideas of Christianity and its prominent in the founding government. That should never be changed or disrespected, yet does not mean you have to follow. Anyway, this is an idea for Satanist to get a prominent hold in the religious circle of society. I would rather see a statue of Buddha, Krishna or beings that represent good or holiness, not heathenism or atheism.

    March 7, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • kdostaingive1973

      After been without work for 6 months, I started freelancing over this site and with a little effort I easily bring in around $65 to $95 per/h! Without any doubt, it's the easiest and most financially rewarding job I've ever had. It changed my life for the better and now I couldn't be happier. This is what I do... Jobs29.com

      March 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You're kidding right? Did you learn history from fox news?

      March 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
    • melthekitchenwitch

      If you have ever celebrated Christmas, decorated a Christmas tree, put a wreath on your front door, kissed under the mistletoe, dyed Easter eggs, decorated your home with bunnies or have made/eaten hot cross buns, then you my dear are an insanely ignorant hypocrite. You do realize that all if not most of your Christian traditions were stolen from Pagan rituals and symbolism right? You've never asked yourself what the heck a rabbit has to do with the resurrection of Christ? All of your days of the week were named after the gods and goddesses that some of us still seek wisdom and understanding from today. Now, if you haven't participated in any of the following things I listed above, then kudos to you and proceed to live by an "ignorance is bliss" standard of living.

      March 15, 2014 at 2:19 am |
    • kris799

      Buddha is NOT a god. It is an enlightened individual, so you or I could be Buddha. Many Buddhists believe Jesus was a Buddha.

      March 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
    • Aquarian Treasures

      You incorrectly assume your christianity and the jeesus god is the ultimate. Hindus have gods that look like elephants and monkeys and even blue skinned people. Muslims have a demon god of the moon called allah. The list is long and why religion is bad for humans.

      March 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  14. thedevilinamerica

    Reblogged this on The Devil in America.

    March 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  15. codenine75a

    Egyptian gods had the same look. 🙂 Who said darth vader had to follow the sith lord.

    March 3, 2014 at 2:35 am |
  16. mickinmd

    Since "nearly two-thirds of the population is Christian," why is there a statue honoring the Jews, who were the ones given the Ten Commandments?

    And considering 76% – over three-fourths – of the American population is Christian, one has to ask: what happened in Oklahoma to knock down the percent who are Christian? Maybe statues representing other faiths are more proper there than in most states of the USA!

    March 1, 2014 at 7:02 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.