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. Jessica McGwin

    Talk about being in the Hot seat.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  2. Oregon

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • G to the T

      But 3 lefts do!

      January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • Snafu

      One wrong doesn't make a right either.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • dlindie

      But 2 Wrights make an airplane!

      January 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
  3. Skeptacular

    I really like the design a lot. Might look great in front of Fox Studios as well.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • John@

      Where they make Family Guy?

      January 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Josh

      Nothing says, "We're more loving and compassionate than you" like a statue designed for the soul purpose of making someone angry. At least stop acting high and mighty if you're going to be so childish.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
  4. Dustin

    If Lucien Greaves is not the most perfect name for a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, then I sure don't know what is.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  5. JMO

    Cthulhu saves!!!!! He loves the leftovers.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  6. Norm

    This is hilarious! And certainly shows how idiotic only allowing Christian monuments is. They are trying very hard to have a Christian-only country. We've seen what happens in other countries when religious fundamentalists take over governments.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  7. pat

    "I believe that only monuments that reflect Oklahoma values should be allowed on the capitol grounds," state Rep. Bob Cleveland told CNN in December. -- That's the problem, Bob. You are the problem.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  8. K-switch

    If they wanted to be crafty about it, they could make the statue look like an angel, as Lucifer was. And then have small print about satanism. All the kids could say, "look at the pretty angel."

    January 7, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  9. Steel On Target

    "monuments that reflect Oklahoma values "
    Wait a minute, isn't this "The Sooner State"? What values? Stealing land from indians and cheating on public land grants? Yes a statue of Satan should have a quite prominent state historical significance.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  10. Mercury

    Slap the goat onto a horse, and it becomes significant to OK's history. Having the kids looking underfed and holding a bowl of dust would work, too.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  11. jonathanL

    I propose to replace all the heavy stone made statues and monuments and free up space for doing things. These deists are all so pushy and they want to turn every public venue into a battle ground. America is secular. Religionists have been trying to insert the 2 cents of every denomination since the government was founded, much to the chagrin of the practical minded common sense spirit of a secular gonverment. Oh Allah help us if the Muslims ever obtain a majority and we don't have the tule of separation of church and state firmly in place! In Allah we trust? Not in your sweet short life. Don't assume we all trust the same deity, or even a deity. Please practice as you will but stop mucking up the public places with your relgionist deist flim flam.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • dogon

      Right on!!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  12. Deb in MT

    This is the funniest thing I've read this week! The article also states that the Pastafarians (R'amen, brethren) and a Hindu group have applied as well. Good for them!

    I'm waiting for the Scientologists to present their statue design, as well. This could be a terrific tourist attraction: I know I'd like to see it.

    See what happens when you ignore the 1st Amendment, Xtianists?

    January 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Quite right. A statue of the FSM with his noodly appendages dra ped over the ten commandments monolith, lovely.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • Wargames

        I would pack up the family truckster and go see the FSM. Pirate attire required!

        January 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Derek

      Pastafarians.......ROFLMAO....... THAT is hilarious =D

      January 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  13. ErnieK

    Is this the same Satanist group that post-humously baptized the grandmother of the Westboro Baptists so that they'd have to condemn her along with everyone else when they did their big protests?

    If so, I'll donate a few bucks to the statue...

    January 7, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  14. Theodore Hyczko

    Jesus Christ said he would be preached to the whole world this has happen! Jesus Christ also said when he comes back it will be like the days of Noah.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • MoveForward

      Ah, yes just like the days of Noah. In other words, it will never happen.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • David

      It's been worse than the times of Noah for a long time. Spoiler Alert: Nothing is going to happen.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • Mercury

      Except it's really not.

      January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  15. ImvotingforHillary

    What I find so amusing is the CONservative Christians have done more to advance the cause of satan an any satan worshipper ever could. I have never seen a satan worshipper jump all over gays, yet turn a blind eye to the adulterers and fornicators in their midst. I have never seen a satan worshipper say all manner of vile racist things toward a black president and then lie and claim they just don't like his policies. I have seen no satan worshipper do all they can to hurt the poor and sick while throwing money at the rich and trying to repeal Obamacare. These CONservative Christians should put down the GOP Bible and pick up the REAL Bible and start reading it instead of playing into the hands of the devil with their corrupt version of Christianity that does nothing, but turn people away from Christ.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Chaz

      Well at least the Conservative Christian Republicans didnt have to Vote to Put GOD back into their Convention and then Boooooooooooooooooooooooooed....

      Die Satan democrats Die all of you,,, your goal is to put everyone on Big Goobernment Planmation prgorams(SLAVERY)

      January 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
      • Patrick in Wisconsin

        Funniest thing I've read all day!

        Oh wait, you were serious? Now that's funny!

        January 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
  16. gladiatorgrl

    Bill Nye is going to debate at the Creation Museum – $25. DEFINATELY worth the price of admission bring PLENTY of popcorn!!

    January 7, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • MoveForward

      Not sure how this relates to the Satanists stature story. Satanism and the devil are human concepts just like god. They spring from the need for some degree of certainty. The primary concepts behind most religions are based on wishful thinking. Satanism and Christianity are no different from each other in this matter.

      The debate between the creationists and Bill Nye is all about rationality and irrationality. Of which, I would place creationists firmly in the latter.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • nybrit

      Unfortunately it will be a shame, as Ken Ham will just make things up and make the debate about opinions not facts.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  17. gladiatorgrl

    CLASSIC!!!! hahhahaha

    January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
  18. gladiatorgrl


    January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
  19. Wally Plemton, Native Oklahoman

    That statue does represent traditional Oklahoman values. Heck, it looks a lot like my cousin Baaahb and my sister Ewenice. Gets lonely out here in the plains, always have. It's an Oklahoma thing, and if you city slickers don't like it, you just stick to your human women.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Darwin

      Hey Wally, it also says in Genesis Chapter 6 that God had TWO OR MORE SONS (in addition to Jesus I assume), and these guys went down to Oklahoma and slept with them beautiful Oklahoma girls. Goll-lee, I bet they don't teach THAT in Sunday school!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • That's interesting

        "The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose."

        Well ain't that something? The sons of God were physical and liked to boink lesser species.

        The Bible is just bizarre.

        January 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ohhhh-klahoma

      Where the corn is as high as a Nephilim's eye....

      January 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
  20. Txikitxakurra

    Good for the Satanists! Freedom of religion is a wonderful thing. I for one can not wait to sit and contemplate on Satan's lap. Without Satan there would be no need for Christ. So in fact Satan is deeply ingrained in the Christian tradition and should be honored.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • Winston Blake

      Satan is a Jewish invention... Christians had nothing to do with it...

      January 18, 2014 at 8:33 am |
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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.