Art and Design | News | Oklahoma

Satanic Statue Proposal For Oklahoma State Capitol Revealed, Controversy Just Beginning


We previously reported on their funding efforts (and their disdain for the Westboro Baptist Church), and now they've delivered. The Satanic Temple, a Satanist group based out of New York, has revealed a design of a 7-foot statue, including a pentagram, a "goat-headed Baphomet," and two children looking on, which would join an already-constructed monument commemorating the Ten Commandments on the lawn of Oklahoma's state capitol.

The Oklahoma legislators approved the privately-funded Ten Commandments statue in 2009, a move that was immediately faced with an ACLU lawsuit. Incidentally, the lawsuit, which hopes to remove the Ten Commandments statue, now stands in the way of approval for the Satanists and other groups: the Oklahoma City Preservation Committee voted to ban construction of new monuments on capitol grounds until a judge rules on the case. reports on the Satanist statue controversy:

“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” said spokesman Lucian Greaves. “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.”...

"Either way you cut it, this is a First Amendment issue," Greaves said. "Once they open that door, they can't discriminate."...

Greaves assured the Satanists’ monument would be “in good taste and consistent with community standards.”

He also noted that there were a surprising amount of Oklahomans interested in constructing the statue. Still, state legislators have decided that the Satanists may not build their statue alongside the Ten Commandments, though their decision is moot until the ACLU lawsuit is up.

Lucian Greaves summed up the importance of Satanism, and its deserved place alongside the capitol, eloquently:

“Medieval witch-hunts taught us to adopt presumption of innocence, secular law, and a more substantive burden of proof,” he said.

“Today, we are rightly offended by the notion of blasphemy laws and divine fiats. Acknowledging wrongful persecutions has helped shape the legal system that preserves the sovereignty of our skeptics, heretics, and the misunderstood. It has shaped a proud culture of tolerance and free inquiry. This is to be a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority, and the unjustly outcast.”

What do you think of the Satanist statue?

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  1. I think it's cool. Where can I get one? I'm an atheist but I like to decorate with all kinds of religious iconography and statuary: Pagan, Wiccan, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Ancient Greek/Roman/Viking... I'd love to add a Satanist Baphomet sculpture to my collection.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 7, 2014 6:38:20 PM


    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jan 7, 2014 6:46:39 PM

  3. I need one for my lawn.

    Posted by: Conyers | Jan 7, 2014 6:47:28 PM

  4. Religious statues have no place on public property so if you allow one you need to allow the others!! Im sure the OK Christians are gagging! hahahaha!

    Posted by: Chicklets | Jan 7, 2014 6:49:07 PM

  5. They have GOT to make these things for sale (albeit a smaller version that would fit on a shelf). A symbol of free speech AND a snuggly, cozy chair for my Jesus Action Figure doll. The power of Christ compels you!

    Posted by: Joseph L. | Jan 7, 2014 6:50:43 PM

  6. Hail Satan

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 7, 2014 6:51:03 PM

  7. If you are a dualistic thinking type, you will hate this, because it pushes your anger/defense/rule buttons. If you are a person who thinks the universe moves in a loving arc away from all of that, you might see how this will move thoughtful people even more toward empathy. If you are a seeker of wisdom, you might feel this points toward an understanding of how we have got to this point and where else we might go as we now are free to grow...

    Posted by: Chazwm | Jan 7, 2014 6:52:39 PM

  8. For some reason I find this absolutely hysterical.

    Posted by: Reginald | Jan 7, 2014 6:53:14 PM

  9. Freedom of religion means ALL religion, right?

    Posted by: Walter | Jan 7, 2014 6:59:41 PM

  10. Ugly and funny at the same time.

    Posted by: Fox | Jan 7, 2014 7:14:49 PM

  11. I LOVE THIS! *THIS* is *EXACTLY* why you keep religion out of government. If you bring one in you best be prepared to bring ALL of them (and even us Atheists, too) in!

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 7, 2014 7:18:49 PM

  12. I'm willing to bet that if it ever does end up being built and placed on the OK capital grounds, once you get past the initial controversy, it will still be a bigger tourist draw then the 10 commandments monument.

    Posted by: Chris K | Jan 7, 2014 7:27:16 PM

  13. If it goes up, it will be vandalized immediately and repeatedly by christians.

    Posted by: woody | Jan 7, 2014 7:27:34 PM

  14. The goat of Mendes? ReallY?

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Jan 7, 2014 7:31:38 PM

  15. Extremely important case. If one group is allowed (sanctioned by government) to have religious statuary/iconography in government spaces why can't all others have representation? The foothold of theocracy.

    Bravo Lucien Greaves.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Jan 7, 2014 7:35:30 PM

  16. I love the statue and hope the one of the Flying Spaghetti monster is clever. From this atheist, I love religious iconography and old prints, used to have a lit-from-the-back image of Jesus, which changed when you approached it to his hands clasped and praying. It was hysterical.

    Posted by: Jonna the Woodswoman | Jan 7, 2014 7:36:50 PM

  17. i find it amusing that these same christians, who are supposed to be monotheists are in fact polytheists; there's god, then jesus the son of god, and the holy ghost, whatever that is supposed to be. then there's satan who is given god like powers and many christians also revere mary mother of god/jesus. I always wondered too, if god, being omnipotent, was truly opposed to satan, why couldn't he simply uncreate him? I am glad to see this effort to get a statue to satan erected. perhaps it'll force the christians who are in favor of the 10 commandments on government property to read the constitution.

    Posted by: ian | Jan 7, 2014 8:04:36 PM

  18. Too bad Ruth Gordon isn't alive so we could ask her opinion.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Jan 7, 2014 8:20:19 PM

  19. Baphomet is not Satan... and the history of the image is pretty enlightening. The figures have been available on Amazon and eBay for years...

    Posted by: Dr C | Jan 7, 2014 8:27:04 PM

  20. Satanist have as much right as any other religion- or just look at the Kardashians.

    Posted by: jarago | Jan 7, 2014 8:28:00 PM

  21. Oklahomans have been asking for this for a long time. Keep your religion in your head where it belongs.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jan 7, 2014 8:29:18 PM

  22. Funniest thing I've seen in a while!

    The counter argument is that the ten commandments are essentially secular, like Christmas is a federal holiday now. Also, there are restrictions on non-notable points of view in first amendment debates. That is, the state can argue that there are so few Satanists that their views really don't matter when it comes to public monument building. This type of ruling helps prevent use of commons areas from getting out of hand. If you think that this sort of thing is arbitrary--it is, but it's been used for decades to hand radio and TV licenses to large corporations and take them from individuals and small companies that have supposedly "no notability by which to make proper use of a scarce public resource". It's also been applied in trademark and franchise laws. So, I would expect the court to rule that the Satanists cannot claim enough notability to force the public to provide space for their statue.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 7, 2014 8:36:34 PM

  23. WANT

    Posted by: Rahu | Jan 7, 2014 8:44:44 PM

  24. ...there was a little toolshed where he made us suffer...

    Posted by: Quicksilver | Jan 7, 2014 8:51:16 PM

  25. I just posted a funny wisecrack about having three
    statues - the 10 commandments one, a Satan one, and a Jesus one with the biblical quote, "Get behind me, Satan." Towleroad's server dropped it, and I am not going to try to re-write it.

    Guys, can't you fix your servers?

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 7, 2014 9:05:06 PM

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