The New York-based Satanic Temple unveiled its design Monday for a monument it hopes to place at the Oklahoma State Capitol next to the Ten Commandment monument currently on display. An artist’s rendering depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings, and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. The 7-foot-tall statue would showcase Satan sitting on a pentagram-adorned throne with a child on each side smiling up at him.
“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said in a 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.”
But one Los Angeles Times editorial writer saw another purpose for the statue: Why not employ the lap of Satan for punishment? Parents could use the chair as a time-out for naughty children.
The Satanic Temple has raised all the cash needed to fund the $20,000 monument, imparting special titles and thank you gifts to contributors depending on the amount of the gift. For a $50 donation, supporters received the title “Satanic Pride” and a T-shirt; for $100, a donor became a “Defiant Angel” with a T-shirt and mug; a donor who gave a $250 gift transformed into an “Icon of Dissent” and collected a T-shirt, mug, bumper sticker, and five-pack of buttons.
Joking aside, Greaves is serious about forcing Oklahoma to display the statue, arguing that because the state accepted a donated Ten Commandments monument, it must also accept monuments representing other religions. But the temple’s push has rankled elected leaders in the conservative state who say such a proposal would never be approved by the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission.
“I think you’ve got to remember where you are,” said Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon. “This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland. I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that’s not going to fly here.”
The Liberty Institute supports Oklahoma’s right to accept or reject whatever monuments the elected local government deems appropriate, according to a precedent set by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009, which argued that “if governments must maintain viewpoint neutrality in selecting donated monuments, they must either prepare for cluttered parks or face pressure to remove longstanding and cherished monuments.”
The Satanic Temple wants to be recognized as an altruistic group that “does good,” just like Christians. The organization’s mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people,” according to its website.
“It doesn’t matter if you are doing good in the name of Satan or the name of Jesus Christ, as long as you are doing good,” Greaves told The Los Angeles Times.
But the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “… Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”