Oklahoma Satanists Seek Statue at Statehouse
The New York-based Satanic Temple is now demanding its own statue beside one displaying the Ten Commandments currently on the steps of the Statehouse in Oklahoma City.
Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said the group will submit several designs this month, and according to USA Today, he has begun spelling out guidelines:
"We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards," Greaves wrote in letter to state officials. "Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines."
Greaves said one potential design involves a pentagram, a satanic symbol, while another is meant to be an interactive display for children. He said he expects the monument, if approved by Oklahoma officials, would cost about $20,000.
The Ten Commandments monument was approved by the state legislature in 2009. It was privately funded and placed on the steps in 2012. The bill justified the decision using nonreligious language:
The Ten Commandments are an important component of the foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma. The courts of the United States of America and of various states frequently cite the Ten Commandments in published decisions, and acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America.
State Rep. Mike Ritze (R) pushed for the Ten Commandments monument. Greaves has given him credit for opening public spaces to the Satanist group, arguing, "Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome."
The ACLU, citing similar reasons, has filed a lawsuit to have the Ten Commandments monument removed. It is arguing that the "constitution forbids using state property to endorse particular religions or denominations."
The Liberty Institute, a Texas-based legal group, is working with the Oklahoma government to prove the monument is lawful:
The ACLU and others have made it their mission to eliminate any trace of religion from public view. Legislative prayer, city-sponsored senior wellness centers, town Christmas displays, sacred veterans memorials… nothing and no one is safe from their attacks. However, Liberty Institute is fighting back.