OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — A New York-based Satanist group has unveiled its design for its proposed ‘homage to Satan,’ which it seeks to place next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building.
As previously reported, the Satanic Temple issued a news release about its intentions last month, outlining that the placement of the display may resolve the dispute over the Ten Commandments monument, which is currently the subject of a federal lawsuit.
“[T]he 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 2009 bill authorizing the monument acknowledged. “[T]he 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.”
The six-foot display was erected in 2012, but the ACLU said that the monument was unconstitutional.
“The monument’s placement at the Capitol has created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans,” stated Ryan Kiesel, the executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma, in a news release. “When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal.”
This past August, the organization filed suit against the monument, with the lead plaintiff being minister Bruce Prescott, the director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. Prescott said that mixing the sacred with the secular in such a manner cheapens the display, and asserted that it violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
To solve the dispute, the Satanic Temple offered to to donate a public monument to be placed near the Ten Commandments display in order to “appease the ACLU’s concerns.” This week, it unveiled the design for the display, releasing a drawing of the goat-headed figure Baphomet sitting on a throne with a pentagram overhead and the inscription “The spirit of compassion, wisdom and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.” Smiling children stand on both sides of Baphoment, who is making the hand sign for the occult.
Other quotes will also be included on the monument, including “Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with bricks of religion.”
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained in his application to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission. “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.”
“We trust that this unique monument will also prove a favorite tourist attraction to Oklahoma’s Capitol for years to come,” he added in a news release on Monday.
But some have stated that if the display is approved, it will be anything but a favorite of local residents.
“I think you’ve got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” Representative Don Armes told the Associated Press. “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.”
Representative Earl Sears likewise called the monument “an insult to the good people of the state.”
As previously reported, last month, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission issued a temporary ban on new displays next to the Ten Commandments monument until the legal challenge runs its course through the courts.