OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — A New York-based Satanist group has released photographs of its sculpted ‘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 December, 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.”
“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.”
Although the application had not yet been approved, Greave’s organization proceeded to launch an indiegogo fundraising campaign, which raised over $28,000 for the creation of the monument. This week, the Satanic Temple released photographs of the sculpture, which features the goat-headed figure Baphomet making the sign for the occult, as children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides. Off to the side stands what will be a throne for Satan, engraved with a pentagram overhead.
“We’re coming along rather quickly, and the sculpture work for the monument is nearly completed,” Greaves told ABC News. “Ultimately, it is to be cast in bronze. I don’t want to put too definite a date on it … but we’re looking at months.”
He explained to the outlet that he believes “that the message behind our monument speaks more directly to the formation of U.S. constitutional values than the Ten Commandments possibly could.”
However, some state that the proposed “homage to Satan” is offensive to Oklahoma 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.”
No official decisions will be made on the proposal until a ruling is issued in the Ten Commandments case.