The Satanic Temple is preparing a demonic statue for the Oklahoma Statehouse, reports Vice. The group is reacting to a statue of the Ten Commandments erected on the site in 2012, which it believes is a violation of the separation of church and state.
Neither statue was funded by taxpayers. Oklahoma state representative Mike Ritze paid for the Ten Commandments sculpture, while the Satanic Temple turned to Indiegogo, exceeding its $20,000 goal by 50 percent. Individuals and groups are free to apply to place artworks on government properties, but in the wake of the pending lawsuit against the Ten Commandments work, the state has temporarily stopped issuing monument permits.
According to Lucien Greaves, a spokesperson for the Temple, the plan is not to wait for official approval. “We are fully willing to place our monument at the Capitol, even while the ACLU suit is fought, with the understanding that a judgment against the Ten Commandments will have ramifications for our monument as well, likely resulting in the removal of both.”
Defenders of the Ten Commandments say that, unlike a monument to the devil, the scriptural tablets are the basic foundations for United States law. Greaves adamantly disagrees, calling the idea “absurd and obscene.”
He believes “that the message behind our monument speaks more directly to the formation of US Constitutional values than the Ten Commandments possibly could. It especially does so when it stands directly beside the Ten Commandments, as it affirms no one religion enjoys legal preference.”
The statue depicts the goat-man hybrid Baphomet, the pagan idol the Knights Templar were accused of worshiping, enthroned before two adoring children. The work is described by Vice as “a testament to the glory of the Angel of the Bottomless Pit,” and is currently being created in New York by a classically trained artist.
Greaves is confident that the monument will be completed soon, and plans to create a mold of the work so that it can be easily recast in the event of vandalism. He told Vice that he “wouldn’t expect these outraged and nearly insensible reactionaries to actually know how to assault a bronze monument without severely hurting themselves in the process.”
Other groups have recently reacted negatively to public displays of religious imagery. In Florida, over the winter holidays, a local man erected a Seinfeld-inspired Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in protest of a nativity scene. The pole attracted criticism from a number of conservative pundits and made national news.
Alex Weintz, a spokesperson for Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, denies that the demonic statue will ever be installed. “There will never be a satanic monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol and the suggestion that there might be is absurd,” he told Fox News.
The Satanic Temple doesn’t mind if things don’t work out in Oklahoma. “There are no shortage of public locations across the US where religious monuments await a contrasting voice,” says Greaves.
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