‘Child-Friendly’ Satan Statue for Okla. State Capitol Awaits Final Judgment
Written by: Michael W. Chapman (Published: May 5, 2014-1:33PM)
Imagine strolling along the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol one sunny afternoon when suddenly you’re greeted by a seven-foot tall statue of Satan. A satanic temple, based in New York, unveiled such plans earlier last year in hopes to have the satanic monument placed on the grounds of the Oklahoma state Capitol. The proposed monument comes in a direct response to the state’s installation of another monument done in 2012 of the Ten Commandments. The group has formally submitted a request to the Preservation Commission committee, a panel that oversees the state’s grounds in hopes to have the seven-foot statue erected alongside the Ten Commandments. The seven-foot statue, which is to be cast in Bronze, depicts Baphomet, a figure symbolically representative of the Church of Satan on a chair with the pentagram. More interestingly enough, two children, a young boy and girl, are also depicted alongside the satanic figure.
Aside from its functional purpose, in which the construction of the monument itself encourages visitors to engage and interact with it, Lucien Greaves, a spokesman of the Satanic Temple says the icon of Satan itself reflects “selfless revolt against tyranny, free and rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness”. However, what many people seems to overlook or fail to realize, due to their own ignorance and blindness, is that this piece warrants concerns that is much larger than itself – the fact that it violates the First Amendment clause, which separates the church and state. With the installation of The Ten Commandments monument, other religious groups have also placed petitions to have monuments placed on the state’s ground as well. Such matters have prompted the American Civil Liberties Union of the Oklahoma Foundation to file a lawsuit against the state to have the Ten Commandments monument removed, arguing in favor that it violates “the state’s constitution and conveys state endorsement and support of an explicitly religious message on pubic property”. As a result of the ongoing lawsuit filed against them, a halt has been placed on any installation of monument including that of the Satanic Sculpture.
If America was indeed a pluralistic nation, then the state needs to reflect these ideals in their actions. In regards to the issue, it would be best to remove the Ten Commandments monument and prohibit the installation of any religious sculpture on state’s grounds. Such actions pose a threat to the sanctity and legitimacy of the American constitution- laws that see the separation of church and state as an important tenet of American democracy. However, it seems that the general arguments surrounding the satanic sculpture are more so centered on the idea of what the sculpture “possibly” promotes, embodies and represents – the idea that Satanists, and the religion itself symbolizes evil and corruption. The issue surrounding most new religious groups, such as Satanism, stems from the lack of knowledge that the general public has and receives about them. Mainstream religions are often at fault for encouraging and influencing such behaviors in individuals. In order to combat such stigmatizing views, we must first start by separating actual fact from fiction in how certain mainstream religions characterize certain religious groups.