After a statue of the Ten Commandments was donated to Oklahoma City by State Representative Mike Ritze and placed outside the Oklahoma State Capitol, the ACLU sued for its removal. While the case is currently in court, The Satanic Temple proposed a solution where the City could keep its statue and the ACLU would drop its lawsuit. TST raised $28k and hired an artist who is currently constructing a 7-foot-tall monument of a Baphomet figure sitting cross-legged on a stone slab, flanked by two adoring children. The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Lucifer. All that would be required would be for Oklahoma City to accept The Satanic Temple’s donation of the Baphomet statue.
The last TST heard from Oklahoma was when their Capitol Preservation Commission requested a proposed design for our monument. They asked this of us in response to our letter, sent back in December 2013, in which we expressed our intention to donate a monument which will compliment and contrast a 10 Commandments monument already standing on Oklahoman Capitol grounds. We submitted those designs, and we’ve not heard from them directly since.
Meanwhile, however, we’ve seen (in the press) that Oklahoma has declared a moratorium on new monuments pending resolution of their lawsuit with the ACLU, which contests the legality of the 10 Commandments. But, again, the Capitol Preservation Commission has failed to reach out to us directly, aside from soliciting us to submit our design — which resulted in our expending a good amount of time, money, and resources — so we don’t feel that this moratorium can be retroactively applied to us. We are fully willing to place our monument at the Capitol, even while the ACLU suit is fought, with the understanding that a judgement against the 10 Commandments will have ramifications for our monument as well, likely resulting in the removal of both.
We will fight till the bitter end for placement at the Oklahoma Capitol. However, if it turns out that the State ultimately decides against monuments being placed at the Capitol in general, and the 10 Commandments are made to come down, we will move on to the next place. There are no shortage of public locations across the US where religious monuments await a contrasting voice.
Historical significance argument?
Critics have claimed that unlike the 10 Commandments, the Baphomet statue lacks historical significance and should be rejected by the state as a result. The notion that the 10 Commandments have some type of unique historical stature as a fundamental-text-upon-which-American-Law-is-based seems to be the argument that certain politicians in Oklahoma are holding fast to in their efforts to intellectualize our exclusion. The idea that the 10 Commandments are foundational to US or Oklahoman law is absurd and obscene. Not only have the 10 Commandments never been codified into federal or state law, but they are, as a body, very obviously counter-Constitutional. Commands such as, “Thou Shalt Have No God Before Me” and, “Thou Shalt Not Worship Graven Idols”, are necessarily the fiats of a theocracy. The United States was founded on pluralism, religious liberty. US law has never been so backward as to put failure to ‘respect the Sabbath’ on equal terms with murder and theft.The 10 Commandments are undoubtedly historical, but they are in no way American. As far as that alleged historical value is concerned, we can only assume that those arguing for the 10 Commandments are taking a broad view of the general evolution of legal thought.
Our proposed Satanic monument is also historical. The central image we have chosen in our monument design is known as “Baphomet”; a goat-headed, angel-winged, androgynous creature first rendered in its most widely recognized form by occult historian Eliphas Levi in the 19th century. The name Baphomet, however, comes much earlier from during the Crusades. “Baphomet” is almost certainly derived from “Mahomet”, or Muhammad, prophet of Islam. Muslims were the “satanized” outgroup of the time. For centuries, Jews were regularly accused of all of the things now attributed to an imaginary Satanist conspiracy: infant sacrifice, cannibalism, complex plots against the Common Good. During the early colonization of the US, it was commonly believed that the Native “Indians” worshipped Satan. Later, black slaves were the afeared Satanists, believed to be entering into pacts with the Devil as part of a supernatural plot to overthrow their oppressors. And, of course, most everybody is aware of the Puritan witch-hunts. These unjust accusations — these savage out-group purges — are all a part of the trial and error that helped us to realize our need for a rational, secular legal system.
Standards such as the accuser’s burden of proof, the presumption of innocence, a respect for material evidence, are all a result of our finding ways to subdue brute mob intolerance. Today, we are rightly offended by anti-blasphemy laws and divine fiats. Our monument will stand in honor of those unjustly accused — the slandered minority, the maligned outgroups — so that we might pay respect to their memory and celebrate our progress as a pluralistic nation founded on secular law.
The message behind TST’s monument speaks more directly to the formation of US Constitutional values than the 10 Commandments possibly could. It especially does so when it stands directly beside the 10 Commandments, as it affirms no one religion enjoys legal preference.