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Ten Commandments Monument Opens Door for “Satanic Display” at Oklahoma Capitol

Ten Commandments Monument Opens Door for “Satanic Display” at Oklahoma Capitol

There’s a pretty good reason for why the U.S. constitution prohibits allowing governments to publicly show any sign of endorsing a religion: Doing so would open up the door to having to recognize a number of religions that they may not necessarily agree with. That’s the problem that Oklahoma may be facing now that the Satanists have decided to donate a monument to be erected on the state capitol grounds.

As USA Today reports, Oklahoma state politicians eager to have the opportunity to place the Ten Commandments front and center at the capitol allowed a giant, privately funded monument to be placed on the grounds. Now the New York-based Satanic Temple has contacted the state, saying they would like to donate a monument, too.

“We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves wrote in letter to state officials, according to USA Today. “Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines.”

Even better, one design could even be “an interactive display for children.”

Needless to say, this probably wasn’t what state lawmakers were hoping for when they fought to place the Ten Commandments at the capitol. Now, however, the state is stuck between a pentacle and a hard place. If they turn down the Satanic monument, they are accused of discrimination by favoring one religion over another. If they allow the display well, then Hail Satan.

Greaves and his group are fully aware of their advantage, too. “‘Obviously enabling Satanists to take advantage of the Bill was not considered when the legislation was drafted,’” Raw Story reports Greaves telling Hermant Metha via an email interview at Patheos. ”[B]ut ‘the fact is that laws cannot be discriminatory.’ He believes that there is no ‘legal basis upon which they could possibly reject’ the Temple’s offer, because ‘they set the precedent themselves, and they simply can’t reject a monument on the grounds that it its being donated by Satanists rather than a Baptist Deacon.’”

Ten Commandment monuments have been at the center of controversy and lawsuits before, most notably in Alabama where Judge Roy Moore refused to remove a display at the state judicial building. Moore was removed from his position over the standoff, but is back and currently the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

Although the Fraternal Order of Eagles began pushing copies of the Ten Commandments into various state governments as a means of “combating juvenile delinquency,” in 1951, the traditional stone monuments that have been causing lawsuits since the mid 2000s actually had little to do with promotion of biblical laws. Instead, they were part of a massive public relations campaign by movie director Cecile B. DeMille for the Charlton Heston movie The Ten Commandments in 1956, and continued after that, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument is currently the subject of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which argued, “This piece of public property, placed upon public property, conveys an explicit religious message that supports and endorses the faiths and creeds of some churches and sects.” Statue supporters say that the monument is not religious but “historical.”

“The monument on the grounds of our state capitol is in place as a tribute to the historical significance the Ten Commandments have played as the foundation of America’s and Oklahoma’s legal system as well as those common sense values many of the people in Oklahoma live by today,” Charlie Meadows, president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, told the Christian Post. “Perhaps more importantly, they are the same values many of our pioneers lived by going back to our founding.”

“I just don’t know of any influence upon Oklahoma from a historical perspective by a satanic organization,” argued Meadows.

Satanists aren’t the only ones looking to take advantage of the potential open door policy on religious icons on the capitol grounds. A Hindu group has said it too is looking into providing a monument, according to Raw Story.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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221 comments

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12:29PM PST on Dec 21, 2013

Oh boy! Here we go, again.

9:56AM PST on Dec 19, 2013

What, What, What?!?

Sarrah H. What right does religion have getting into our government if our government has no right getting into our religion? I guess you want your cake and to eat it too? It doesn't work that way. I find it insane to think that it should. America is and was always the smelting pot of many cultures and many peoples. Not all people are Muslim, Or Christian, Or Buddhist, Satanic, Wiccan, Pagan, or even Agnostic or Atheist. We are each one, one or the other... Not all possibilities are listed here of course. I resent the idea that I should have any form of religious practice forced down my throat or even to have it allowed to control my governments choices, actions, or intentions. Not only would that be intensively ignorantly Unequivocally prejudicially wrong, but it would be unfair to anyone of any different faith or religious practice. We each have a right to our religions but we have no right forcing it off onto any other person or group.

2:29AM PST on Dec 19, 2013

Our founding fathers did not mean that religion could not be in government, they meant that government could not get into our religion.

12:10PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

I'm a Christian but I am also descended from signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. I believe firmly in the separation of church and state but that doesn't mean we should never speak about or demonstrate our faith in public or on government property. As long as Americans of all beliefs are given equal access to provide or erect symbols of their beliefs in/on government owned property then I have no problem with it. The festivues pole made of beer cans recently placed in the Florida statehouse in Tallahasee exemplifies this. I'm not offended or the least put off by it and symbols of my faith are not dishonored or besmirched by it. Fair is fair.

1:00PM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Care2Causes (Robin Marty), I have noticed an astronomical increase in you anti-Conservative, anti Judeo-Christian beliefs posts and blogs. They have increased beyond what I can disregard. Blatant forms of Question Forming and Title Manipulation, purposefully formed to make the Christian community appear negative and evil. If you do not want our support label yourself Libral so those of us who love God can be forewarned and seek other outlets for humanitarian and animal rights. You keep attacking this group with one sided arguments and biased commentary. It is disgusting and I'm getting tired of it! I am a university student who just completed and Propaganda and Media Effects class and many technique you are using are textbook. I will stop sharing your website if this continues and delete you from my contacts. Keep your 5th Age agenda to yourself; if loving God, your neighbor, not stealing, or commiting adultry is repulsive to you then I want no part of you. Soon you who want a Godless Earth will have it, but it won't be the utopia you think it will, It'll be literally Hell on earth and it's what you deserve. We won't be here to see it.

8:54PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

Now if we can find other ways to use the Right Wing fanatics’ laws to show them how it feels to be discriminated against… After all, like Greaves said, “they set the precedent themselves.” If you make a law for one group, you make the law for all groups.
If “The monument … is … a tribute to the historical significance the Ten Commandments have played as the foundation of America’s and Oklahoma’s legal system” then why not a monument with the Code of Hammurabi?
Jenna S, you say “most” people would be offended by a Satanic display. Have you taken a poll to see how many are offended by a Christian display? America was NOT founded as a Christian nation. It was founded by people who fled forced religion. Unfortunately, they turned around and tried to force THEIR religion on the indigenous people. America is a melting pot of religions and cultures; we should honor all and not try to force one belief on everyone.

6:03PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

I have my popcorn coming! You go debaters!

5:14PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

Noted

3:55PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

I'd be happy to chip in for a Jewish Monument, Buddhist , Zoroastrian, Ba'Baha'i, and most certainly A couple of trees and bushes for the Celtic Pagans.

Sauce for the goose, as they say, is sauce for the gander.

7:55AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

The Ten Commandments are part of our culture and would be well accepted. Six of the 10 laws are on things that make civilization possible.

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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