Proposed Satan monument heats up debate in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A religious group believes it has an idea that could "complement and contrast" the Ten Commandments monument located on Oklahoma state Capitol grounds: a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan, depicted as a Baphomet -- a goat-headed figure with wings and horns -- sitting on a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children at its side.
On Monday, the New York-based religious group Satanic Temple formally submitted its application for the monument to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, which oversees the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.
Satanic Temple argues that if the Legislature could authorize the Ten Commandments monument, then a statue of Satan should also be permitted. The monument would be both an "homage" to Satan and a symbol of religious freedom, Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told the Los Angeles Times.
"More than anything, we feel our monument is meant to be a historical marker celebrating the scapegoats, marginalized and demonized minority," he said.
In August, the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state to remove the Ten Commandments monument because "the state needs to get out of the business of endorsing religion," Brady Henderson, legal director of the chapter, told The Times.
The stone monument, which also features a bald eagle and an American flag, lists the commandments under "I am the Lord thy God." It was erected in 2012.
Last month, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission put a moratorium on deciding any new monument requests, Trait Thompson, commission chairman, told The Times.
"We just didn't feel prudent at this juncture to be considering other monuments ... when the Ten Commandments monument is under review by the state Supreme Court," he said.
Though the ACLU is opposed to all religious monuments on public property, Henderson said, the organization believes the Satanic Temple's monument has "every right to be there" if the Ten Commandments monument remains.
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