Satanic Monument May Join Ten Commandments Monument in Oklahoma State Capitol
Information and Theories 12/10/13
By: Sarah Wilson
Throughout history, there have been plenty of instances where people have tested the laws that allow people to exercise the freedom of speech and freedom of religion that Americans are afforded. In recent news, Satan worshippers are pushing to build a monument of their own to accompany a monument of the Ten Commandments that stands outside of the Oklahoma statehouse. Deemed unholy by many in the conservative region, the Satanists believe it is their right to make such a request.
While many oppose the construction of a monument related to Satanic worship, Lucien Greaves, a representative for the Satanic Temple says he is 'optimistic' that they will be granted approval to do so. In an interview with ABC News, Greaves exclaimed that he doesn't see the grounds in which the proposal can be rejected because of the details behind the Ten Commandments monument already standing.
The biggest point that Greaves and the Satanic Temple can make is that the Ten Commandments monument is privately funded, and was approved by the Oklahoma state legislature in 2009. The monument was built on the Capitol grounds in 2012, and has created a flood of opposition (outside of the Satanic Temple's request) since it was erected. Because of this, Greaves doesn't think the Christian monument violates anything, as long as other monuments are allowed to stand alongside it.
Therefore, Greaves takes the position that he isn't going against or calling for the removal of the Ten Commandments monument, but is instead, making a point that it shouldn't be the only one of its kind to stand in front of the Capitol building.
As said before, the Ten Commandments monument has attracted a great deal of criticism – even causing the American Civil Liberties Union to file a lawsuit seeking to remove the marker. The executive director of ACLU Oklahoma, Ryan Kiesel, sees the monument as a divider amongst the residents of Oklahoma. He says that when the government seems to place 'one faith on a pedestal,' he says that it sends a strong message to the rest of the state that some faiths appear to be less than equal than others.
Greaves feels that erecting a monument associated with the Satanic Temple would make the ideal statement that all religions have the same voice in the state of Oklahoma. It's a situation that can easily get out of hand if not handled correctly.
Because of the impending ACLU lawsuit, one of the major players in the construction and approval of the Ten Commandments monument could not be reached for comment. State Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican who represents the 80th District of Oklahoma, was one of the frontrunners who supported the creation of the monument. His family also helped pay for the building of the structure, which cost $10,000.
If allowed, a monument representing the Satanic Temple would make a first for the group; this isn't the first time they have been active to push for a more public display of the religion. Questions have also arisen as to what a Satanic monument would look like. While Greaves did not want to "reveal too much" about some of the design possibilities for the monument, he did mention that one of his favorite designs incorporated an interactive display for children.
If the Satanic Temple sounds a bit familiar, this isn't the first time that the religious group has made headlines. The group held its first major rally earlier this year to show support for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his signing of a bill that allows the possibility of student-led prayer to take place within the state's public schools. The Satanists were pleased to hear of such a bill because it demonstrated support for the free expression of religion, which in theory meant that Satanists could also take advantage. The Satanic Temple saw it as a way for their children to have the freedom to openly pray in school.