Why Christians Should Support the “Satanic” Statue in Oklahoma

Why Christians Should Support the “Satanic” Statue in Oklahoma January 5, 2015

293033474_6dcb544d1d_oOklahoma may seem an unlikely place for what has been called a satanic sculpture to be installed on government property. In fact, there may be no better place for it.

Considered by many to be the buckle in the proverbial Bible Belt, the Statehouse in Oklahoma City has boasted a sculpture of the Ten Commandments, paid for by Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze, for some time. Actually, the statue is in the process of being rebuilt after a man who heard voices in his head urinated on the monument and then crashed into it with his car.

Perhaps most interesting is the legal groundwork laid to allow such a religious statue to be placed on public property. To avoid church/state separation issues, the property on which the statue was placed was declared as a monument park, and Ritze donated the piece. Finally, Ritze claimed protection under the First Amendment as a basis for a religious icon being on government grounds.

But they set legal precedent for other groups, like the Church of Satan, to do the same thing. They’ve actually agreed to halt plans for the installation if Ritze and his supporters will not replace the destroyed Ten Commandments statue. At this point, Ritze intends to proceed, while also fighting the placement of the other piece.

There are at least three important factors to consider including:

The First Amendment applies to thing we don’t like. It’s well and good to exercise the First Amendment to protect one’s free speech, but if we’re not willing to do the same for others – particularly those with views we don’t agree with – then we don’t really believe in free speech at all. Rather, we believe in wielding the constitution at our convenience to achieve a desired end, much like how some Christians use the Bible to promote a personal theological or social claim, while neglecting to apply the same selective interpretations for others. That’s opportunism, not free speech.

The Fear is based on ignorance. Though the statue in question has been called “satanic” both by Oklahoma legislators and popular media (see a link here for an article about the making of the piece in various stages),  the statue actually is of Baphomet, a pagan god that has been around far longer than the notion of satanism ever has. Baphomet actually represents a unifying force in the universe, bringing together both light and dark, good and evil, into a kind of cosmic balance. In this way, it’s not much different than the better-known yin-yang symbol from Buddhism. It wasn’t until Baphomet was a adopted as an icon by the Church of Satan (and popularized in media by artist H.R. Giger, who also designed the creatures in the “Alien” movies) hat it became associated with satanism.

An interesting side note: one of the more prominent practices in the Church of Satan is of the Laws of Attraction, which has been embraced by the mainstream culture – including millions of Christians – after such books as “The Secret” became bestsellers.

Christians have done this for a long time. Those in opposition to the Baphomet statue feel that it is an imposition on their moral and religious sensibilities. However, they fail to consider that, as the majority voice in Oklahoma (and really the US as a whole), we Christians have imposed our sensibilities on others for generations, including (thought not limited to): Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Buddhists and scores of other groups whose values and beliefs don’t align with the Christian iconography replete throughout our culture. If, in fact, the placement of the stature goes forward, perhaps it’s a necessary taste of our own medicine, inviting us into greater plurality and humble coexistence in the process.

Christian Piatt is the author of “postChristian: What’s left? Can we fix it? Do we care?” He is a blogger at Patheos, and can be found at ChristianPiatt.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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  • Christian

    Thanks for your open-mindedness in contributing to the discussion around the statue. Just one (important) clarification. The folks behind the statue are “The Satanic Temple,” which is not the “Church of Satan” and doesn’t actually have much in common with them aside from the name, The Satanic Temple is atheistic and uses the “Satanic” schtick to draw attention to issues frequently hijacked by the so-called religious Right, including separation of church and state as well as a host of other issues ranging from women’s reproductive rights to corporal punishment in schools. Just FYI.

  • Doria Auger Boyle

    Totally in agreement. Plus. Why spend time arguing with the enemy when you can be out showing people Jesus. Your giving the enemy time that belongs to God. And.. God wins EVERY battle! Go out and radiate Christ! Now.

    • Randolph Bragg

      I’ve been shown enough Jesus already. Not interested.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxdlEehy72Y

    • Jeffrey Heinze Fry

      Now that’s the kind of comment Christians should be making. Too much of what I hear in comments on articles such as this are angry Christians spreading messages of hatred and intolerance, which just isn’t right.

      I’m sick to death of hearing all sorts of things from the bible, but love your neighbor, forgive those that have wronged you, and other lessons are pretty great, whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, or Satanist. Every religion has something of value that anybody can learn from and is truly worth spreading, so if you’ve got a message worth spreading that you think is appropriate, go for it!

    • Kathy K-m

      Oh dear. I truly appreciate your message, but I’m hope you don’t think of we atheists as “the enemy”? (the group putting it up are atheists; not actually believers in Satan)
      They’re really just trying to make the “separation of church & state” point.
      It’s just a reaction to when Christians put THEIR religious symbols up, on government property. On their own private property? Not a problem and never will be.
      They certainly aren’t, and won’t be, going out and proactively trying to get them installed.
      Personally, I think they’re kind of going about it, in the wrong way. NO religion should be allowed to do it, but that’s what it seems to come down to, these days.
      Please try and imagine how difficult it is, when you’re rejected and shunned for your non-belief, without anyone bothering to find out what kind of person you really are.
      I believe we can (and should) live-and-let-live. Religious people, people of faith, are not my enemy. And I sincerely I hope that I’m not yours. 🙂

      • Doria Auger Boyle

        Kathy my beloved Sister! No human is my enemy or Gods enemy! You are loved by God and myself ALWAYS! The enemy is satan and his team of demons and the destroyers of the world and hater of everything good. Thank you for pointing out to me how I misrepresented that. I will be more precise in my target next time so as not to come across that way. Love to you!

        • Loki Monahan

          Wouldn’t it be nicer to live in a world where our faiths were simply our own business? I have no ill feelings toward you or other Christians but I am a proud luciferian/Satanist. I just feel like it would be a bit more appropriate if the squeamish and insecure people just didn’t engage in such topics because it perpetuates animosity. I had someone just the other day pray for me, Try and pull demons from my soul, The whole nine yards… So I told him look friend, If you believe so strongly in your path then you have nothing to fear! I’m obviously a sinner and I will be going to hell right? So why be the instigator when you already know whats coming to me? 😛 And vice versa I don’t think your god exists. Really it’s a perpetual loop to debate this and try to seek rationality in any of this so I suggest we all just focus on life and loving those who are there for us. Let’s let bygones be bygones because WE and I say WE as in one single unit, The human race need to deal with each other and be civilized about it.

      • Doria Auger Boyle

        Kathy, I can feel beautiful energy from your post and would be interested in seeing if we could form a friendship? If you are on Facebook friend me if you would like. I am an unashamed, radical, fanatical lover of Jesus. So you would have to tolerate that about me. If you can’t I will not be offended. I love diversity in my friendships.

      • Loki Monahan

        Our temple wouldn’t be placing a statue anywhere if the christian community didn’t try and hold dominion over everything. We are a counter culture, We do not like having their faith shoved down our throat so we give them a taste of their own medicine. Not in spite of course, We believe in tolerance but if you show one sign of supremacy or infringe upon our rights we will come out of the wood work in numbers you wouldn’t even believe. We are a full on network of people, Many of us working in legal services. I see our cause as “religious policing” per-say. There is a reason why their religious leaders tremble with fear at the sight and sound of our name, There are more of us than them and the numbers are continuously growing.

        Ave ordinem oculus, Satanas Ave, ave experis levitate lampade! Ave niger sol imperio! Shemhamphorasch !!!! Shemhamphorasch !!!! Laus interno palatium !!! Ave Baphomet custodis ad statera, Phallu vitae paenitentia est!

        • Kathy K-m

          Yes, I realize your installments are reactive. Not proactive. It’s not like you’re running around trying to put them up in every town square.
          Honestly, though, as an atheist, using the Satanic symbolism seems juvenile and is bound to mislead people, then you get upset when they are, indeed, mislead.
          Btw, I wouldn’t get all “leaders tremble with fear at the sight and sound of our name” just yet. Not only does that sound arrogant (and really, really silly) “we” aren’t even close to a majority, especially not in the U.S.
          And you’ll never get there, if your represent yourselves as the personification of evil, even if it’s in jest.
          I live in a country with a fairly high percentage of atheists and non-affiliated, and we didn’t get to this point by being as intolerant and unpalatable, as our religious counterparts.
          Just sayin….

  • Randolph Bragg

    If we’re going to leave the 10 Commandments up, then we should start summarily executing people who work on the Lord’s Day by stoning, as Jehovallah commands. And stoning everybody else for doing pretty much anything else, like talking back to parents, not being a virgin on your wedding night, etc, etc. Then we can have a country as nice as that run by the Taliban.

  • Jordan Patrick

    One note of contention – the group putting up the monument is not the Church of Satan, it is The Satanic Temple. They are very different groups, with very different views on many issues. Satanism is a very broad religion, with many different groups and ideas.

    • ColoradoKid

      Sorta like Christianity.

  • David M. Harris

    Please don’t associate the Church of Satan with that terrible eyesore of a statue those nitwits are trying to put up. The Church of Satan holds steadfast and sacrosanct the idea of Separation of Church & State, and believes that no monuments of a religious nature should be displayed on government property.

    • Doria Auger Boyle

      David, Thank you for pointing that out. I am a devote follower of Jesus Christ and I agree with the separation of Church and State in the same way. All beliefs would be vulnerable to persecution without it. I don’t believe religious items belong on State sites either . Now on my property absolutely.

      In my opinion the group really should find a less threatening name. To my beliefs, Satan is the killer and hater of anything good and/or Godly. So that name instantly puts the hairs up on the back of my neck. I am not afraid, because he has no power over me. But my belief is that Satan is destroying lives all around the world.

      Peace and love to you Brother!

  • Kathy K-m

    Thank you for your open-mindedness. The installation is really just a reaction, by some atheists, to the overtly religious 10 Commandments being put on state/government property.
    It’s very hard to be a minority that people reject, shun and think terrible things about, without even getting to know you.
    As an atheist, I don’t think either should be put on state property, but I do understand their point, and I’m glad you’re able to, as well.
    And btw, get to know an atheist. We’re not so bad, ya know. 🙂

    • Doria Auger Boyle

      I was one for 48 years. I wasn’t all that bad! LOL : )
      I am feeling really pulled toward you. I want to send you many blessings. You don’t have to take them if you don’t want them. I still love you! : )

  • Guest

    Wouldn’t it be nicer to live in a world where our faiths were simply our own business? I have no ill feelings toward you or other Christians but I am a proud luciferian/Satanist. I just feel like it would be a bit more appropriate if the squeamish and insecure people just didn’t engage in such topics because it perpetuates animosity. I had someone just the other day pray for me, Try and pull demons from my soul, The whole nine yards… So I told him look friend, If you believe so strongly in your path then you have nothing to fear! I’m obviously a sinner and I will be going to hell right? So why be the instigator when you already know whats coming to me? 😛 And vice versa I don’t think your god exists. Really it’s a perpetual loop to debate this and try to seek rationality in any of this so I suggest we all just focus on life and loving those who are there for us. Let’s let bygones be bygones because WE and I say WE as in one single unit, The human race need to deal with each other and be civilized about it.

  • Satanic Canada

    Hail Satan!!!!!