Kiddies, won’t you sit on the lap of Satan? New York Satanists are pushing for the erection of a monument to Satan in the Oklahoma State Capitol, supported by crowdfunding and local Satan supporters.
The New York-based Satanist Temple's detailed plans include a pentagram, quotes by William Blake and Lord Byron, and “a 7-foot tall goat-headed Baphomet that sits cross-legged flanked by a child on both sides." Baphomet's lap "will serve as a seat for visitors.”
The group’s spokesman, Lucian Greaves, said the monument would serve double duty as recognition for local Satanists and tourist attraction.
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” Greaves. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
But not to worry—Greaves said the monument would be “in good taste and consistent with community standards.”
The Satanists plan to put the statue up next to the 10 Commandants statue, erected in 2012, that was in some ways equally controversial. The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued to have the privately funded monument removed.
The Satanic Temple is not the only group to lobby to have their own shrine put in place. A Hindu group, an animal rights group, and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have also made their pitch.
The Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission recently placed a moratorium on new requests during the ACLU lawsuit.
Greaves called Satanism a “fundamental component at the Genesis of American Liberty," contending, "When people talk about the values of Oklahoma, they'd be mortified to see the number of emails from Oklahoma supporting this."
But no matter how much press the project has received, Oklahoma lawmakers are far from convinced that their capitol will be turned into the Devil’s playground.
"I think you've got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland," state Rep. Don Armes told reporters. "I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that's not going to fly here."