- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

Self-declared satanists in Oklahoma are seeking to erect a statue at the Statehouse, right next to a monument of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments display was installed at the Capitol property last year over the objections of legal minds who said the display violated the concept of church and state separation, The Associated Press reported. The American Civil Liberties Union chapter in the state filed a suit to have it removed.

Meanwhile, the Satanic Temple, a group headquartered in New York, sent a letter to the state Capitol Preservation Commission saying it would donate a monument based on satanic beliefs.

“We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards,” said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the group, AP reported. “Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic-literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines.”

Mr. Greaves said the design could include an image of a pentagram, or it could be a take a more interactive approach and have a display aimed at educating children, AP reported.

And the group credited the conservative Oklahoma atmosphere — in the heart of the Bible Belt — for opening the doors to the proposed satanic display, saying that if the Republican-controlled assembly hadn’t accepted the Ten Commandments monument, then the Satanic Temple never would have been able to push for its own display. Mr. Greaves credited one lawmaker in particular — Rep. Mike Ritze, who led the drive for the Ten Commandments monument, AP reported.

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“He’s helping a satanic agenda grow more than any of us possibly could,” Mr. Greaves said in the AP report. “You don’t walk around and see too many satanic temples around, but when you open the door to public spaces for us, that’s when you’re going to see us.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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