Here’s the First Look at the New Satanic Monument Being Built for Oklahoma’s Statehouse
In January the Satanic Temple announced plans to erect a monument glorifying the Dark Lord on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Statehouse. An Indiegogo campaign was launched with what seemed like a somewhat lofty goal of $20,000, but by the time donations ended almost $30,000 had been raised. Now an artist trained in classical sculpture is toiling away in New York, crafting a Baphomet figure sitting beneath a pentagram and flanked by two children gazing upward in loyalty. When it is finished, it will be cast in bronze and, the Satanists hope, eventually displayed in Oklahoma.
The statue is a direct response to the state’s installation of a Ten Commandments monument outside the Capitol in 2012. State Representative Mike Ritze paid for the controversial statue with his own money, and therefore it was considered a donation and OK to place on government property. Following that line of reasoning, the Satanic Temple submitted a formal application for their monument.
As Trait Thompson of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission told CNN last December, “Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork.” The applications are then approved or rejected by the Commission. Unfortunately, the state has placed a halt on issuing permits for any other monuments until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Ritze’s Commandments monument is settled.
Despite protesters, death threats, and a torrential downpour, the
Satanic Temple unveiled its one-and-a-half-ton, nine-foot goat-headed Baphomet monument
in Detroit on Saturday. The statue was revealed to a sold-out crowd of
hundreds just before midnight, at a secret party held in an industrial
space outside of the city’s downtown area.
Billing it as the “most controversial and politically charged
contemporary work of art in the world” in a press release, the Temple
kept the location of the unveiling a closely guarded secret in an effort
to keep religious protesters away.
There’s a kids club called ‘After School
Satan’. The Satanic Temple’s alternative
program doesn’t worship or even believe
in the existence of Satan, but instead
focuses on scientific rationality, aims
to teach kids that all issues have multiple
perspectives, and engages them in
literature and science lessons, creative
learning activities, puzzle solving,
and art projects. SourceSource 2
In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material.
Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus.
In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses “post-abortion syndrome,” a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization.
Because the Satanic Temple bases its belief “regarding personal health…on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others,” it claims that state-mandated information with no basis in scientific fact violates its “religious” beliefs.
Spokesperson Lucien Greaves said that the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision bolsters their case. “While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling,” he said, “the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when they allowed Hobby Lobby to claim certain contraceptives were abortifacients, which in fact they are not.”
The Satanic Temple set up a website where women seeking an abortion can print out a letter for her healthcare provider explaining why she is exempt from informed consent mandates.
The letter reads that “[a]ll women who share our deeply held belief that their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of the Satanic Temple or not.”
On 19 December 2016, a new Texas law will go into effect requiring aborted fetal remains be either buried or cremated. But The Satanic Temple, an atheistic activist organization that uses the legal system to counter laws influenced by religion, says their members are immune because the rule violates their tenets.
According to the Texas Tribune, the rule was quietly proposed in July 2016 by the state’s Health Services department at the behest of Gov. Greg Abbott, who touted the rule in fundraising emails, in which he wrote:
I believe it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life. This is why Texas will require clinics and hospitals to bury or cremate human and fetal remains.
Satanic Temple members abide by seven tenets which include:
One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
They said in a statement the rule violates their tenets:
The Satanic Temple (TST), an international religious organization headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, has declared immunity for its members from the Texas rule requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains that is slated to go into effect on December 19th. One of The Satanic Temple’s fundamental tenets is the inviolability of one’s body. As such, TST affirms that this rule violates their religious beliefs and their members may refuse to adhere.
Texas follows in the footsteps of other states (like Arkansas, Indiana, and Georgia) in requiring funerary handling of fetal remains, rules that critics say chip away at federal laws that rendered abortion legal. As they have in the past, The Satanic Temple said they will test the constitutionality of Texas’ law by way of a lawsuit if necessary. TST spokesman and co-founder Lucien Greaves told us:
If one of our members claims exemption from this upon terminating a pregnancy, and the state insists that the burial fee must be paid, we will immediately file an injunction. We will sue, and we will win.
In a recent victory, The Satanic Temple forced the state of Oklahoma to remove a Ten Commandments monument from capitol grounds by challenging its constitutionality with their own version of a religious monument: a statue of Baphoment, a horned, goat headed deity. The Satanists sued after state lawmakers denied their request to place their Baphomet statue on state grounds along with the Christian display. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in their favor.
“Cruz’s failures of reason, compassion, decency, and humanity are products of his Christian pandering, if not an actual Christian faith. It grows tedious when pedophile priests and loathsome politicians are conveniently dismissed as Satanic, even as they spew biblical verse and prostrate themselves before the cross, recruiting the Christian faithful. Satanists will have nothing to do with any of them.”
“The conservative religious movement have been calling feminists and
free-thinkers Satanists and witches for centuries, so we’re just really
owning up to that and saying we have a voice.” - Jex Blackmore
I read recently that The Satanic Temple is petitioning for an
amendment to the proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act bill in
Michigan that would require businesses to publicly post their
discrimination policies. Won’t your campaign for “discrimination
transparency” serve to make open discrimination more acceptable?
The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)
bill, ostensibly designed to “limit laws that substantially burden a
person’s free exercise of religion”, is often feared to merely give
affrighted superstitious bumpkins free license to contravene basic
Federal Civil Rights – allowing for open discrimination – in the name of
religious freedom. Lest one mistakenly speculate that the bill’s
sponsoring lawmakers imagined anything of a less disgusting, socially
beneficial nature, the bill’s proponent, Jase Bolger, is quite clear
that discrimination is indeed paramount here. Introducing the bill as a
necessary adjunct to a bill meant to protect LGBT rights, Bolger
conveyed that RFRA would help preserve the virtue of pious bakers who
might suffer irreparable spiritual harm should they be made to produce a
cake for some godforsaken homos.
A ridiculous concern for Bible-based bakers somehow resonated with the
limited imaginations of low-powered minds, and soon, sen. Rick Jones was
imagining scenarios in which – only by the blessed power of RFRA –
these Christ-ly culinarians could avoid having to bake a cake for
members of The Satanic Temple.
Rousing our Detroit chapter into action, Jex Blackmore of our executive
ministry, dutifully started a petition for an amendment to the proposed
RFRA bill calling for “discrimination transparency.” According to the
petition “Patrons do not deserve to endure the distress, humiliation and
inconvenience associated with being refused service by a public
business in their communities,” and thus the burden should be placed
upon businesses that would exercise the right to discriminate to
conspicuously post their biases. In a press release, I replied to the
concern that such open displays of discrimination would foster a Jim
Crow era environment stating, “I’ll be happy if people generally
recognize that parallel. The shame of this encroaching regression of
Civil Rights belongs with the bigoted simple minds who practice
discrimination in a notion of religious liberty, not on those of us who
ask it to be recognized for what it is.”
In short, we fear transparency far less than we fear an environment in
which discriminatory practices are concealed, forgotten, and
complacently ignored by the unaffected. The shame of such idiocy,
mindlessly brought to issue by regressive, gullible and unqualified
politicians should stare us in the face openly. We want to know which
businesses discriminate, and who they discriminate against, so that we
can take our business elsewhere.
What’s really interesting is how TST dealt with all the threats they were getting from God-fearing Christians.
According to TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves, attendees for the event had to go through the following process:
1) Show up at the location stated on the e-ticket. 2) Go through a security checkpoint there. 3) Sign a contract transferring their souls to Satan. 4) Get the real location for the event, which was miles away.
The Satanic Temple interrupts pro-life national day of protest
On August 22nd, 2015 The Satanic Temple of Detroit interrupted the pro-life national day of protest against Planned Parenthood at the Detroit and Ferndale, Michigan locations. The Temple employed radical political theatre to illustrate the theocratic agenda imposed upon female bodies. With wrists bound in prayer, two women were drowned in milk at the hands of male clergy. Their bodies callously veiled by the maternal bath. An American flag furnished with a symbol of The Satanic Temple framed the scene, followed by a message: “AMERICA IS NOT A THEOCRACY. END FORCED MOTHERHOOD.”
The Satanic Temple’s core tenets outline the following points:
(1) One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
(2) Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
The highly politicized pro-life movement advocates for the abolition of Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides critical preventive and primary reproductive health care services to low-income women. The current cornerstone of their argument stems from a fabricated, fictional story that clinics “sell baby parts for profit”. The August 22nd protest was directly intended to irresponsibly perpetuate this contrived story in an attempt to leverage misunderstanding for political gain and impose the moral opinions of some upon a diverse community.
The Satanic Temple strongly opposes the promotion of misinformation and believes that all people are entitled to make informed decisions about their health, family and future without coercion. We will not remain voiceless when the philosophical and religious opinions of those in power are utilized to legislate morality. The attempt to do so violates American foundational values of freedom and liberty.
Satan is representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom. We consider our action a form of worship; the rejection of tyranny is an affirmation of selfhood. So long as perverted theocratic systems of power attempt to manipulate our communities and distort truths for political gain, we will rebel.