The New York city based Satanic Temple has nearly completed its seven-feet-tall statue commemorating Baphomet, a sabbatic goat-headed pagan figure with ties to the Inquisition, that’s planned to be erected on the Oklahoma Statehouse’s front lawn.
The statue is a direct response to State Representative Mike Ritze’s Ten Commandments monuments. The statue was considered a donation, as it was commissioned and paid for with the Ritze’s own money in 2012, and therefore acceptable to be displayed outside the government property.
Applying the same logic, the Satanic Temple launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund a sculpture dedicated to their own religion.The campaign raised almost $10,000 more than its intended goal for a sum of nearly $30,000, which has since gone to an artist trained in classic sculpture.
“Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork,” said Trait Thompson, a member of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission.
The Commission will then either approve or reject applications upon review.
However, Oklahoma has currently halted the issuing of such permits until a lawsuit filed by four plaintiffs backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Ritze’s Ten Commandments has been dealt with. According to the case’s lead counsel and legal director for the ACLU of Oklahoma, Brady Henderson, “Oklahoma has a provision in the state constitution that prevents state property from being used to support a religion.”
“We are fully willing to place our monument at the Capitol, even while the ACLU suit is fought, with the understanding that a judgment against the Ten Commandments will have ramifications for our monument as well, likely resulting in the removal of both,” said Lucien Greaves, a rep with the Satanic Temple.
If unsuccessful, the Temple will continue to seek out an alternate location for their artwork. Greaves said, “There are no shortage of public locations across the U.S. were religious monuments await a contrasting voice.”