Coming soon to the Oklahoma state capitol: Could it be … Satan?

posted at 1:21 pm on January 7, 2014 by Allahpundit

The group responsible for this is, apparently, sincerely Satanist, but the design is so ridiculous — “people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan” — that it’s hard to believe it’s not just some unusually epic atheist trolling. Adding two kids to the design, admiring the Dark Lord on either side, was an especially nice touch. If they’re going to troll the entire state, they might as well have gone the whole nine yards and made it a statute of Cthulhu. Every nerd on the Internet would have been behind them then.

Which reminds me: Every state capitol should have a statue of Cthulhu.

The Satanic Temple maintains that the Oklahoma Legislature’s decision to authorize a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statue. The Ten Commandments monument was placed on the north steps of the building in 2012, and the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have it removed.

Similar requests for monuments have been made by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

In response, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission recently placed a moratorium on considering any new requests…

“I think you’ve got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” said Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon. “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.”

And so America waits and wonders: Will Oklahoma greenlight a monument that’s bound to attract every atheist, Goth, metalhead, and wise-ass within hundreds of miles for the requisite smartphone selfies? Does Oklahoma even have a choice? They put up a Ten Commandments monument, after all. In theory, for Establishment Clause reasons, that means they’re stuck having to allow other faith displays too.

Or … does it? The Supreme Court opinion to read here (it’s a short one, mercifully) is Pleasant Grove City v. Summum from 2009. In that case too, a private group had donated a monument of the Ten Commandments to the state for placement in a public park. Another religious group asked the city to display a monument to its faith in the same park; when the city refused, they sued. SCOTUS held (unanimously!) that the state is allowed to be selective in its choice of monuments. It can’t deny you your right to free speech in the park, but permanent displays like monuments are different from speech. What’s at stake here, wrote Justice Alito, is “government speech”:

Public parks are often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land. City parks—ranging from those in small towns, like Pioneer Park in Pleasant Grove City, to those in major metropolises, like Central Park in New York City—commonly play an important role in defining the identity that a city projects to its own residents and to the outside world. Accordingly, cities and other jurisdictions take some care in accepting donated monuments. Government decisionmakers select the monuments that portray what they view as appropriate for the place in question, taking into account such content-based factors as esthetics, history, and local culture. The monuments that are accepted, therefore, are meant to convey and have the effect of conveying a government message, and they thus constitute government speech…

If government entities must maintain viewpoint neutrality in their selection of donated monuments, they must either “brace themselves for an influx of clutter” or face the pressure to remove longstanding and cherished monuments. See 499 F. 3d, at 1175 (McConnell, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc). Every jurisdiction that has accepted a donated war memorial may be asked to provide equal treatment for a donated monument questioning the cause for which the veterans fought. New York City, having accepted a donated statue of one heroic dog (Balto, the sled dog who brought medicine to Nome, Alaska, during a diphtheria epidemic)7 may be pressed to accept monuments for other dogs who are claimed to be equally worthy of commemoration. The obvious truth of the matter is that if public parks were considered to be traditional public forums for the purpose of erecting privately donated monuments, most parks would have little choice but to refuse all such donations.

Monuments say something about the identity of the city or state that displays them, so naturally the city or state, through its representatives, gets to choose which ones to display. Pretty straightforward — except what if a state put up a monument that read “Christianity is the one true faith”? That would, no doubt, accurately reflect the view of most of its residents, but it’s hard to believe the Court would let it fly on Establishment Clause grounds. Alito says virtually nothing in his opinion about that. It falls to Scalia, in his concurrence, to argue that the Establishment Clause poses no problem either because the Court’s already ruled that the Ten Commandments has permissible secular historical and moral meanings in addition to its religious ones. It’s true, the Court did rule that in an earlier case — although without securing a five-vote majority for the holding. It was Breyer who joined with four conservative justices in that one, but he made clear that it was a close call that depended in part on the particular facts of how, and how long, a particular Ten Commandments monument was displayed. Would he come to the same conclusion in a case like Oklahoma’s? When the alternative is to force state capitols to host giant statues of demons with goat heads? I’m thinking … yeah, probably. And even if he didn’t, the remedy would be to force the state to take down its Ten Commandment monument, not to let the Satanists put up theirs. Which, I take it, is what the Satanists are aiming for in the first place.


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Something to get the juices of the reprobates flowing.

Murphy9 on January 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Exactly the opposite…it should be tended to regularly, cleaned, maybe even planted around with flowers…by a local church organization. That would stick it to the Satanists better than defacing the thing like they expect it to be.

JetBoy on January 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM

The “Pouring Hot Coals On Their Heads” trick as Paul outlines. Very nice . . . .

Plant big thick bushes around it so people forget it’s there.

These morons just want attention.
Give it to them but not the way they wish it.

Bubba Redneck on January 7, 2014 at 3:51 PM

This is indicative of the appalling state of the culture…

workingclass artist on January 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM

thejackal drooled: Funny thing about people from the bible belt. They’ll gleefully tolerate turds like the “Death to Fags and US Servicemen” Kansas Church.

Cluebat to Belt-hater: Phelps Cultists are Leftists. The only people who “gleefully tolerate” them are progressives.

The perfidious Westboro Democrats are gutter-level Marxist propagandists who’s phoney strawman antics are aimed at distracting low information voters from the very real and serial extremism of Leftists.

Nobody buys their cartoonish “Baptist” burlesque. Not even al-Sharpton.

We’re all very sorry that you’re unable to tolerate that reality.

Terp Mole on January 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

This idea is as silly as a South Park “Super Best Friends” episode… yet somehow not nearly as fatwa-worthy.

Terp Mole on January 7, 2014 at 4:16 PM

The stone tablet should not be in front of a court house. it is an overtly religious statement. Karmashock on January 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Then git yer chisel and run on down to the US Supreme Court.

Akzed on January 7, 2014 at 4:55 PM

What a lot of fuss over a lump of stone! Idols .. anyone?

OldEnglish on January 7, 2014 at 5:00 PM

thejackal drooled: Funny thing about people from the bible belt. They’ll gleefully tolerate turds like the “Death to Fags and US Servicemen” Kansas Church.

Cluebat to Belt-hater: Phelps Cultists are Leftists. The only people who “gleefully tolerate” them are progressives.

Terp Mole on January 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Also regardless, there would have to be a big carving of the letters in “God Hates Fags” that Phelps was putting up somewhere for their to be an equivalence in “tolerance”.

Axeman on January 7, 2014 at 5:27 PM

The stone tablet should not be in front of a court house. it is an overtly religious statement. Karmashock on January 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM

See, this is where equivocation comes in. Something that is “religious” is not necessarily effective in “establishing a religion”.

We have wall to wall equivocation on concepts these days. The stupidity is deafening.

Axeman on January 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Terp Mole on January 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

I’m curious where you got that idea, cuz I haven’t seen it that way.
They’re all very definitely total wackos, but their protests are primarily about gays, and mostly aimed at military funerals supposedly targeting the military “sinners” who fight and die for a country that is, in their view “pro gay”.
That doesn’t sound terribly left wing to me – but then the leftists are a very inconsistent confusing bunch.

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM

thejackal drooled: Funny thing about people from the bible belt. They’ll gleefully tolerate turds like the “Death to F— and US Servicemen” Kansas Church.

Cluebat to Belt-hater: Phelps Cultists are Leftists. The only people who “gleefully tolerate” them are progressives.

Terp Mole on January 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Also, in order for there to be an equivalence there would have to be an “accepted” “God Hates F–s” sculpture the Westburo boys put on public property somewhere.

Axeman on January 7, 2014 at 5:33 PM

I saw this morning on the news.

My immediate thought…”Sure, put it up. I’ll be there the next night with a sledgehammer and knock the horns right off that joker, and his knees, too.
See how you like your statue then.”

avagreen on January 7, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Oklahoma City already has a monument to devil worshipers.

Rebar on January 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

They’re all very definitely total wackos, but their protests are primarily about gays, and mostly aimed at military funerals supposedly targeting the military “sinners” who fight and die for a country that is, in their view “pro gay”.
That doesn’t sound terribly left wing to me – but then the leftists are a very inconsistent confusing bunch.

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM

To be fair, the Algore/Phelps love-fest was 25 years ago, before manbearpig had his political epiphany about gays. As it is today, pretty much everyone….black or white, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, tall or short, etc etc etc…hates the Phelps freaks. They’re an island unto themselves.

JetBoy on January 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM

I’m lovin’ it!

MJBrutus on January 7, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Another example of how the American judicial system has completely self destructed.

Old Country Boy on January 7, 2014 at 6:43 PM

To be fair, the Algore/Phelps love-fest was 25 years ago, before manbearpig had his political epiphany about gays. As it is today, pretty much everyone….black or white, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, tall or short, etc etc etc…hates the Phelps freaks. They’re an island unto themselves.

JetBoy on January 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM

That’s pretty much what I thought.
I have trouble seeing total out there wacko as right or left – they’re just completely nuts.

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2014 at 6:47 PM

“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal sentiment was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation…

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” -Justice Joseph Story, (1779-1845) Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833.

Akzed on January 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Agreed. Funny thing about people from the bible belt. They’ll gleefully tolerate turds like the “Death to Fags and US Servicemen” Kansas Church.

thejackal on January 7, 2014 at 3:24 PM

I think my favorite example of this gleeful tolerance was a couple years ago when their tires were slashed, and no one in town would help them.

malclave on January 7, 2014 at 7:12 PM

They’re all very definitely total wackos, but their protests are primarily about gays, and mostly aimed at military funerals supposedly targeting the military “sinners” who fight and die for a country that is, in their view “pro gay”.

dentarthurdent on January 7, 2014 at 5:31 PM

One theory I read several years ago is that it’s all about money.

The argument was that it’s a family of lawyers and the protests are just an attempt to goad people into doing something over which they can be sued.

malclave on January 7, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Waiting for the DNC request to put a statue of Obama on the OK state capitol grounds.

jediwebdude on January 7, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Not that the Muslims would want it, since they don’t like images of their prophets and all that idiotic jazz, but what if people of other religions decide they want to start erecting statues to people in their religions?

Are you people going to allow that or limit their right to free speech.

You people need to learn that if you’re going to erect religious symbols you agree with, you have to allow other people to erect religious symbols you DON’T agree with.

that being said, I think this statue is ridiculous to put up but the best path forward is to not allow ANY religion’s monuments to be erected on government property.

If you want to buy a parcel of land and put up a statue of Jesus, by all means do so, but don’t do it on public lands and then infringe on other people’s right to erect monuments of their own by telling them, “sorry your monument got voted down by the majority”.

SauerKraut537 on January 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM

SauerKraut537 on January 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Since when in your fevered imagination is putting stuff on public land “free speech”?

And how does a monument to tablets sacred to three separate, different religions establish one particular religion.

Try thought. It helps.

Axeman on January 7, 2014 at 8:25 PM

I remember reading this case in law school. Made for some very interesting discussion (being one of a small number of conservatives in an otherwise very liberal community is an interesting experience in itself!).

Othniel on January 7, 2014 at 2:56 PM

No kidding!

BTW, in the context, your nic is particularly apropos:

Judges 3:9-10 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.

The first judge was Othniel. He came from good stock this man for he was Caleb’s nephew. The name Othniel means the ‘power of God’ but we will get back to this later.

AesopFan on January 7, 2014 at 8:32 PM

This reminds me of the kind of situations that come up in Parks & Recreation all the time. When you get too caught up in trying to keep every individual happy, the morons pour out of every crack and make demands on the majority that have to work their way through the courts before anything can be done. I don’t really see any big need for a memorial to the Ten Commandments, especially on courthouse or state square. Bibles aren’t that hard to come by.

flataffect on January 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

In theory, for Establishment Clause reasons, that means they’re stuck having to allow other faith displays too.

Hmm, lemme see, maybe I forget – does the Establishment Clause have anything to do with what the several States decide they want to do, or does it have something to do with… Congress, is what I think they call it?

Midas on January 7, 2014 at 9:32 PM

The reason why a case like this is troublesome for the legislature that must try to find a way to deny the request while appearing to follow the 1st Amendment is two-fold.

The big lie that the government, especially a state government, is not allowed to recognize a religion without being accused of endorsing it, has been too freely accepted by politicians and the populace alike, when it should be laughingly obvious how stupid such a concept is.

The idea that every issue must be divided up “fairly” with laser-cut precision is fallacious, and noxious. A person being free to practice their faith is absolutely and utterly disconnected from the government being forced to comply with that faith, and a state is a sovereign entity, with the right to have preferences and anti-preferences. The Establishment cause prevents the Federal Government from forcing upon its citizens a religion of its choosing. There is a world of difference between that, and a state acknowledging the historical significance of the benevolent faiths and their contribution to the founding and greatness of this nation.

Freelancer on January 7, 2014 at 9:44 PM

The Establishment cause prevents the Federal Government from forcing upon its citizens a religion of its choosing. There is a world of difference between that, and a state acknowledging the historical significance of the benevolent faiths and their contribution to the founding and greatness of this nation.

Freelancer on January 7, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Well said.

AesopFan on January 7, 2014 at 10:52 PM

If I were a Hindu, accused of a crime, and I walked into a courthouse which had prominently displayed the 1st and 2nd Commandments, would I question the bias of the institution charged with levying justice in my case?

Arnold Yabenson on January 8, 2014 at 3:20 AM

The only thing new here is that he and his followers have come out of the ..er…sulphur-fumed closet. many were at the democratic “lust is us” convention where they collectively booed God.
At least Satan never denies God exists.

Don L on January 8, 2014 at 6:28 AM

Exactly the opposite…it should be tended to regularly, cleaned, maybe even planted around with flowers…by a local church organization…

JetBoy on January 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Methinks watering them with Holy water for starters. Perhaps donating some “Devil’s paintbrush (hawkweed) and then have the town claim it for a profitable recycling dump under Kelo!

Don L on January 8, 2014 at 6:31 AM

If I lived in a state that was a bulls eye for tornadoes and near a geological vault line, I wouldn’t want a statue of Satan on my capital steps, either. There is a basis for putting a plaque of the 10 Commandments there as those Words from God on how we should live our lives in peace have been the bedrock of our laws ever since.

Kissmygrits on January 8, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Won’t God just take it out with a single lightning bolt?

verbaluce on January 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Oklahoma City…

Springtime…

I wouldn’t bet against it.

trigon on January 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Truth.

jedijson on January 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Satan statue is woefully incomplete without Dan Aykroyd goat-leggings from Dragnet (1987).. or Kieran Vollard attire from Dinner for Schmucks (2010).

This idea is as silly as a South Park “Super Best Friends” episode… yet (somehow) not nearly as fatwa-worthy.

Terp Mole on January 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Not a good idea to invoke Satan, even in jest. Whether His Majesty exists or not, the thought does, and it has consequences.

stillings on January 8, 2014 at 10:48 AM

It’s only a model….

unclesmrgol on January 8, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Blatant disregard for the historical culture of America by legal dimwit AP. If native americans want to put up a display of some religous symbol go ahead. But wiccans or Satanists have no similar standing.

Mormontheman on January 7, 2014 at 2:03 PM

All these characters, from Yahweh to Satan, are fictional. And a reading of the Old Testament shows that perhaps Yahweh is a more evil character than Satan. Any recognized religious organization should have equal rights to display their symbolism. The satanists seem to be recognized as a religion by the U.S. tax code so they have standing.

Annar on January 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

DAMN SPELLCHECK! It as supposed to say “Santa”!

Kenz on January 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

All these characters, from Yahweh to Satan, are fictional. And a reading of the Old Testament shows that perhaps Yahweh is a more evil character than Satan.
Annar on January 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

*facepalm*

Othniel on January 8, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I think I’m more appalled by the crappy artwork. Look at the detail on the arms, hands, etc. Who designed that thing? A 3rd grader?

iceman1960 on January 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM

I live in Oklahoma. Allowing the Ten Commandment monument to be privately funded and then placed on the state capitol grounds was a ballot measure voted on by the citizens of Oklahoma. First, a petition was required with the required number of signatures to place it on the ballot and then it was passed with a HUGE majority of votes. If the satan lovers want to jump through the hoops, lets see just how many signatures and then votes their effort receives. Good luck with that satanistas. Ha!

notalibturd on January 8, 2014 at 4:14 PM

^^^^^Hey neighbor!

If that idiot idol ever saw the light of day, I give it about a week to survive. About every third vehicle here is some kind of Chevy or Dodge DIESELMAX 6000 4×4 EXTRATON with winches and tow chains.

8thAirForce on January 8, 2014 at 4:39 PM

SauerKraut537 on January 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM

You should reread the Establishment Clause; most people get it terribly wrong. It only comes in play on laws passed by the U.S. Congress, so it does not apply to this instance. That is unless, as is so many cases of judicial activism, you extract something else from it.

whatcat on January 8, 2014 at 7:08 PM

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