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Satanic statue installed in Detroit

Satanic statue installed in Detroit

Members of the Satanic Temple, a religious organization which is more of an advocacy group for secular government than a religious faith, has been in a long-standing battle to install a statue of Baphomet in Oklahoma next to a Ten Commandments monument. After being denied by the state government, they found a location in an industrial zone in Detroit for their statue.

The Ten Commandments monument is a controversial sculpture on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds. It was ruled unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, because of a ban on using state property for religious purposes in the Oklahoma State Constitution. The Satanic Temple tried to have a 9 foot tall statue of Baphomet installed in protest, but were denied. The Governor of Oklahoma has refused to remove the Ten Commandments statue while she appeals the decision.

The Satanic Temple does not believe in a literal Satan; instead, followers speak of a literary entity that stands for reason and freedom. From a Time article about the installation:

Most vitally, though, the group does not “promote a belief in a personal Satan.” By their logic, Satan is an abstraction, or, as Nancy Kaffer wrote for The Daily Beast last year, “a literary figure, not a deity — he stands for rationality, for skepticism, for speaking truth to power, even at great personal cost.”

The Satanic Temple lost their bid to place their statue on the Oklahoma State Capitol, although the Ten Commandments still stands; do you think it’s only a matter of time before the Commandments monument is removed?

What do you think about the Satanic Temple’s protest methods?

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Bill Simpson

The kids have a point about separation of church and state. However, it’s generally not advisable to invite negativity (literal or figurative) into one’s life. It’s probably a phase they’re going through.

JC Fisher

Hmm, I seem to be missing a comment here. Let me clarify, if that helps. It’s indubitable, that the group that put up this statue are anti-theists: that is, it’s not just that don’t believe in (any) divinity, but that they are actively hostile to faith in (any) divinity.

And because they’re expressing their anti-theism via the statue of an (ostensible) supernatural entity, they are effectively “punking” religion (in the sense of “playing a prank on”) religion.

To sum up: I call them “anti-theist punks” (but you may think of them as “anti-theist pranksters” if you prefer). [Is it debateable that they crave attention?]

Professor Christopher Seitz

“LaVey also stated that he wasn’t claiming a personalized Satan or personalization of evil”

The question is, Did Satan agree to this? Or think it was better to let LaVey pretend he was in charge?

Marshall Scott

Honestly, it would appear that Satan wasn’t consulted. We can only speculate about approval or disapproval. It may well be that LaVey now knows more about that.

Professor Christopher Seitz

Blessed Marshall, hope this queues up where needed.

Your view is my own.

I haven’t ever made a sculpture of a non-literal Satan, but I think that kind of labor is covered by the Decalogue, and by Christ’s own seconding of it.

“You shall worship the LORD your God and Him only shall you serve.”

The “Ruler of this World” has been defeated at the Cross, but he is still in his World.

Grace and peace in Christ Jesus.

Marshall Scott

Blessedly, Brother Seitz, I hope we all face Satan on Christ’s terms, whether Satan likes it or not. (And, for the record, I do believe in evil beings and fallen spiritual creatures; and I trust that they, like me, are ultimately subject to God.)

Professor Christopher Seitz

To invoke Satan is to have him on his own terms, not yours.

Marshall Scott

This sounds like the successor (or continuing) group in the tradition of Anton Szandor LaVey, who published The Satanic Bible in the 1960’s. LaVey also stated that he wasn’t claiming a personalized Satan or personalization of evil, but a definite libertarian morality (and perhaps libertine, considering the time and place he was in). The contemporary Pagan movements have, by and large, held to a largely but not radical libertarian perspective: “If you harm none, do as you like.” My memory of LaVey’s perspective (I did read in the book, but it was a long time ago) is that he and his were much less concerned about the “if you harm none…” part (and wanted to be as clearly “not Pagan” as pagans wanted to be clearly “not Satanist).

On a side note, as one who works in healthcare I wonder how folks react (if they notice) to Baphomet with the caduceus in his lap.

Michelle Boomgaard

Wait – don’t we have a literal deity that spoke truth to power at great personal cost? Why are we ceding that?

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