A satanist group plans to submit a design for a monument it wants to erect on the lawn of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The proposal from the New York-based Satanic Temple comes after Oklahoma conservatives erected a monument to the Ten Commandments on the statehouse lawn. In 2009, the Republican-controlled Oklahoma Legislature authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument to be placed near the Capitol steps.
In so doing, the Legislature apparently opened the door to other religious groups, including satanists, to privately fund their own monuments.
This is what the legal community calls a "backfire," Christian news outlet Relevant wrote.
"We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards," Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, wrote in a letter to state officials. "Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines."
Greaves credits Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze, a Republican, with propelling the satanic movement into the limelight by helping to clear the path for the Ten Commandments monument that his family also helped to fund.
"He's helping a satanic agenda grow more than any of us possibly could," Greaves told the Associated Press, adding, "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."
The proposed satanic monument could include a pentagram and an interactive display for children. If approved, the monument would cost about $20,000.
Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, told AP that if state officials want to allow one type of religious expression, they must allow for others.
"If the Ten Commandments, with its overtly Christian message, is allowed to stay at the Capitol, the Satanic Temple's proposed monument cannot be rejected because of its different religious viewpoint," Henderson said, adding that a better solution might be to ban any religious monuments from appearing on state property.