Satan may be enthroned--literally--in the Oklahoma State Capitol if the winds don't change. A sum of almost $10,000 has been crowdfunded toward the purpose of erecting a statue of Satan as the god Baphomet to be placed near a monument of the Ten Commandments on the premises.
"The monument has been designed to reflect the view of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond." (Lucien Greaves, Satanic Temple spokesman)
This Satanic statue features a 7-foot, sly-faced, goat-headed, hornéd, wingéd being complete with cloven feet and a beard, seated on a throne displaying a pentagram, flanked by a boy and girl looking up at the him in wondrous adoration. In short, he resembles Pan. But this statue isn't just for looks.
"The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation." (Lucien Greaves)
According to the Urban Dictionary, the origin of Baphomet, though unclear, stems back to the creation of Eliphas Levi and is also known as the Goat of Mendes, the Black Goat, and even the Judas Goat (Satanic Kindred). The Church of Satan's statue of Baphomet has ties to the biblical Leviathan, the sea serpent also affiliated with Satan. Worship of Baphomet is historically tied to the Knights of Templar as well.
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Baphomet's suggested etymologies are the Greek "baphe" and "metis" which translate into "baptism of wisdom" and also the Atbash cipher for the Greek goddess Sophia (see Athena) who was said to not spring from her mother's loins, but rather from her father Zeus' head; she was revered for her wisdom. In Latin, the associated phrase Templi omnium hominum pacis abhas means "the father of universal peace among men."
It would seem this "gift" from the Temple of Satan is well-intended although the obvious introduction of it and reasoning for it tells a different story.
Liberal thought blames those who erected the monument of the Ten Commandments at the Capitol for the introduction of the Satanist statue.
"Lawmakers should know by now that erecting a Ten Commandments monument in front of a government building makes for a long legal fight." (Bloomberg Businessweek)
The Mosaic monument was erected in 2012 thanks to private funding. The monument resides on the North steps of the building and the American Civil Liberties Union's Oklahoma Chapter is suing to have it removed (NY Daily News). But despite the negative legal action, popular opinion--Christian and secular alike--seems to think that the Church of Satan's statue won't get very far.
"Why can't the Satanists be just a little more tasteful? There is no way the statue they've proposed for the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds is going to fly. Even if it does have wings." (LA Times)
"I think you've got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland. "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." (Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon)
The Church of Satan's efforts are "an insult to the good people of the state....I do not see Satanism as a religion, and they have no place at the state Capitol." (Rep. Earl Sears)
Yet Greaves and his supporters remain determined. They need to reach their goal of $20,000 in order to build the monument and they're halfway there.
"We plan on moving forward one way or another." (Lucien Greaves)
Greaves admits the efforts of the Satanic Temple are, in part, meant to confront the "hypocrisy" of the leaders in the State of Oklahoma (Tulsa World).
Due to all of the monumental mayhem, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission has placed a moratorium on all similar requests for the time being.
"Anybody can still make their request, but we'll hold off on considering them until the lawsuit is adjudicated." (Trait Thompson, Commission Chairman)
Guess those requests by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group, and particularly, the laughable "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" will have to take a number.
Until then, we'll just have to wait and see if Satan will indeed be enthroned in the Seat of Oklahoma.