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Temple of Satan and Ten Commandments: A violation of the establishment clause?

January 15, 2014

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Over three years ago, Oklahoma legislators passed a bill to put a monument on the Capitol grounds. The monument was not the first to be placed near the Capitol building, but it was unique among the memorials to Oklahomans who fought in wars and great people of the state. The monument was of the Ten Commandments.

The bill that gave the green light for the privately funded monument reads, “The placement of this monument shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others, but rather will be placed on the Capitol grounds where there are numerous other monuments.”

The state’s reasoning for the monument, the bill said, was that “the Ten Commandments represent a philosophy of government held by many of the founders of this nation and by many Oklahomans and other Americans today, that God has ordained civil government and has delegated limited authority to civil government, that God has limited the authority of civil government, and that God has endowed people with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Flash-forward to December 2013, when a New York-based church applied to have a monument that represented its religion placed on the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City. Its reasoning was that if the state truly doesn’t favor one religion over another, than monuments should be allowed for all religions, even this particular New York church, the Temple of Satan.

“They said they wanted to be open to different monuments,” Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Temple of Satan told CNN, “and this seems like a perfect place to put that to the test.”

The Temple of Satan is probably not what you think it is. Members believe that Satan is more of a literary figure. The church uses the image of the great deceiver as a political tool rather than a spiritual guide, using the horns and hooves to rile up politicians who the church believes are favoring one religion over another.

The Temple of Satan’s claim to a monument is based on the establishment clause in the First Amendment. The clause states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…,” which means that no government, state, federal or local, can establish a religion or favor one religion over another. The Temple of Satan says that by placing the donated Ten Commandments monument on public land, the state is favoring the Judeo-Christian faiths, which violates the First Amendment. The temple argues that the state of Oklahoma must allow all religions to place privately funded monuments on the Capitol grounds.

University of Oklahoma constitutional law professor Joseph Thai says that the Satanists have a point. “The state can disown the Ten Commandments monument erected at the Capitol with private funds as private speech, but then it cannot reject other privately donated religious monuments — even a satanic one — on the basis of viewpoint,” Thai said.

And the Temple of Satan is no longer the only religion that wants to put up a monument. Upon hearing of the Temple of Satan’s request, the Universal Society of Hindus applied to have a monument erected for one of its most revered gods, Hanuman, the Monkey King.

While politicians have not commented on the Hindus’ application, many had something to say about the Temple of Satan’s request.

State Rep. Earl Sears is opposed to the Temple of Satan’s application, finding it offensive. “This is a faith-based nation and a faith-based state,” Sears told the Tulsa World.

Joe Griffith, a spokesman for Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, argues that the satanic monument goes against the values and beliefs of Oklahoma. Griffith said to NBC News, “The left-hand path philosophies of this organization do not align with the values of Oklahomans, nor the ideals this country or its laws are founded upon.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state, arguing that the Ten Commandments monument is a violation of the establishment clause. The ACLU argues that no religious monuments should be allowed on the Capitol grounds.

The Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission, which must approve any monument, has put a hold on all applications until a ruling is handed down on the ACLU’s suit.

What do you think?

Should the Satanists and Hindus be allowed to put religious monuments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds? Does allowing only the Ten Commandments monument violate the establishment clause? Should all religious monuments be banned? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
5/17/2017
Magnolia/ TX
Diego Ruiz
Metzger/ Magnolia West HS
If the Christian Church is allowed to set up a monument, The Church of Satan has the same rights that every other religion. If you want to avoid this whole problem they should have just enforced the establishment clause and denied the Christians request to put up a Ten Commandment monument.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Anthony K
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
If the Christian following is allowed to erect their own statue of the Trn Commandments then The Temple should be allowed to erect their own monument. I know that the Satan followers may be in the low percentage in Oklahoma but they should be equal to the probably larger Christian followers. The statue should definetly be allowed on Oklahoma Capitol grounds.

9/2/2015
Sidney, Montana
Dakota G.
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
Even if the majority of America or Oklahoma are primarily Christian, if they can erect a monument of something representing their religion then any religion should be allowed to erect a monument of something that represents them and their beliefs. The first amendment protects any religion from discrimination and allows for anyone to express their beliefs whether they be Satanists, Christians, Catholics, Buddhists Jews, or any other religion.

9/1/2015
Sidney, MT
Mattie Steinley
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
I think that the Satanists and Hindus should not be allowed to put up religious monuments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds because the U.S. Constitution is based off of the belief of God. At the same time though, I think that the Ten Commandments monument should have been in questioned too before being built because then it sets out other religions want to build a monument too. I do think all religious monuments should be banned because if you give one religion the right to do it then every religion should be able to.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
MIke
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that the Satanist's monuments should not be allowed to be put on the Oklahoma's Capitol grounds. America was founded with the belief of God. If a Satanic monument is put up on the capitol's grounds, it basically goes against most of America's faith in the Christian and Jewish religion. Besides, only a SLIM minority of Americans are Satanists. As for the Hindu's monument, should be allowed to be built. A good percentage of the United States is Hindi. The Ten Commandments monument does NOT violate the establishment clause, because like I mentioned earlier, America was founded with the belief of God. Not all religious monuments should be banned though. Unrealistic religion monuments should be banned.

5/28/2014
Maple, WI
Zacharius
Dr. Crail / Northwestern Highschool
I think that if you let one religious group put up a statue that is on no way demeaning to anyone or anything then you have the obligation to let other religions do the same thing. You can't just let one group do something like that and not let another based on the way they practice their religious rights. If you let one group have the right then you're just inviting others to try and challenge that. I don’t think they should have allowed it at all in the first place but since they did, they need to try and make it fair.

5/22/2014
Washington/NJ
Kanisha
Rokosny /Warren Hills
The Temple of Satan should not be banned because it is a religious monument. In that aspect, it is definitely a violation of the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause. However, people must also put into consideration the fact that these monuments are going to be seen by the general public and that they send a message. We cannot allow just anything to be built anywhere, just because we have this "I want it too" mentality. If the Temple of Satan would like to build a monument, it is within their First Amendment rights to build such, however they should definitely be mindful about what they are building. As much as we do not want to admit it, we are a nation based off of the Christian religion and Christian morals. Yet, that does not mean that we can use that as an excuse to make Christianity a dominating force around us. If the Ten Commandments monument was allowed to be built, then constitutionally the Temple of Satan monument should also be allowed to be built. But in reality, neither should be built, as it is a violation of our Freedom of Religion, and publicly displaying one religion over another is a direct and blatant violation of this right.

5/22/2014
Washington/NJ
Danielle Forstenhausler
Rokosni/Warren Hills Regional High School
If state legislators are going to accept religious monuments being erected on public land, they must accept monuments from all religions. The Society of Hindus has also applied to have a monument built and no opposition has been given to them. The Temple of Satan, however, has dealt with considerable opposition from legislators who find it offensive and contrary to the ideals of the country and its laws. Still, from a First Amendment freedom of religion standpoint, no religion can be supported over another by the government, and the Temple of Satan is a religion with the same rights as others.

5/22/2014
Concord, Ca
Allie
Mount Diablo High School
Although I am a Christ follower, I do believe that everyone has the right to believe whatever they would like and that the law clearly states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...". It is very clear that the Satanists should be able to put their monument up on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. Every religious group should as well be allowed to have their own monument up. But because so much corruption is coming out of this violation, it seems to me that it would be easier to ban all religious monuments from the Capitol grounds. That way, there would be no quarrels over religious differences.

4/15/2014
Frisco,TX
Haley
AdamsCTECenter
This clearly violates the establishment clause in the 1st amendment. I believe that even though the monument was privately funded it was still on government property which is technically endorsing a specific religion over another. This especially violates the 1st amendment rights of citizens who are not of said religion.

4/11/2014
Mckinney/ Tx
Jeremy
Adams/ CTE
The establishment clause states that there can be no established religion by the local, state, or federal government. This was put in place to prevent a theocracy and is a very stringent rule. This means that any religion has to be accepted near the capital grounds whether accepted or unorthodox. Therefore Christians, Satanist, and Muslims have equal protection to produce whatever statue they please to create. Limiting or banning a certain religious from displaying their statue is unconstitutional because it goes against the establishment clause of the first amendment.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Marlen
Adams/CTE Center
I believe that if Christians have the right to have monuments portraying Jesus, then Buddhists should have monuments portraying the lotus flower, Hinduists should have a monument portraying Mahabrahman and even Satanists should be allow to praise their religious beliefs freely. This is a part of the 1st amendment, the freedom of speech and religion. Therefore, not allowing for them to have their monument is considered, in my eyes, a violation of the constitution.

4/9/2014
Frisco,TX
Fabiha
Adams/CTECenter
I believe that this Temple of Satan and Ten Commandments should not be a violation of the establishment clause. The United States has a clear separation between church and state the government can not shun this religion and deny these followers the right to have their temple though it may not be a popular religion does not mean it shouldn't be treated any differently its still considered a religion and they have the right to freedom of religion.

4/9/2014
Frisco/Texas
Ryan
Adams/CTECenter
Along with Christians, Satanist's have the same rights to believe in what they want. Satan is seen to many as a literary figure. Now does this mean that they should not be allowed to have their own monument in front of their church? Of course not, because no matter the religion, each of us as individuals have the same right to believe in what they want. If someone believes in The Church of Satan then they have the right to believe in it. As to a monument in front of the church, that should also be accepted. The establishment clause states it "keeps the Government from setting up or establishing an official religion." Given that, the monument for The Church of Satan (Temple of Satan) and the monument of the Ten Commandments do not violate the establishment clause. The government is not funding this temple, it is for the people of The Temple of Satan and if it is what they believe in it should not be interfered with because they to have the right to their own religion whether it is considered a fully official religion or not.

4/9/2014
Frisco TX
Steven
Adams/CTE CENTER
I think the establishment clause because your are worshiping what you want to. You have to think about it. Because you free of speech so you.You have freedom of religion. so you have the right to do way you want because freedom of speech.

3/12/2014
Sidney/MT
Tori Hill
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
The issue presented is the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." I like this Temple of Satan thing. Don't get me wrong, I claim that I am a Christian myself, but that is just plain clever. I agree, as the article said, that by placing the Ten Commandments on public land, the state is favoring Judeo-Christian faiths, which violates the First amendment. I can't help but laugh at State Rep. Earl Sears "This is a faith-based nation and a faith-based state." Go ACLU! I agree with them wholeheartedly. NO religious monuments should be allowed on the Capitol grounds. Not Satanists, not Hindus, not Christians, NOT ANY. Putting only the 10 Commandments monument violates the establishment clause, and so does putting any kind of religious monument, because there is no way EVERY religion will be able to be represented. All religious monuments shouldn't be allowed on Capitol grounds. If you allow allow any/all religions to have monuments on Capitol grounds, you are going to have one large, monument-packed Capitol. @Jessi from Irving, Texas, I agree with the statement that "Citizens should not be offended by the monument that the Temple of Satan wanted to put up, but we should see their intent on moving forward and expressing beliefs. It seems as though they wanted to only shine some light on the freedom of religion and expression." Although I do not agree that every religion should be able to put up a monument on Capitol grounds, I think the world needs more open-minded people like yourself.

2/14/2014
Benson AZ
Nathan L.
Sorenson/Benson HS
I have myself been raised a Christian, however, in the United States there is a distinct separation between church and state. The government should try not to interfere with any church and the church should in no way interfere with the government. (So as to avoid wars or conflicts like between the Catholics and Protestants that plagued Europe in the 1600's for example). So if the state of Oklahoma did not allow the Devil Worshipers to erect their own monument, it was to save face, and not give the State of Oklahoma a bad reputation as a Devil worshiping state, not to accomplish a church's or Christianity as a whole agenda.

2/13/2014
Sidney, MT
Jess
Mr. Faulhaber
Freedom of religon. No matter how unpopular, it states that there is freedom in it.

2/10/2014
Irving/Texas
Lacie
Bradley/Nimitz
The Temple of Satan’s followers argue that they deserve a right to place their very own satanic monument on the state of Oklahoma’s capitol grounds. If the Christians get to have a monument of the Ten Commandments, then the satanists should get their own monument right? Wrong. The Ten Commandments monument is more than just a symbol of religion; it is a symbol of history. Our country was built on Christian roots, as we say in our pledge “Under God” every day. Yes, times have changed and it is stated in our Bill of Rights that every person has the right to practice their own religion, but that does not mean that every random group of people who decide to create their own religion gets to post monuments on historical, capitol grounds. Allowing the Temple of Satan’s monument on capitol grounds will start lots of controversy with other religions wanting their recognition also. There are tons of different religions practiced every day, and they all deserve recognition, but none should be openly displayed on such important places such as capitol grounds.

2/10/2014
benson/Az
donovan
mr. sorenson
in the constitution its says you have the right of freedom of religion so if they believe in Satan then keep it to your self

2/9/2014
Irving/Texas
Han
Bradley/Nimitz
Based on the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause, religions should be able place their monuments wherever they want. The government cannot interfere with any their religious interests as stated by the two documents. The Satanists and Hindus may indeed place their monuments in Oklahoma Capitol grounds even though some citizens may despise it. However, I believe there is a certain point where the government can take action if the religion is too malice and ill-mannered.

2/1/2014
Irving,Texas
Vanessa Garcia
Bradley/Nimitz High School
I believe the Satanist's should be allowed to display their beliefs, although I do not believe it's morally correct the Constitution stated we have equal rights. This applies to all other religions including Hinduism, Muslim, ect. the United States can not favorite Christianity only because of its popular belief. When we are a country known for equal rights and most importantly freedom of religion which the pilgrims set this land for we should follow what we were built on. The government is ran on basically the fundamentals of the Constitution and should thereby follow it, not just going off their beliefs but going off what they should be.

1/30/2014
Irving, Texas
William
Bradley
First off, if a public government controlled place allows any religious reference to be placed on its grounds, it must allow any religion to place a reference. This is to prevent any government preference to religion and to keep religion out of politics. However these references to religion should be representative of the surrounding population. If there was a Temple of Satan in Oklahoma, then it should be allowed to build its monument. But because it is in New York, it should not have a say in what monuments are placed on soil in Oklahoma.

1/29/2014
Irving/Texas
Jaclyn
Bradley/Nimitz
Although there is freedom of religion, it doesn't mean every known religion needs to be on display in one area. If Oklahoma does indeed add the Satanic and Hindu monuments, there will just be more and more religious monuments applying to be erected on the state's capitol grounds. It was Oklahoma's decision to put the monument of the 10 Commandments on the capitol grounds and it should be Oklahoma's decision whether or not to put any other monuments like the monkey king or Satan. Oklahoma should have the right to deny any monument wanting to be on the capitol grounds. There is no point in taking down the already placed 10 Commandments monument as it is already there.

1/28/2014
Irving/TX
Zach
Bradley/Nimitz
It's plain and simple. Christian children in Oklahoma will have way too much leverage over Satanist children in schools. "We have a monument at the capitol, and you don't!" Not only do I believe in religious freedom, but I also believe in freedom of the playgrounds!

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Monica F.
Bradley/Nimitz
I would first like to say that I have been raised in a Christian household, and consider myself a Christian; however, what I - or another person - may or may not believe in shouldn’t be considered as right or wrong, because they’re beliefs. This is why I believe that both the Satanists and Hindus should be allowed to put religious monuments on Oklahoma capitol grounds - it’s their Constitutional right, according to the endorsement clause, which, “[P]revents the government from creating a church, endorsing religion in general, or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another.” (I’d like to add that if they only put up the Ten Commandments monument, that would clearly be a violation of this clause.) Also, the bill that allowed the Ten Commandments monument to be put on Capitol grounds clearly stated that, “The placement of [the Ten Commandments] monument shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others, but rather will be placed on the Capitol grounds where there are numerous other monuments,” and if this were the case, they should have no problem putting up the other religions’ monuments. However, if this much trouble is being caused, I suppose that they should just ban all religious monuments, so that there won't be anymore misunderstandings/endorsement clause violations.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Jessi
Bradley/Nimitz
The Ten Commandments monument exists on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds, and does not violate the establishment clause. But if the same legislators who passed the bill for its placement do NOT allow other monuments to be placed, then the rights, stated in the First Amendment, have been violated. This country was founded on the ideas of freedom and people of all walks of life come here in refuge to participate in that concept. Citizens should not be offended by the monument that the Temple of Satan wanted to put up, but we should see their intent on moving forward and expressing beliefs. It seems as though they wanted to only shine some light on the freedom of religion and expression. Their move was the catalyst for change in an ever changing world. Who better to get the country’s attention then the Temple of Satan? The name of their church alone catches anyone’s eye. The point they were trying to make is that everyone should put up a monument. It will not only make for much for interesting Capitol grounds, but will reflect the diversity of the country.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Caroline
Bradley/Nimitz
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as long as that opinion doesn't restrict other individuals from the first amendment(Freedom of religion).Satanists and Hindus should be allowed to put a religious monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. Although this country started off Christian the main reason was because they came to this land to practice their beliefs that were restricted from them in Europe.The first amendment was a promise to the people that this event would not happen again.Is in it ironic that the Europeans escaped the forced religion of Christianity to now most of American are Christian. Now we the people , should learn from the past so history won't repeat itself but apparently some of us are too traditional.Only allowing the Ten Commandments monument does violate the establishment clause.The monuments should speak or represent all not only one religion.It is all or nothing.

1/27/2014
Irving/ Texas
Dania Vanessa
Bradley/ Nimitz
Even though the United States was founded by freedom and new ideas, the Ten Commandments monument is a violation to the Establishment Clause. Through the First Amendment, we do have the freedom to express our views and opinions, but that does not mean that you can abuse that right. The United States Government is not allowed to have any sort of religious affiliation or religious preference, so that means that religious monuments should not be allowed to grace any sort of land that the citizens are paying for. This does not mean that all religious monuments should be banned, hey if anyone wants to put up any religious monument, then go for it, they should just do it in their own private property.

1/27/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah V
Bradley/Nimitz
The Satanists and Hindus should be allowed to put religious monuments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds on the basis of the establishment clause. Because of this clause, the government cannot discriminate against an organization, so if the Oklahoma government chooses to allow the Ten Commandment monument, legally it must also allow the Satanist to put up their monument as well. Although the establishment clause gives any organization the right to put up monuments, the people as a whole can decide whether they want such monuments so close to the Capitol and protest against it. The real issue here is how the Oklahomans want their capitol grounds to be perceived; either as a place based on Christian values or as a place tolerant of all religions.

1/27/2014
Irving/ TX
Monica C
Bradley/ Nimitz
I believe that Satanist and Hindus should be allowed to put their monuments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. If Christians are allowed to put up their religious monuments then other religions should be allowed as well. People of different religions visit the Capitol grounds, not only Christians. This is not violating the establishment clause because they are viewing it as a historic philosophy. I think that if they don't allow other religious monuments then they should ban them all together.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Jessi
Bradley/Nimitz
The Ten Commandments monument exists on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds, and does not violate the establishment clause. But if the same legislators who passed the bill for its placement do NOT allow other monuments to be placed, then the rights, stated in the First Amendment, have been violated. This country was founded on the ideas of freedom and people of all walks of life come here in refuge to participate in that concept. Citizens should not be offended by the monument that the Temple of Satan wanted to put up, but we should see their intent on moving forward and expressing beliefs. It seems as though they wanted to only shine some light on the freedom of religion and expression. Their move was the catalyst for change in an ever changing world. Who better to get the country’s attention then the Temple of Satan? The name of their church alone catches anyone’s eye. The point they were trying to make is that everyone should put up a monument. It will not only make for much for interesting Capitol grounds, but will reflect the diversity of the country.

1/27/2014
Sidney, Montana
Logan
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think that nothing would be a greater show of religious freedom than Satanists being able to have their own monument as the Christians have theirs.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Monica F.
Bradley/Nimitz
I would first like to say that I have been raised in a Christian household, and consider myself a Christian; however, what I - or another person - may or may not believe in shouldn’t be considered as right or wrong, because they’re beliefs. This is why I believe that both the Satanists and Hindus should be allowed to put religious monuments on Oklahoma capitol grounds - it’s their Constitutional right, according to the endorsement clause, which, “[P]revents the government from creating a church, endorsing religion in general, or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another.” (I’d like to add that if they only put up the Ten Commandments monument, that would clearly be a violation of this clause.) Also, the bill that allowed the Ten Commandments monument to be put on Capitol grounds clearly stated that, “The placement of [the Ten Commandments] monument shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others, but rather will be placed on the Capitol grounds where there are numerous other monuments,” and if this were the case, they should have no problem putting up the other religions’ monuments. However, if this much trouble is being caused, I suppose that they should just ban all religious monuments, so that there won't be anymore misunderstandings/endorsement clause violations.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Shiva
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that the Satanist’s monument should be allowed to be built there. This is because of the monument of the Ten Commandments. You cannot have one without the other as that would be favoring one over the other, you either have both or none. The clause of the first the amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…,” if they do not include the Satanist’s monument that would clearly show signs of favoritism.

1/27/2014
Irving/TX
Evila
Bradley/Nimitz
The Satanists and HIndus should be allowed to put up a monument on Oklahoma Capitol grounds if they allow the Ten Commandments to be put up also. Although this has sparked much controversy on whether monuments should even be allowed, these groups should be given the chance to express their beliefs. As long as the government does not favor one religion over another, then these different religions should be able to put their monuments to not only express their beliefs, but also showcase the diversity that lies in the United States, the land of the free.

1/27/2014
Irving/Texas
Janet
Bradley/Nimitz
This nation was built with the intentions for freedom and equality for all, and by having certain rights (the right to practice any religion) it forces us to be tolerant of other people's choices. Because of this freedom, this nation is full of different kinds of people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives. With that being said, if the Satanists and the Hindus are not allowed to establish monument on the Oklahoma Capitol ground, then other religious moments should be banned. Monuments, whether state or national, should represent the entire group of citizens instead of just the more favorable. If other religious groups aren't allowed their own monument then they are forced to assume that they are being looked as inferior or not respected. The Satanists and the Hindus believe what they believe, and if we choose not to acknowledge that then that makes us hypocritical because America isn't practicing what they preach. If we acknowledge one, we acknowledge all. If we ignore one, we ignore all.

1/26/2014
Irving/Texas
Felipe
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that people do thing for a reason and if they really want that something done then they will go so far to accomplish it. This country has given everyone this opportunity to fight for what we believe and begin something new. According to the constitution every American has the freedom of religion, therefore why try to change. We should all just let things go as it is and if bad results come out then that's when we fix it. They want to put their monument then let it be. We all have the things we fight for and we all have our reasons but it should only let pass if those reasons wont be hurting anyone else.

1/26/2014
Irving/Texas
Eva
Bradley/Nimitz
One of the definitions of satan is, “chief spirit of evil and adversary of God; tempter of mankind; master of hell”. Many people react to this definition with chills and with an understandable desire not to see that monument created . Greaves, the spokesperson for the satanist group, told Robin Abcarian from the L.A times "It doesn't matter if you are doing good in the name of Satan or the name of Jesus Christ, as long as you are doing good." That being said, if it doesn't matter who is receiving honor for people's good actions, then the Ten Commandments monument shouldn't be offensive to anyone, and that monument alone should be enough to satisfy a need for generosity. After all, that money could be put somewhere else (such as in their own state.) The US motto since 1956 “ In God we trust “ might not matter to anybody anymore. Many arguing our views have changed. That it doesn't demonstrate the average individuals views, and that may be true, but when the time comes around again when all that's left is to hope, that motto will become literal. I strongly believe the statue should not be allowed, and if it takes removing the 10 commandments monument then so be it, because the “Satan” statue is just creepy.

1/26/2014
Irving/Texas
Isabel
Bradley/Nimitz
The Temple of Satan is simply a capricious act of childish behavior of “I want it because you have it.” Though The Temple of Satan would represent equal practice of the First Amendment, the monument would raise more controversy between those who believe that the monument of the Ten Commandments does not violate the establishment clause and those who believe that it does. However, religious monuments should not be banned or discouraged solely on the basis of outlandish religious beliefs. Although the Satanist groups see this as an attempt to satirize politics, the Hindus simply wish to honor their god, the Monkey King, as we do with a monument. We are a faith based nation with the opportunity to practice our own religion, but it should be up to the public to decide what they want to see on a regular basis. Freedom of Religion and choice.

1/25/2014
Irving/Texas
Indya
Bradley/Nimitz
The state of Oklahoma putting up a monument of The Ten Commandments would indeed be unfair. The Ten Commandments comes from the christian religion and will be view as that. Yes, the history of our country is Christian based but, If a symbol of christian faith is placed at the capitol then why can’t a symbol of other religions be places there. Well its because even though we set forth rights such as freedom of religion and freedom to practice that religion, if it has to do with the government then it will only be associated with the christian faith. Whether its stated or not that's what it is. And placing The Ten Commandments on capitol grounds in the state of Oklahoma would only cause controversy between the government and other religions. Therefore, I believe that to keep the peace the monument should not be placed at the capitol.

1/24/2014
Irving/TX
Anh
Bradley/Nimitz
Truthfully, in a sense, we can never really separate church from state. When is there a situation where the question of the God never comes in? And this is just another case of religion. I believe having the ten commandments as a monument is not just a religious viewpoint but can also be a way of life. It's almost as if it's just stating the obvious of right and wrong. To put up the Satanist monument is almost provoking the religious question and challenging it. I also believe that people who are against the Satanist monument are afraid of the “religion” of Satan in which they are against it since all of our lives we have known and heard that this figure is pure evil. It’s just the “ perfect place to put that to the test.” These two religions do have a right to put up both of their monuments if the government and people wish to not have more controversy over the question of God. Only allowing the Ten Commandments monument would violate the establishment clause. Simply I believe that no one really has a problem with the Ten Commandments monument and the Hindu monument but they have a problem with the Satanist monument due to it’s reputation of knowing to be evil and sacrilegious. If they truly want to the church to be separate from the state then they must ban all religious monuments to end controversy and many “childish” actions to the law.

1/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Jose L
Bradley/Nimitz
Many argue this country is established under Christian beliefs and should remain so. Although the “one nation under God…” is very familiar throughout the public, it does not set in stone people’s individual beliefs or biases towards different faiths. In contrary there are laws who separate the Church and state, allow freedom of religion amongst citizens, and also freedom of speech/press. These citizens are just exercising their rights through these monuments. The location of the contradicting monuments have provoked a dispute by exercising the liberties to an uncomfortable level for some. As for what is allowed: all monuments are condoned and should not be subject of prejudice from their faith.

1/24/2014
Irving, Tx
Cydney
Bradley/Nimitz
I do understand, and also agree that everyone is entitled to their own religion and practices. With that being said, I believe that a monument for another religion is fair. Everyone says, “but this country was founded on christian beliefs.” Things have changed, people have changed, and there are so many other religions and beliefs out there. Why should people be punished for having their own opinions? If christianity were a universal practice, we might as well be called robots. Whether Hindu, Buddhist, or yes, even a Satanist, you have the right to practice what you want. That also means, being able to put up a monument of your choice. If everyone else has that right, I believe they should as well.

1/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Michael
Bradley/Nimitz
From the very beginning, this country was founded on Christian belief and later on in this country, we formed an constitution that provided the freedom to practice any religion you want! But I personally believe Satanists shouldn't have the right to practice their religion, because of the harm they would cause to society. If they are really "devil worshipers", then they will only seek to kill, steal, destroy, and cause chaos because that is what devil does! I believe if we allow Satanist to put up religious monuments, the death rate go up, economy will get worse;furthermore, nothing good will come out of it.

1/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Meredith
Bradley/Nimitz
It says in the constitution that every American has the freedom of religion. Even though this is a christian based country everyone needs to respect that fact that not every one is christian. If someone that is Hindu would like to have a monument based off of their religion then it should be their right to have it made. If it was that big of a deal then no monuments should ever be made based on any religion to avoid conflict. I am a christian, and as such I believe that no one should be judged for being Hindu. People should be respectful to others beliefs even if they aren't their own.

1/24/2014
Irving/TX
Kayla
Bradley/Nimitz
The first amendment says we have the right to exercise and express our religion, therefore Hindus and Satanists should be allowed to put their monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. By allowing only the Ten Commandments Monument to be put up violates the establishment of the clause because the clause states that the placement of the monument shall not be construed to mean that the State of Oklahoma favors any particular religion or denomination thereof over others, but rather will be placed on the Capitol grounds where there are numerous other monuments. If the other religions can’t be able to put up their monuments then the clause is not being fair to all religions and it is showing it favors one religion over the other. Either all religious monuments should be banned or they should all be accepted, there should not be any in between.

1/24/2014
Irving/Texas
Berenizes
Bradley/Nimitz
The Church of Satan’s want to have one of their own monuments on the Oklahoma capitol grounds is simply the classic conflict between siblings of “I want the toy they got.” However, simply because one wants something doesn't mean they deserve it. Monuments on capitol grounds reflect the values of the state and according to Burrell,”Monuments are built in response to something great being done. What have satanists given to society that actually benefits the city or the state?" I feel like this whole controversy is just going to lead to a domino effect where every religion is going to want their own symbol on Oklahoma’s capitol grounds. In order to halt this, the best solution is to to simply remove the ten commandments and have no religious monuments on the grounds. This way no one gets to the toy to flaunt.

1/24/2014
Irving/Texas
James
Bradley/Nimitz
Through out this comment forum there are people dogmatically proclaiming that America was founded as a Christian nation and that the founding fathers were, in fact, Christians themselves. "As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." States John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli. Thomas Jefferson stated, "That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions." The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." What's more saddening than the perversion of our great history is that there are religious groups that are feeling betrayed by there government. By having a single christian monument erect and not allowing the Hindus or the Atheists to represent there religious views with a monument on state grounds, Oklahoma government is showing that they are diametrically opposed to the views of the founding fathers and to the bill of rights. It is unjust to have a single monument representing a specific religion and denying other religious groups there right to erect monuments representing their beliefs. Either all religious monuments are permitted or none are.

1/24/2014
Irving/Teaxs
Joanielee
Bradley/Nimitz High School
Yes, this country was established by men who valued their (christian) religion, but times are ever changing. We now accept things and concepts that have long been fought over because of their good or bad relationship with religious organizations like gay rights (in some states) and abortion. This issue calls into question the religious and political views of this country. Fact is, we still abide by the laws set forth by our God believing forefathers including James Madison’s first amendment and the other bill of rights which we aren’t able to change. Satanists and Hindus actually practice their religions and if it truly benefits them to put up a monument in a free country then I agree they should be able to do that for the right reasons, to “test”, alone, doesn’t seem applicable. There has been a lot of controversy over the “under God” that was added to our pledge of allegiance in 1954 that it, too, violates the establishment clause, but nothing has been changed about it. It is said, nowadays, that “God” is a way to say a supreme being, but it used to mean, strictly, the christian God. Our country was established “under God” by our forefathers who were God believing men, that is the one of the many reasons they came here. Likewise, The Ten Commandments do not violate the establishment clause, the christians are simply practicing. We’ve had our faults in persecuting other religions and races, but we are now such a diverse and tolerant country therefore, either all the monuments should go up or none should be there at all. While the history of our country is Christian based we must abide by the laws and stay as fair as possible. Either way, whether the application is approved or denied, there will be some controversy.

1/23/2014
Irving/TX
Pam
Bradley/Nimitz
The Ten Commandments monument was built to "represent a philosophy of government held by many of the founder of this nation and by many Oklahomans and other Americans today,", never with the intent of showing favoritism of the Christian religion. The Temple of Satan's monument request seems to be more intended to put the patience of the people of Oklahoma to the test rather than having a real interest in having a monument dedicated to their beliefs, especially when it is mentioned in the article that the Temple of Satan uses the image of Satan “as a political tool, rather than a spiritual guide, using the horns and hooves to rile up politicians who the church believes are favoring one religion over another.” I don’t believe either the Temple of Satan or Universal Society of Hindus be allowed to use this specific monument space because they both have different intentions than that of the city’s Ten Commandments monument because it was made to honor the foundation of both the nation and the state. It’s not that religious monuments should be banned, it’s more of the reasons behind the monuments.

1/23/2014
Irving/ Texas
Victoria E.
Bradley/ Nimitz HS
This country was founded as a christian nation so if anything the monument of the ten commandments has as much historical importance to this nation as it does religious affiliation. Also it is for the people and legislators of Oklahoma to decide whether or not a monument for the Temple of Satan should be approved NOT a decision for a church in New York to make. As for the capitol adding other monuments for other religions, well that could happen though it seems that other religions had not come forward with their own privately funded monument to be voted on until now. Everyone wants to go fall back and point their finger at the first amendment when they want something but isn’t this a democracy? Shouldn’t we be listening to the voices of the people who actually live in Oklahoma? If the people and legislators want a monument from the Temple of Satan or they approve the Hindus monument then that is their choice as the people of that state. But if not who is the court to tell them that they must put something on their land even if they don’t want it. That is unconstitutional.

1/23/2014
Irving/Texas
Erin D
Bradley/Nimitz
Unfortunately for the Temple of Satan’s followers, this debate is only relevant if they are (truly) a religion. As established in this article the Temple of Satan admits that Satan is a literary figure they use solely to instigate political involvement regarding religious affairs in government, accepting that religion involves some sort of deity serving as a spiritual guide Temple of Satan clearly is not religion but more of a political organization. This being said, I feel that Oklahoma has the right to decline the construction of their proposed Temple of Satan monument. As for the Hindus request to have a religious monument on the Capital’s ground it should be acknowledged and permitted. This is because of the establishment clause in the First Amendment, if Oklahoma’s government were to decline them they would proclaim a favored religious view, thus violating such clause. In complete honesty the issue would be averted if there was a ban on all religious monuments being on government property, but since a lot of political views are fueled by their own personal beliefs the likelihood of this ban happening is not foreseeable.

1/23/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah L
Bradley/Nimitz High School
The Temple of Satan seems more like a debate group than a religion, being described as “...to rile up politicians who the church believes are favoring one religion over another.” The underlying intentions of the group do not seem to be religious at all, therefore, the monument they are proposing does not seem for this debate. This monument space was meant for the Ten Commandments; it is not an open canvas for others to add to like a messy scrapbook. If these organizations (Hindus, Satanists, etc…) want to really put up their statue, can’t they find a place of their own to put it? The Christian faith is not only the base of America’s foundation - it is also a large part of our history; displaying a part of our history is, and never will be, a violation of the law.

1/23/2014
Irving, TX
Josh A
Bradley/ Nimitz
This country was built on Christian beliefs. Congress added "One Nation, under God...." in our pledge to the American flag for a reason. It is true that we do have the right of religious liberty as stated in the 1st Amendment, but we mustn't forget about our historical christian roots. It is in light of this that Satanists or Hindus should not be allowed to put religious monuments on the OK Capitol grounds. Allowing the Ten Commandments to stand on government grounds reminds the public of why the United States of America was founded in the first place. Furthermore, by allowing the the commandments monument to be on the capitol grounds does not mean that the government is favoring a religion over another. The monument is justified by the fact that it represents U.S history.

1/23/2014
Irving/Texas
Milton
Bradley/Nimitz
Although it makes sense to say that if one religious monument is put up then any religious monument can and should be put up, putting a Satanist and Hindu monument should not be allowed because it promotes this religions. But isn't putting a monument about the Ten Commandments promoting that religion? Well not exactly. The Ten Commandments are more of moral beliefs that everyone should have and even though it comes from a particularly religion it doesn't violate the establishment clause. If a monument has been there for a long time then no it should not be banned but if it is a new monument that promotes that religion specifically then yes. You can say the Ten Commandments does that but they are just moral values.

1/21/2014
Benson Arizona
Preston
benson high school
This country was founded with a Christian belief, not Satan worshiping. I think that they do in fact have the right to put up the Ten Commandments, without having to be bothered with the devil worshipers complaining about it not being fair.

1/17/2014
Benson Arizona
Colten, Tommy, Hana
Marv Sorenson
The temple of Satan I believe shouldn't be able to put up their monument because they are just doing it to spite the religions who believe in god. yes there is freedom of speech but not to condemn others to hell. Ahmen Yee Yee

1/16/2014
Benson/AZ
Jessica
Mr. Sorenson/Benson High School
I believe that the Temple of Satan should have freedom to do what they please. Just because it isn't a favorable religion, doesn't mean it should have any restrictions. Freedom of Religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Everyone has the right to believe in what they want. It is only fair to the Temple of Satan to be able to put up whatever they want, if other churches are allowed to do the same.

1/15/2014
Benson/AZ
Mollie
Mr. Sorensen/Benson High School
“The state’s reasoning for the monument, the bill said, was that ‘the Ten Commandments represent a philosophy of government held by man of the founders of this nation and by many Oklahomans and other Americans today’.” The monument’s purpose is not to insult any other religion or belief, but rather, to represent the ideals of most Oklahoma people, ideals undeniably shared by our nation’s founders. The people of Oklahoma should be free to choose which monuments do and do not represent them. Wouldn't that, in a sense, be true freedom of religion?

1/15/2014
Benson/AZ
Sal Cope
Mr. Sorenson/Benson HIgh School
I think that it's only fair for the Temple of Satan to want to put something up too. Everyone has their different beliefs and I do think that it's wrong of the state to fight them on this because there is such thing as Freedom of Religion. I believe that the Temple of Satan should be able to put up their statue.

1/15/2014
Benson/AZ
Cheyenne Gamez
Mr. Sorenson/Benson High School
Freedom of Religion. It's only fair that the Temple of Satan goes up because they let the Ten Commandments go up. Everyone has different beliefs. I think that they shouldn't have put up either of the monuments because it just causes issues. But what's fair is fair.

1/15/2014
Benson/AZ
John
Mr. Sorenson/Benson High School
I think it's okay for the Temple of Satan to do what it desires to. I mean, there is freedom of speech, religion, etc... It's not all about the religion, though. Other religions should tolerate this action.

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