If public land is fair game for Christian Conservatives, shouldn't it be fair game for everyone?
Should Satanists be allowed to raise a satanic monument on public land? My answer has to be no. I don’t think any religious idol should be sponsored on public land. That includes Christian monuments as well. I bring this up due to the debate in Oklahoma on the placement of a 10 Commandments monument on public land and the response it has received.
In Oklahoma, a 10 Commandments monument has been raised on the State Capitol. Clearly this would be a violation of the 1st Amendment and the Separation of Church and State. The government, both federal and state, cannot sponsor any religion over the other with use of public dollars or land. Yet the proponents claim the monument is legal because it was funded with private dollars. Still, the monument rests on public land.
The response to the raising of the 10 Commandments has been very entertaining from my perspective. The obvious logic is that if Christians can pay private dollars to have a monument, then why can’t other religious groups? Hindus have petitioned to get their own monument, but the one that makes me smile the most is the Satanists.
A New York based Church of Satan group filed for permission to raise its own monument. The group has already raised thousands of private dollars to pay for their idol to be placed on the Oklahoma State Capitol lawn. A seven foot tall statue of Baphomet, with the added function of a bench is being petitioned by the Satanists. They have a valid case.
Though I am not a Satanist, I follow the logic. If Christians can pay for a monument, then surely the Satanists can too right? Oklahoma will surely allow the Satanists to have Baphomet and the Hindus to have Hanuman next to the 10 Commandments right? Of course not.
Though the Satanists have raised all the necessary funds and have filed all the necessary paperwork, ultimately Oklahoma lawmakers have to approve the monument for it to be raised. The Christian conservatives in the State Capitol have said a resounding NO to allowing a Satanist monument. One Republican lawmaker said “This is Oklahoma, that’s not going to fly here” about the prospect of a Satanist monument.
The majority conservative members in the State of Oklahoma have no intention of ever approving a Satanist or Hindu monument, or any monument that is not Christian. This is precisely the point. The conservatives in Oklahoma have no intention of allowing an equal display of religious monuments. The plan was solely to advance Christianity above other groups.
I see the frustration with the issue. The 1st Amendment clearly does not allow any religion to be advanced on public land or public dollars against any other religion. Freedom of religion also means that the government cannot sponsor any religion. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t want to see any of these monuments of public land.
The Christian right will not give up their crusade to instill Christian superiority over other faiths. That is the only reason the 10 Commandments were raised in Oklahoma. It is a serious question to be asked. If Christians can have a monument, why can’t Satanists or anyone else? More than likely, this issue will go to the courts. There it will be settled, in the only rational way it should be.
P.S. I also know that most Satanists do not consider themselves part of a religion. However, they have just as much legitimacy as any group for a privately funded public monument.