The Ten Commandments monument was erected in 2012 despite criticism from those who questioned its constitutionality,NBC News reports. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to force its removal, but, in the meantime, a New York-based Satanic Temple is seeking to capitalize on an opportunity by proposing to donate its own monument for the capitol grounds.
"We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards," Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves wrote in letter to state officials. "Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines."
According to NBC News, one potential design "involves a pentagram, a satanic symbol, while another is meant to be an interactive display for children."
Oklahoma State Representative Bobby Cleveland is not concerned with the proposal.
"I think these Satanists are a different group," Cleveland said. "You put them under the nut category."
The ACLU, however, maintains that if state officials allow one type of religious expression, they must allow alternative forms.
"We feel like the Satanic Temple has a very strong argument to say that, if the state allows one religious monument, you have to allow others," ACLU legal director Brady Henderson said, CNN reported.
Legal precedent suggests the courts may agree that Satanists should be extended the same privileges as other religious groups.
The Christian Science Monitor explained, "In a 2005 case, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Satanists and followers of white-supremacist religions, saying that a federal law designed to protect prisoners' religious liberties protected theirs, too."
Should Satanists be afforded the same status as other religious groups? Should religious monuments be allowed on public property? Let us know in the comments or vote in our poll.
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