(From The Campus Lantern – January 16, 2014)
I recently stumbled upon an article on The Washington Times’ website entitled “Satanists’ statue design for Oklahoma Capitol: ‘Sit on the lap of Satan.’” The title was a lot to take in, but it sparked my interest. The gist of it was that members of the Satanic Temple in Oklahoma feel as though they have a right to build a statue of Satan at the state’s Capital building. There has been a monument of the Ten Commandments there since 2012; the Satanists think that if one religious group has the right to have their presence in Oklahoma’s capital, lawmakers should allow other religious groups to be there, too.
At first look, the article seems bogus. A statue of Satan at a state Capitol building? That’s just unheard of. But once I took the time to think about it, I realized that it’s not so out there. I am not a religious person myself, but why should one person’s religion be accepted by the government, and then another’s shamed? If the monument of the Ten Commandments is standing, why shouldn’t one of Satan? In my eyes, no religion reigns over any other in importance. If someone wants to believe in God, let them. If someone wants to believe in Satan, let them.
This article also made me think of the seeming lack of separation between church and state in the United States. It can be argued that if there is a true separation of church and state then there should be no religious statues next to a Capitol building. It can also be reasoned that if one religion can flaunt their beliefs at the Capitol, then any religion should be able to. If Oklahoma lawmakers do not let Satanists build their statue at the state’s capitol, this country needs to speculate on this supposed “separation” between religion and government. Another debate currently going on in government is whether women should be able to have abortions, and if so, how late they should be able to have them. One major argument against abortion is that is goes against certain religions. However, in a governmental viewpoint, if there truly is a separation between church and state, this is an illegitimate reason. Regardless of the topic, or how controversial it is, lawmakers need to take a step back and make sure the separation between church and state is present in their policies.