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The Anti-Fundamentalist Joke Behind Oklahoma’s Satanic Goat Statue

The plans for a 7 foot-tall satanic image scheduled for the Oklahoma capitol building has sparked outrage among the religious right.  Yet, as it turns out right-wing Christian groups may have a reason to feel slighted. The satanic goat at the center of the controversy is one more way the group is thumbing their nose at Christian fundamentalism.

After the announcement in December that the Satanic Temple of New York planned on constructing a statue on the Oklahoma grounds, the religious right took to the airways to decry the monument, calling it a “sinister religion practice” that “promotes evil.”

Right wing pastor Bryan Fisher argued that since the founding fathers clearly intended religion to only mean Christianity, all other religions should not expect protection under the law. “Our Constitution protects the free exercise of the Christian religion; yours is not a Christian expression, we’re not going to have that monument,” he said in a televised sermon.

The pastor preached on, “If we don’t understand the word ‘religion’ to mean Christianity as the founders intended it, then we have no way to stop Islam, we have no way to stop Satanism, we have no way to stop any other sort of sinister religion practice that might creep onto the fruited plains.”

After plans for the monument, which features the satanic goat flanked by innocent looking children, were unveiled in early January, the anti-monument rhetoric among right-wing pundits was ramped up and even turned violent.

On Fox News, during the so-called ‘Mensa Meeting’ segment on Jan.9, Bernard McGuirk joined in the claims made by other detractors that the monument “promotes evil” and was “anti-Christian.”

Then McGuirk, who regularly appears on the Fox News program, took it one violent step too far.

“They should be able to put the statue up, and then they should be shot right next to it, and then we take it down,” McGuirk said.

Yet, even while the anti-monument rhetoric has reached a feverish and perhaps even dangerous pitch, the religious right still has not realized the joke is on them.

A closer look at the monument shows the adoring children surrounding the satanic goat bears a striking resemblance to a popular Christian image of Jesus letting the little children come unto him.

Then, there is the comment made by Lucien Greaves, a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple that suggests while political statement behind the monument is very real, the plans to actually have it installed are at least somewhat facetious.

“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,” Greaves wrote in a statement, not doubt with at least a smile on his face.

Finally, in case you were not sure that the monument was meant to mock the fundamentalists and encourage a predictable outcry and calls to defend Christianity, the choice of subject, the satanic goat, gives it away.

“For the Satanists who designed the statue and their supporters, the joke is obvious, though no less hilarious,” Amanda Marcotte pointed out in a recent Alternet report.  “Baphomet is a figure likely made up by the Inquisition for the purpose of accusing its victims of worshipping him. Satanists today use his face as a way to mock modern fundamentalist Christians for their tendency to concoct imaginary enemies to stoke their own paranoid fantasies about being persecuted.”

Unfortunately, it appears, though, the religious right just keeps taking the bait, allowing Satanic Temple’s Greaves a platform to respond to debate by offering his own attack of the religious right’s credibility, no doubt one of his goals all along.

” It is unconscionable that a news panel would express opinions without doing any research,” Greaves said after Fox News called for his death and could not decide whether he was an atheist or a Satanist.  “Our’s is a philosophy that is meant to enrich lives and encourage benevolence. It is reprehensible that a nationally televised commentator could call for our execution regarding any item of disagreement, much less based upon entirely imagined presumptions.”

Photo Credit: Screen shot/Fox News Mensa Report

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.