The Ten Commandments monument prompted a New York-based Satanist group to propose its own statue on the statehouse steps in Oklahoma.
Police said a vehicle plowed into the Ten Commandments monument near Oklahoma's capitol building at about 9pm on Oct. 23. The monument was smashed into pieces. The vehicle was abandoned after the incident and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is investigating.
The U.S. Secret Service on Oct. 24 arrested 29-year-old Michael Reed Jr. after he made threatening comments at the Oklahoma City Federal Building about President Obama and said Satan told him to smash the monument. Reed also claimed he urinated on the monument before running it over.
"The ACLU of Oklahoma and our clients are outraged at this apparent act of vandalism. While we have and continue to seek the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds through the judicial process, the Ten Commandments constitute a strong foundation in our clients' deeply held religious beliefs."
No evidence has linked Ten Commandments incident to the group of Satanists who seek to install their own monument at the state's capital building.
A Satanist organization is seeking to build its own statue on the steps of the Oklahoma Statehouse, four years after the conservative legislature controversially approved building a Ten Commandments monument in the same place, in what critics called a blurring of the line between church and state.
The Satanic Temple on Jan. 6 released designs for a 7-foot-tall statue it hopes to install. The statue depicts Satan as a goat-headed figure called Baphomet sitting on a throne adorned with a pentagram and surrounded by two smiling children. The Satanic Temple raised over $28,000 of its original $20,000 goal to build the statue.
"The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures… 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."
The Satanic Temple says it is partly satirical and is unrelated to the Satan of Judeo-Christian origins. The group often asserts its right to religious expression in order to challenge when the church-state divide is used by others to serve a "religious agenda."
Vice obtained access to the studio where the Baphomet bronze sculpture is being made. The Satanic Temple told Vice it intends to make a mold of the statue and take out an insurance policy on the statue. The Temple said depending on the policy, it may be able to mold two new statues if the original is destroyed by people who oppose it.
"I think these Satanists are a different group. You put them under the nut category."
The ACLU of Oklahoma said that if the "overly Christian" Ten Commandments monument is allowed to remain at the Capitol, lawmakers can't turn away the Satanists because of their "different religious viewpoint." The group said allowing no religious expression on state property might be preferable.
An atheist group filed a lawsuit in an Oklahoma federal court Jan. 14 to have the Ten Commandments statue removed. American Atheists contend the monument violates the constitution's establishment and equal protection clauses because it amounts to a religious endorsement on government land.