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Praise Jesus and - If You Really Want to Go There - Satan, Lord Hanuman, Muhammad, Selassie, Adonai and Social Justice

by Abby Zimet

In an engaging cluster-f#*k of political rhetoric meeting constitutional legality, Oklahoma's privately funded, GOP-sponsored, spelling-challenged state capitol monument to the 10 Commandments, already facing an ACLU lawsuit on account of that little matter of separation of church and state, may now face even greater challenges - a proposed neighboring monument "in good taste" to Satan, and maybe a "big and weather-proof" one to the Hindu god Lord Hanuman. Appalled Oklahoma legislators argue Satan has no place in their capitol because we are "a faith-based nation and a faith-based state," evidently, conveniently forgetting that Christianity is far from the only faith practised in America. Thus enter Satanists, who are seeking donations - "Put A Satanic Monument at the Oklahoma Capitol!" - for a devil statue featuring inter-active displays for kids. Intriguingly, Lucien Greaves of the New-York-based Satanic Temple describes the "faith" as a primarily political “poison pill” in the Church/State debate, a sort of darker Yes Men and "literary construct" based on "a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure" whose socially responsible activists seek to "play upon people’s irrational fears in a way that hopefully causes them to reevaluate what they think they know" - for instance, that we are a Christian nation. Proving his point are Hindus, the country's fourth largest religious group and the world's oldest and third largest, who have now likewise applied to Oklahoma officials to build a statue of Lord Hanuman, "who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was (a) perfect grammarian.” Giddily chiming in here are godless atheists, who recently built the country's first atheist monument on public land in Florida, seek to replicate it across the country, and call Oklahoma's dilemma, constitutionally caught between a rock and hard place, "beautiful."

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