The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 14, 2014

State sideshow: Lack of foresight opened up Pandora’s box in Oklahoma


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Earlier this month, the New York-based Satanic Temple showed off designs of a 7-foot-tall Satan statue for Oklahoma.

It was suggested to go alongside a Ten Commandments monument installed in 2012 on the north steps of our state Capitol. (The American Civil Liberties Union’s Oklahoma chapter sued to have the Ten Commandments removed.)

The provided artist’s rendering from the Satanic Temple — complete with a bearded, goat-headed demon — kind of resembled album cover artwork for the parody heavy metal band Spinal Tap. Children are standing next to the pentagram-adorned throne, according to The Associated Press.

When Satanic Temple officials suggested our state was opening the door to other religions by allowing the first monument, House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman suggested a satanic monument was unlikely.

However, Joseph Thai, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma, said legislators put the state between a rock and a hard place.

“The state can disown the Ten Commandments monument erected at the Capitol with private funds as private speech, but then it cannot reject other privately donated religious monuments — even a satanic one — on the basis of viewpoint,” Thai told AP.

This lack of foresight has opened up a Pandora’s box, making our state government a sideshow.

The idiom “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. Once you allow one, where does it stop?