TST'S BAPHOMET STATUE
TST'S BAPHOMET STATUE

   The First Amendment requires that the US government must treat all religions equally. After a statue of the Ten Commandments was donated to Oklahoma City by State Representative Mike Ritze and placed outside the Oklahoma State Capitol, The Satanic Temple offered to donate a religious statue. The Temple chose Baphomet – a pagan idol associated with the Knights Templar that was conceived in the 11th century, and whose depiction has changed dramatically over time. The best-known representation of Baphomet as a "Sabbatic Goat" did not appear until 1856 when Eliphas Lévi published Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic. The Satanic Temple has continued the tradition of adapting the image of the mythical figure. The most notable difference is that Baphomet now has a male chest. This was done for practical reasons such that State governments could not reject the statue on the grounds that it could be considered obscene.

    The Oklahoma City Supreme Court ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments statue because Oklahoma State law prohibits the use of state property to further religions. The offer to donate the Baphomet statue to Oklahoma was then withdrawn; however, it could potentially find its final dwelling place in the Arkansas Capitol grounds alongside Senator Jason Rapert's Ten Commandments monument, pending trial in 2020. The Satanic Temple's Baphomet monument will remain on display to the public at Salem Art Gallery until it is placed alongside other religious monuments on public property.

    This representation was created by Mark Porter and features antecedents that include elements of Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism, the figure of Melek Taus, and Slayer's debut album cover. At its core is the union of opposites and the line of shadow and light. Constructed in bronze, weighing over 3,000 pounds, and standing eight and a half feet tall, the Salem Art Gallery is the temporary home of "Baphomet" – the most politically-charged sculpture of our time.

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