May 2, 2014 -- A statue at the center of a dispute between Satanists and Oklahoma officials is nearing completion, but the Satanists are no closer to installing the monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol after months of planning.
The New-York based Satanic Temple has been campaigning to insert a seven-foot statue of Satan on the north steps of the Capitol since December, next to a Ten Commandments monument that was placed there in 2012.
Officials in the conservative state sometimes referred to as the "buckle of the Bible Belt," have said the proposal is unlikely to be approved, with Oklahoma state Rep. Earl Sears calling the plan "an insult to the good people of the state."
The Satanic group said it has no beef with the privately funded Ten Commandments statue, but argues it should not stand alone.
The American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, sued to have the existing monument removed last year, saying in a statement that its placement "created a more divisive and hostile state for many Oklahomans," and, "sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal."
Pending the outcome of that case, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission has halted the further consideration and installation of other proposed monuments.
Commission Chairman Trait Thompson told ABC News on Friday that the moratorium on new monuments still has not been lifted.
"Anybody can still make their request, but we'll hold off on considering them until the lawsuit is adjudicated," Thompson told the AP shortly after the moratorium was placed.
Earlier this year, the Satanic Temple created an indiegogo campaign, which raised more than $28,000 for its cause. The funding went to hiring a classically trained artist to craft the statue of Satan as Baphomet -- replete with goat head, wings, horns and beard -- a symbol widely associated with the occult.
“We’re coming along rather quickly, and the sculpture work for the monument is nearly completed,” Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told ABC News. “Ultimately, it is to be cast in bronze. I don’t want to put too definite a date on it ... but we’re looking at months.”
Other groups have also submitted plans for monuments, among them are a Hindu leader in Nevada and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, according to the AP.
Greaves maintained the temple is sincere in its efforts to erect its statue as a symbol to “celebrate our progress as a pluralistic nation founded on secular law.”
“I would argue that the message behind our monument speaks more directly to the formation of U.S. constitutional values than the Ten Commandments possibly could,” he said.