For the Satanists who designed the statue and their supporters, the joke is obvious, though no less hilarious. Baphomet is a figure likely made up by the Inquisition for the purpose of accusing its victims of worshipping him. Satanists today use his face as a way to mock modern fundamentalist Christians for their tendency to concoct imaginary enemies to stoke their own paranoid fantasies about being persecuted.
Hilarious as the statue is, it was designed to make a serious point. Christian fundamentalists in Oklahoma managed to get a Ten Commandments monument placed on capitol grounds in 2012. Though the supporters of the monument deny it, it’s an obvious attempt by fundamentalists to get the state government to endorse Christianity above all other religious beliefs, in a direct violation of the Constitution’s ban on state establishment of religion. The ACLU of Oklahoma has sued, arguing, “When the government literally puts one faith on a pedestal, it sends a strong message to Oklahomans of other faiths that they are less than equal.”
No doubt the Satanists expect Oklahoma to reject their petition, which is the point, of course. By rejecting the petition, the legislature will make it clear they really are elevating one religion over another, strengthening the ACLU’s case against the state.
Naturally, conservative politicians are confident the statue will not end up on capitol grounds. Rep. Paul Wesselhoft told CNN that the statue wouldn’t be disqualifed because of Satan, but because the statue has “no historical significance for the state of Oklahoma.” It is worth noting that neither do the Ten Commandments, which are believed by Christians to have been written somewhere in the Middle East. Rep. Bob Cleveland was more overt, admitting that the difference between the statues is one endorses his favored religion while the other does not.