The Oklahoma Supreme Court — emphasis, Oklahoma, even — has ordered removal of a 10 Commandments monument, from the Capitol in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma court said the monument constituted unconstutional use of public property for a religious purpose.
It was authorized in 2012 by the legislature after destruction of an earlier monument. The monument was a gift from a legislator, not paid with public funds. It spurred controversy:
Following the Ten Commandments monument’s placement at the Oklahoma capitol, the Satanic Temple announced plans to build a monument for the capitol as well. The group had plans to unveil the statue of a Baphomet, a goat-headed deity, in Detroit in July before sending it to Oklahoma. The group’s “presence as civic-minded socially responsible Satanists serves to satirize the ludicrous superstitious fears that the word Satan tends to evoke,” the Satanic Temple spokesman Doug Mesner told Vice Media.
Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Right Hand of God) passed legislation to install a 10 Commandments monument on the Arkansas Capitol Grounds. Legislators pushing for the Arkansas monument often cited the Oklahoma monument as proof Arkansas could get away with building a monument despite its obvious religious establishment overtones. It’s unlikely that inconvenient facts like the Oklahoma court decision and a likely lawsuit against an Arkansas monument, should it get underway, will deter Rapert and his disciples from forging ahead. A lower court in Oklahoma had upheld the monument.
Would the Arkansas Supreme Court cross Rapert? It wouldn’t rule on the same-sex marriage case, a case that had already prompted Rapert to stir up sentiment for removal or impeachment of judges who violated his idea of proper government/religion etiquette.
UPDATE: The Satanists now say they’ll drop their efforts in Oklahoma because of the court ruling. But:
However, even though the Satanic Temple will abandon its plans for the Oklahoma capitol, the group plans on attempting to place its Baphomet statue in another state. The group has not made any official decisions, but Greaves said that they may try to bring the sculpture to the Arkansas capitol, where lawmakers in April also permitted the placement of a Ten Commandment monument.
Greaves told TPM that in any state where the government allows a Ten Commandments monument, the Satanic Temple will “be there to counterbalance that.”
The group has completed its Baphomet statue and will unveil it in Detroit on July 25.