The Arkansas legislature’s desire to put a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds seems ever more likely to force lawmakers to confront the fullness of First Amendment freedoms.
A news release passed along to me from a Hindu leader in Nevada announces a desire to place a Lord Hanuman statue on the Capitol grounds.
This follows an earlier report that a Satanist group in Oklahoma said it might seek to put a goat head deity, Baphomet, on the Arkansas Capitol grounds if the Ten Commandments monument goes forward. It had similar plans in Oklahoma until an Oklahoma court said the religious monument couldn’t be placed on the Oklahoma statehouse grounds.
The Hindu leader, Rajan Zed, has drawn attention before by being allowed to lead an opening prayer in the U.S. Senate, much to the displeasure of some evangelical Christian groups.
Said Zed in a news release:
Hindus would also like to erect a privately funded statue of Lord Hanuman in Arkansas State Capitol grounds in Little Rock.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson reportedly signed into law a bill on April eight allowing a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas Capitol grounds. It could reportedly go up in the next few months.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that they would urge Hutchinson to allow Lord Hanuman statue also on the Capitol grounds as they would arrange it to be constructed, designed and paid for by private funds at no expense to the state.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Arkansas had now substantial number of Hindu residents and students who would love to see a statue of Lord Hanuman, who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was perfect grammarian. If permitted, we planned to make it big and weather-proof, Zed added.
Rajan Zed indicated that besides honoring the Arkansas Hindus, this statue would raise awareness of Arkansans about Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.
There are about three million Hindus living in USA and ultimate goal of Hinduism is moksh (liberation).
If the Capitol grounds must be dotted with important spiritual totems, surely there’s room for a Razorback toting a football. The reader who shared this news release notes the value of having a monument to perfect grammar on the Capitol lawn.
That sound you hear is Ten Commandments brain trust Bro. Rapert’s head exploding.
UPDATE: Gov. Asa Hutchinson kind of sidestepped the legal issue at a news conference this morning. He said you didn’t want to put up too many monuments on the grounds and that legislative action would be necessary for this one. He said he was not enthusiastic about Hindu or Satan statutes and felt the grounds should be “exclusive.” Yes, but ….. if Arkansas forges ahead with a Christian religion icon, it’s going to complicate matters. As the Winter Solstice display proves each Christmas.