A news release says the Satanic Temple has formally petitioned the Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission for permission to place a “Baphomet” monument next to the planned Ten Commandments monument decreed by the legislature. (They dishonestly said it was about history, rather than religion.)
The Satanic Temple says its statute of a goat-headed idol is intended as a memorial to “various historical witch hunts and homage to the persecuted free-thinkers and “heretics” who helped inform American secular jurisprudence.”
Atheists, Hindus and vegans have also expressed a desire for monuments on the Capitol grounds if they are open to a religious-themed monument. Republican officials, from the governor and secretary of state on down, have not been warm to the idea.
The Satanic Temple proposed the statute for Oklahoma, but said it was no longer necessary after the Oklahoma Supreme Court said the Ten Commandments monument there was unconstitutional.
The news release follows:
The Satanic Temple Formally Petitions Arkansas for Placement of Monument on State Capitol Grounds
The Satanic Temple has officially filed a letter with Arkansas requesting to place their controversial “Baphomet” monument alongside the 10 Commandments on Capitol grounds
NEW YORK, NY – September 8, 2015 – In a letter sent via certified mail to Arkansas’ Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission, The Satanic Temple (TST) formally requested permission to place their controversial “Baphomet” monument alongside a 10 Commandments monument at the Capitol in Little Rock. The request comes in reply to the approval of AR Senate Bill 939 which has allowed for a privately donated 10 Commandments monument to be placed at the Capitol. The bill hopes to preemptively head-off an Establishment Clause dispute by asserting the secular nature of the 10 Commandments, stating that the monument represents “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and the State of Arkansas.”
TST argues that if the State has opened the public grounds to private donations, they cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination and must reasonably allow for other donations of a similar nature. In their letter to the Arts and Grounds Commission, TST co-founder Malcolm Jarry states, “We have reviewed SB939, which authorized the placement of a 10 Commandments monument at the Arkansas State Capitol, and the Baphomet statue we would like to contribute shall fulfill the same intended purposes.” The letter goes on to explain that TST’s monument is a memorial to the various historical witch hunts, and homage to the persecuted free-thinkers and “heretics” who helped inform American secular jurisprudence. To that end, an inscription on the monument shall read, “Be it known to all that this statue commemorates the history of law in the United States of America. From the deplorable Satanic Witch Hunts, the cherished doctrines of due process, presumption of innocence and the protection of minorities from the tyranny of mob rule became part of the established foundation of American jurisprudence.”
TST argues that the influence upon American law symbolized by their monument “is profoundly clearer [than that of the Decalogue] because not one of the 10 Commandments appears in the US Constitution either in text or spirit.”
TST is prepared to pursue legal options if their application is rejected or ignored. “The Arkansas legislature unwittingly opened the door for our monument to be erected at Little Rock, while they clearly believed they could preference the 10 Commandments,” states TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves. “In fact, the law doesn’t work that way. The State either allows for an open forum available to private donors, or it does not. The Legislature doesn’t need to approve our monument, as the approval of the 10 Commandments already established the parameters by which monuments are allowed on Capitol Grounds. We clearly meet all their criteria with Baphomet.”
About The Satanic Temple
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Civic-minded, The Satanic Temple has been involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church. For more information about The Satanic Temple, please visit http://www.thesatanictemple.com/.