Another group has emerged with an idea for a Capitol monument to join the forum that would be created if Secretary of State Mark Martin forges ahead with placement of the legislatively approved Ten Commandments monument.
The Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission, which reviews proposals for monuments on the grounds, is to meet Sept. 13 on the Commandments monument and a statute of Baphomet proposed by the Satanic Temple. Add this — a Wall of Separation. It would be an eight-foot-high brick wall between the Commandments and Baphomet and the Capitol:
The Saline Atheist & Skeptic Society (SASS), a Saline County based group of freethinkers, has submitted an application to the Secretary of State’s office for the Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to be reviewed ahead of their September 13th meeting. This meeting should now include submissions for a Ten Commandments monument, a Satanic Temple Baphomet statue, and now the secular community’s Wall of Separation monument.
SASS founder LeeWood Thomas decided that a physical Wall of Separation was needed as two rival theologies mounted their stance on our State’s Capitol lawns. “The founding fathers knew that separating religion and government was a good idea, which is why they placed the concept in our 1st Amendment,” shared Thomas. “In looking for a way to participate on the lawn, a physical, decorative brick wall placed between the religious monuments and our Capitol building seemed fitting.”
The Wall of Separation will be a decorative brick wall 8 feet in height, 15 feet in length, and 2 feet thick. On both sides of the wall there will be plaques containing quotes from various founding fathers supporting the idea of separating church and state to benefit all citizens. Most notably, Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists that contains the now‐famous phrase “wall of separation” will appear center stage on the side that faces the religious structures.
The wall will be financed through a buy‐a‐brick campaign that encourages citizens, both religious and non‐religious, that value the wall of separation concept to join in. Available bricks include non‐engraved and engraved bricks to be used for the wall itself and for the base around the wall.
Thomas is aware that the statewide Arkansas Society of Freethinkers would rather the Capitol grounds remain secular, with no religious monuments. Instead, he is looking to the smaller, local freethought groups scattered in all four corners of the state to help promote the Wall of Separation idea.
Thomas is one of the founders of the Freethinkers, whose efforts led to the annual winter solstice display at the Capitol as a response to the annual placement of a Nativity scene.