No one showed up to yesterday’s public comment meeting over a proposal to add concrete protections around the base of the Ten Commandments monument set to be reinstalled on the Capitol grounds. This brings the reinstallation, and the inevitable lawsuits to follow, one step closer.
The monument was decreed by a 2015 law sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert, which allowed private funds to pay for its creation and installation at the Capitol. It was erected in June, but was toppled less than 24 hours when a man drove his car into the monument and demolished it (he was committed to the state hospital for mental health treatment last month after being found unfit to stand trial).
Three-foot tall concrete posts will now be erected to surround the base of the monument to prevent future vehicular shenanigans. The replacement monument has already been built. The Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission will meet again on Tuesday to further discuss security measures.
ACLU Arkansas and others have argued that the monument is clearly unconstitutional. The concrete security will not protect the monument from immediate legal challenges once erected.
The silent public-comment meeting yesterday was rare; Commission meetings on this topic have often been heated. Rapert famously inspired a group of Satanists, who along with various other groups were interested in erecting their own monument, but the legislature has been resistant to monuments from other religious traditions.
Rapert crowed that the people have consented (for the record, yesterday’s meeting was about the concrete barriers, not the monument itself).
— Sen. Jason Rapert (@jasonrapert) December 8, 2017