Thursday, during the First Amendment rally at the Arkansas State Capitol protest, a more than 8-foot-tall statue of Baphomet was unveiled by the Satanic Temple chapter of Arkansas.
With the head of a goat, wings and hooves instead of feet, the one-ton bronze statue is seated with children looking up at the Satanic God.
After the installation of the Ten Commandments monument, the Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit to allow their statue to be placed on the same grounds in the name of religious freedom, and of course, the First Amendment.
Ivy Forrester, cofounder of Satanic Arkansas, helped to organize the rally said, “if you’re going to have one religious monument up then it should be open to others, and if you don’t agree with that then let’s just not have any at all.”
In 2017, the Satanic Temple sent a letter to legislators in Arkansas asking lawmakers to sponsor a bill allowing the Baphomet statue on Capitol grounds, yet there was no response.
Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the group and co-founder of the Satanic Temple said, “The event is intended to be an inclusive gathering where The Satanic Temple will be celebrating pluralism along with Christian and secular speakers. People of many faiths will come together at the Capitol to reject the Arkansas State Legislature’s efforts to privilege one religion over others.”
The Baphomet statue being placed in the Capitol is temporary however, and under a 2017 law requiring legislative sponsorship for consideration of any monument, it cannot be installed. The Satanist group later removed the statue on Tuesday.
The Satanic Temple tried to join an active case the ACLU had already brought against the state, but the ACLU asked the court to bar the intervention. The Satanic Temple claims they will sue the state, claiming religious discrimination.
Also in 2017, the Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas Capitol, sponsored by Republican Sen. John Rapert was installed all of 24 hours before a man drove his car into the monument, smashing it to pieces. The very same man destroyed a different Ten Commandments monument placed outside of Oklahoma’s state Capitol.
In an online statement by Rapert, he maintained his respect for the protesters’ First Amendment rights, but also called the group “extremists” and said “it will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.”
Rapert released a statement on his Facebook page in response to the protest:
Statement of Sen. Jason Rapert in Response to Scheduled Protests Against the Ten Commandments Monument August 16,…
Standing quietly nearby was a small group of counter-protesters, bibles in hand and from time to time breaking out in hymns.
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