Ark. Statehouse Targeted for Statue of Satan

     (CN) – A satanist group that wanted to erect a 7-foot statue of a goat-headed Satan at the Oklahoma Capitol in response to a Ten Commandments monument now wants to put it up in Arkansas.
     The New York-based Satanic Temple said Tuesday that it has applied to the Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission for the monument. It made a similar request to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission in January 2014 and publicized statue designs of Satan as Baphomet – a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a beard – while sitting on a pentagram throne with two smiling children standing beside him.
     The temple argued that Oklahoma lawmakers’ approval of a Ten Commandments monument privately funded by former state lawmaker and ordained Baptist minister Mike Ritze opened the door for its statue.
     That application was rendered moot when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that the Ten Commandments monument violated the state’s constitution and must be removed. The monument has yet to be taken down as Oklahoma officials have made several last-ditch efforts to save it.
     The temple says it filed its application in Arkansas after the state Senate approved a similar bill that would allow for a privately funded Ten Commandments monument to be placed at the Arkansas Capitol. It argues that if Arkansas opens public grounds to private donations, then it “cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination” and should reasonably allow for other “similar nature” donations.
     “We have reviewed SB 939, which authorized the placement of a Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas State Capitol, and the Baphomet statue we would like to contribute shall fulfill the same intended purposes,” temple co-founder Malcolm Jarry wrote to the commission.
     The temple says the monument will be “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,'” the temple said in a statement.
     The Baphomet monument symbolizes the influence on American law in a “profoundly clearer” fashion because “not one of the Ten Commandments appears in the US Constitution either in text or spirit,” the temple said.
     The temple said it “is prepared to pursue legal options” if the application is turned down 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 Ten Commandments,” temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said Tuesday. “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 Ten Commandments already established the parameters by which monuments are allowed on Capitol grounds. We clearly meet all their criteria with Baphomet.”

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