LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - People gathered at a rally on the Arkansas State Capitol Thursday to witness the unveiling of The Satanic Temples latest installment of the controversial 8.5 ft. Baphomet statue. The statue was unveiled during a First Amendment rally at the Arkansas State Capitol to protest a Ten Commandments monument already on the Capitol grounds.
A mixed crowd of Christians, Satanists, Atheists, and everyone in between (even the KKK) watched in awe as the seated, winged, goat-headed monument was introduced to the public. The gathering of under 200 people was peaceful, though a heavy police presence was reported. The statue is not being officially installed (can't be installed under a 2017 law that requires legislative sponsorship for consideration of any monument.), rather it was commissioned and unveiled as a form of religious protest.
The Satanic Temple decided to take advantage of it's right to freely practice religion in the United States without being discriminated against. The Satanic Temple said the Ten Commandments monument violates constitutional freedom of religion rights and that installation of their statue will show religious tolerance.
The general sentiment of those opposed to the Ten Commandments monument was that its unfair and hypocritical to disallow Baphomet, while permitting the erection of a Christian monument. Satanic Arkansas co-founder Ivy Forrester, 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."
The Ten Commandments monument was sponsored by Republican Sen. Jason Rapert and installed discreetly in 2017. Barely a day went by before a man drove his car into the monument, destroying it completely. This was the same man who wrecked a Ten Commandments monument outside of Oklahoma's state Capitol, where the The Satanic Temple had originally tried to install its Baphomet statue. Oklahoma's Supreme Court ruled the Ten Commandments monument was unconstitutional and it was taken down. Thus The Satanic Temple then suspended its original Oklahoma campaign.
Senator Rapert said in an online statement, he respected the protesters' First Amendment rights, but also called them "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."
The Satanic Temple Temple is now seeking a court order to require the state to install the statue.