It was nearly a year ago when Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert (a Republican, of course) filed a bill to install a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol, similar to what the state of Oklahoma once had:
That bill eventually passed, despite the potential legal challenges. After all, the government is forbidden from promoting Christianity, which is all this monument is doing. The Supreme Court once said that a similar monument was legal because it had been up for decades and was surrounded by other historical displays, but that won’t be the case in Arkansas.
So far this has just been all talk. The monument may be legal in the state, but it doesn’t exist yet. And that’s why Rapert is now trying desperately to crowdsource funding for the Ten Commandments monument (on behalf of a private company).
The American History & Heritage Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and informing the public about American history and heritage. Our organization is proud to be the private sponsor of the The Ten Commandments Monument that will be installed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.
We have a project quote for the completion of the monument, freight, installation and other expenses totalling $12,635 and project that we need to raise another $5,000 to handle any incidental expenses related to this project for a total need of $17,635.
The American History & Heritage Foundation, Inc. is a group that seems to have been created for the sole purpose of putting up this monument. It only became a registered non-profit at the end of last year and the only public activity so far has been promoting this fundraiser.
Rapert has raised $3,000 of his requested $16,600. (He says he has additional funding worth $3,000 outside of GoFundMe.)
Maybe the strangest part of that request is this bit:
… the Arkansas monument will be an exact replica of [a Texas Ten Commandments] monument which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Perry.
As I said earlier, that monument was upheld only because it had been there without incident for more than 40 years and was surrounded by secular displays.
Rapert doesn’t understand any of that. He hasn’t called for secular displays to be put up, which is just setting himself up for a legal challenge. (Ignorance isn’t exactly a new concept for him — a few months ago, he tweeted a threat to a journalist who approached him in a parking lot to ask a question.)
The one positive side to all of this is that if Rapert gets the funding he needs and the monument goes up, you can expect The Satanic Temple to fight to put up a statue of Baphomet on the capitol grounds. It was supposed to go up in Oklahoma, but that state now has no religious monuments at all. Let’s hope Arkansas eventually goes that route.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)