Tomorrow on KARK-TV in Arkansas, the local news will air a debate between State Sen. Jason Rapert (who wrote legislation allowing a Ten Commandments monument to go up on Capitol grounds) and Lucien Greaves (The Satanic Temple spokesperson who has submitted an application to install a Baphomet statue next to the Christian monument).
I was given advance copy of the audio, and while most of it was a debate about the legality of the Christian monument (since a similar one was deemed unconstitutional in Oklahoma), there’s one part that really stands out. Near the end of the segment, the host allowed each man to ask the other a question.
And Greaves asked a great one.
I’m paraphrasing, but it boiled down to this: If the Arkansas Ten Commandments monument is also said by the courts to be unconstitutional — as church/state separation advocates have repeatedly said it will be — will Rapert personally pay the legal costs associated with the case instead of wasting taxpayer dollars to do it?
In other words, will he put his money where his mouth is, since he doesn’t seem to care what legal experts have said about his legislation?
Rapert dodged the question completely.
RAPERT: Well, the bottom line is that, again…
GREAVES: It’s a yes or no.
RAPERT: … where a person is attacking the integrity of 99 legislators in the state of Arkansas…
GREAVES: So no you won’t?
RAPERT: … If somebody sues on a frivolous nature, that’s their decision. But there is no waste standing up for a law for the state of Arkansas. We have multiple monuments on the state Capitol grounds. The application that they have submitted…
GREAVES: So it’s not your money, so you’ll waste it at will.
RAPERT: … the [Satanic] monument is only meant to interrupt. Their application is to interrupt what the state of Arkansas…
GREAVES: Now you’re speaking to our intentions.
RAPERT: … Yesterday… the State Capitol grounds of Colorado has the exact monument on that State Capitol grounds, as well as Missouri…
No answer about whether he would pay the legal fees for his unconstitutional monument. He’s happy to push Christianity through the government in order to win over conservatives, while putting taxpayers on the hook for the bill when the courts inevitably rule that his bill violates the law.
It’s the worst sort of politics, and if it takes a Satanist to make that point on local television, more power to him.
Right after that exchange, by the way, Rapert asks Greaves why he “hides” behind a pseudonym. Greaves’ response is perfect:
GREAVES: Because [of] people like you, Senator Rapert! “Good Christians.” I get death threats all the time, that’s why. I’m sure you can understand that. You’re the man who threatens to pull out a gun when people ask him questions in a parking lot.
That last bit isn’t hyperbole.
Last September, Rapert claimed he would do exactly that in a now-deleted tweet after a local resident asked him a question outside a store:
This guy thinks he’s making Jesus proud? Yikes.
Rapert posted a Facebook Live video yesterday with his own thoughts on the interview. He says a few words at the beginning about that question he was asked by Greaves and dismisses it as “not even a serious question at all.”
For now, The Satanic Temple’s application to install a Baphomet statue hasn’t been approved by Arkansas officials. If it’s rejected, however, the lawsuit they discussed may be filed. Get ready to lose some cash, Arkansas citizens.