Jason Rapert is the Christian Arkansas State Senator who wrote legislation (eventually signed into law) to install a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. It led to a response from The Satanic Temple asking to install a Baphomet statue right next to the Christian monument.
While neither of these monuments is guaranteed to go up, yesterday, both groups met with members of the Arkansas State Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to discuss their plans — boring stuff like materials and construction — but you could tell Rapert’s side wasn’t happy to have any company:
Lucien Greaves, co founder and spokesman for the Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple, spoke on behalf of the proposed monument featuring a large, winged representation of pagan deity Baphomet. Greaves told the commissioners that the monument is meant to “compliment and contrast” the proposed 10 Commandments monument. He said that allowing the installation of the Baphomet statue was the best chance for the 10 Commandments monument to be constructed and stay on the grounds, given that the courts will likely order the 10 Commandments monument removed if other religions aren’t equally represented. He singled out Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), who was in attendance, saying that the cost of removing the 10 Commandments monument will fall to Arkansas taxpayers, not Rapert.
At one point during the meeting, architect [Tony] Leraris spoke up to say that while it might get him thrown off the subcommittee, he was raised Catholic and believes the idea of a Satanic-themed monument “speaks to evilness”…
First of all… no one cares.
Also, it doesn’t matter. Rapert’s desire to put a Christian symbol on government property opens the door to monuments from every other religious and non-religious group, and the Satanists have every intention of making their views known at the Arkansas Capitol.
Rapert, by the way, had something of a Twitter meltdown after that meeting, trying to “out” The Satanic Temple’s spokesperson, blasting members for not standing during the Pledge, and whining about a graveyard protest against the founder of Westboro Baptist Church.
The next meeting to discuss details about the Satanic monument will be in January. Rapert said in a tweeted statement that “there will never be a statue installed by the Satanic Temple on our Capitol grounds.”