Good news! There will be a public hearing regarding a Baphomet statue that The Satanic Temple wants to put up outside the Arkansas Capitol. It was a major hurdle for Satanists to overcome, but the state’s Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission gave a green light to the proposal this afternoon.
This monument is only being proposed because Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert wrote legislation (eventually signed into law) to install a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. The Satanic Temple responded with a glorious proposal of their own.
Neither of these monuments will be going up without the approval of legislators, but the fact that Satanists are even in the conversation led to a Twitter meltdown by Rapert back in October. Rapert also said at the time that “there will never be a statue installed by the Satanic Temple on our Capitol grounds.”
Today, however, the Commission said the Satanists’ proposal met their requirements, moving it to the stage of a public hearing in the future:
The purpose of Wednesday’s meeting was to consider whether the application for the statue was sufficient, not whether it will or will not actually be placed on Capitol grounds, said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Kelly Boyd.
Members voted to approve the plans, and now the proposal must go through a public hearing, at which Arkansans can voice their opinions on the statue, Boyd said. That hearing will be scheduled at a later date.
To be sure, if the Ten Commandments monument is allowed to go up, but the Baphomet statue is not, it would almost certainly be grounds for a lawsuit, with all the precedent on the side of the Satanists. To make that case, though, The Satanic Temple first needs to find a legislator willing to sponsor a bill to put their monument outside the Capitol. If it’s rejected at that point, expect to see a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that if the Ten Commandments monument is allowed to go up, but the Baphomet monument is not, taxpayers in the state could be on the hook for a lot of money.