Arkansas is currently at the center of a growing controversy involving which religious monuments will be allowed on the grounds of the State Capitol. While a Ten Commandments display has already been approved by the legislators and governor, the more important question is whether anything else will be allowed to join it. If the answer is no, it would likely lead to a lawsuit, and the law is not on the state’s side.
The best part about the alternative monuments that have been proposed is that they’re designed to make those officials squirm.
We already know The Satanic Temple wants to install a statue of Baphomet.
Last month, the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission gave a green light to the proposal, allowing it to move forward to a public hearing.
Now, an atheist group hopes to have their display get the same kind of approval.
The Saline Atheist & Skeptic Society submitted paperwork last year to erect a literal “Wall of Separation” that would feature quotations from our Founding Fathers about the importance of keeping religion and government apart.
The proposed monument by SASS will be a site-built decorative brick wall with multiple plaques affixed to it. The plaques will contain quotes from America’s Founding Fathers and other knowledgeable persons regarding the separation of church and state. The monument will be known as the “Wall of Separation.”
Funds for the materials and the erection of this wall will be from private sources. Individuals supporting the monument financially will have the option of having their names engraved on bricks in the face of the wall.
They’ll be making a formal presentation of the monument next Thursday:
“At the first meeting of the subcommittee, there were some questions about the design, materials, and dimensions of their proposal,” said Chris Powell, assistant communications director with Martin’s office. “Next week will be a follow up presentation to address some of those issues, so their design may have since changed.”
“The meeting is open to the public, but no public comment will be taken during this meeting,” Martin’s office said.
It bears repeating that there’s absolutely no reason to reject this proposal, or the Baphomet monument, while saying yes to the Ten Commandments display. Legislators need to decide whether Arkansas taxpayers should pay the penalty for their vanity project. Because that’s all this is: An opportunity to ignore the Establishment Clause in order to promote Christianity through government.
The atheists and Satanists are giving them a way out of the mess they created. All the legislators need to do is say yes.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier)