You’re all familiar with the stand-alone Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas State Capitol. It was put there by State Sen. Jason Rapert years ago and continues to be the subject of a lawsuit.
Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times came across a rather interesting case involving the monument and a potential act of “vandalism” that never received any outside attention when it occurred a couple of weeks ago.
It appears that four women were caught pouring olive oil over the monument on July 15, “anointing” it in the name of the Lord. It may have been intended as a symbolic act, but that oil can do damage to a structure.
The Capitol police saw them doing it and wrote it up for possible prosecution. Ultimately, nothing came of it:
The incident was referred for potential prosecution to Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley. He declined, saying he couldn’t prove criminal intent.
Capitol Police Chief Darrell Hedden said, “I didn’t personally feel they had the intent to damage the statue.” But he referred it for review. Hedden said Capitol maintenance workers cleansed the memorial that night, but it was thought it wasn’t sufficient and a monument company was hired to do a more thorough cleansing. I’ve requested the cost of that cleanup.
For his part, Rapert hasn’t said anything about it, good or bad. But he’s also been in the hospital recovering from COVID. It’s not clear if he even knows about the incident. (I’ve checked in with him to see if he has any comment.)
I don’t mind the lack of prosecution here for the same reason Hedden cited: These were almost certainly well-meaning people who didn’t want to damage the structure. There’s nothing to gain from punishing them.
Keep in mind that when Washington State Rep. Matt Shea, a Christian domestic terrorist, poured olive oil on the steps of the State Capitol in May in order to “cleanse” the place after a Satanic ritual demonstration, he was later given a repair and clean-up bill for $4,761.34.
Also recall that, in 2018, an activist covered up the monument with a giant black shroud that read “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” That did absolutely no damage to the structure since you could just remove the tarp. And yet Rapert lashed out, calling it “lawless.” He even threatened the woman who took the photo, saying Capitol Police were “investigating the matter to determine who was responsible for this unauthorized activity on State Capitol property.”
If a Satanist did what these women did with oil, and caused any serious damage to the monument, I suspect conservative Christians would be eager to throw the book at them. These women may end up avoiding any kind of penalty simply because they were Christians who meant well… instead of non-Christians doing the exact same thing.
***Update***: After I wrote this entire article Tuesday night, I got a response on Facebook from Rapert regarding the anointing. He was furious… at me. Instead of answering my question, he decided to threaten me with… something?
(We’ve communicated in the past, which is why my initial request was fairly informal.)
I am not ok with your baloney article trying to say I said Covid19 was a hoax – you little liar. I never said that. I have worn masks, urged masks and urged common sense for months. You and your little demon buddies were responsible for tons of messages wishing me to die while fighting in the hospital you little jerk. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. If I were a democrat it would be national news for the outrage at you and your ilk wishing me to die while I am battling a deadly disease. Don’t you ever contact me again for anything you little scumbag.
You crossed a line that you will regret. I am outing all of you.
(And how was your night, everyone?)
I’m not even sure how to respond to that. He once got mad at me for not reaching out to him for a story when I didn’t even need his reaction, so I now try to at least give him an opportunity to respond before posting anything about him.
For what it’s worth, here’s the article he’s referring to. I wrote very clearly that Rapert has worn masks himself (good!), opposed the statewide mask mandate (bad!), and, yes, promoted the idea that the political response to the COVID crisis has been a “hoax” — suggesting it’s completely and unnecessarily over-the-top, which is just not the case. If anything, we’re not doing nearly enough. You can see that for yourself.
I certainly didn’t (and don’t) wish for him to suffer from the virus. As I wrote, I’d like to see him defeated at the ballot box whenever he runs for office again, perhaps as Lt. Governor in 2022.
I’m not sure why my mild article would be national news.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)