Satanists have taken their latest free speech battle to the Arkansas State Capitol.
The Associated Press reports that the Satanic Temple unveiled a statue of Baphomet, a demonic, goat-headed creature, and demanded that either their statue be placed in the capitol building or a recently installed Ten Commandments statue be removed. "If you're going to have one religious monument up then it should be open to others, and if you don't agree with that then let's just not have any at all," Satanic Arkansas cofounder Ivy Forrester argued at a Thursday rally.
Arkansas requires legislative sponsorship for all monuments in the state capitol. The Ten Commandments was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert in 2017 and quietly installed last year. In response, the Satanic Temple sent a letter to lawmakers later that year asking for their statue to also be installed. The Ten Commandments was later destroyed when a man rammed his car into the display, but was reinstalled about four months ago.
Worth noting: In 2017, the Satanic Temple sent Arkansas legislators a letter, asking them to sponsor a bill, that would allow for a statue of Baphomet to be placed on capitol grounds. Not one legislator responded Rep. Kim Hammer tells @KATVNews #arnews #arpx #arleg pic.twitter.com/x6tKm0euhl
— Marine Glisovic KATV (@KATVMarine) August 16, 2018
According to a petition circulated by the rally sponsors, Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, said the demands for the statue were a matter of free speech. "This is a rally for all people who hold sacred the founding Constitutional principles of Religious Freedom and Free Expression that have fallen under assault by irresponsible politicians like Senator Rapert," Greaves said.
"It will be a very cold day in hell before we are ever forced to put up a monument like the profane one they brought," Rapert said after criticizing the Satanists as unserious. A sign underneath the Baphomet statue read, "Future home of the Baphomet monument…Presented in the spirit of religious pluralism by: The Satanic Temple with a special thanks to Senator Jason Rapert."