By erecting a privately donated Ten Commandments monument on Capitol Grounds while refusing the placement of a Satanic monument, the state engages in illegal viewpoint discrimination, argues The Satanic Temple
After nearly a year since the destruction of the first installation of Arkansas’s controversial Ten Commandments -- toppled by a self-described “born again" Christian -- a replacement monument will be installed tomorrow on the Little Rock Capitol grounds. Litigation from groups who feel that the overtly religious monument is unconstitutional and/or discriminatory is immediately forthcoming. Having offered a monument of their own in honor of pluralism and religious freedom, The Satanic Temple now intends to sue the state of Arkansas, arguing that the rejection of their monument establishes unconstitutional religious preference by the state. “As soon as other invested parties file their lawsuits disputing the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument, we will file an ‘intervenor,’ essentially merging the cases,” The Satanic Temple’s spokesperson and co-founder, Lucien Greaves, explains.
The placement of the Ten Commandments monument on Little Rock Capitol grounds is the result of efforts by a state senator, Stanley “Jason” Rapert, who passed a bill in favor of the monument in 2015. Greaves feels confident that the Ten Commandments display is so flagrantly in violation of constitutional principles that the monument has virtually no chance of remaining on Capitol grounds, further asserting that Rapert’s conduct demonstrates an open abuse of his public office.
“Rapert is obviously a mindless tool for theocratic interests originating outside of Arkansas, as his bill utilized the exact language used in failed efforts to maintain a Ten Commandments monument at the capitol in Oklahoma -- legal language that the simple senator was unable to comprehend,” Greaves claims.
“The Arkansas bill directly stated that the placement of the Ten Commandments at the Capitol was not to be ‘construed to mean the state of Arkansas favors any particular religion or denomination over another,’ in recognition of the fact that such viewpoint discrimination would be illegal. But if the bill itself couldn't be construed as religious favoritism, the state’s rejection of other religious viewpoints certainly is. Further destroying the state’s already untenably difficult defense of the monument, Rapert has taken to local pulpits declaring the United States a ‘Christian Nation,’ openly discussing his agenda to bring his religion alone to the public square, to the exclusion of all others. Arkansas’s state constitution holds that ‘no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship, above any other.’ Rapert’s misconstrual of law goes beyond mere incompetence, his manipulation of truth beyond mere misinformation, his abuse of his office beyond mere misconduct. I would posit that his bald efforts to undermine, ignore, and utterly diminish the constitution he swore to uphold, abusing his office to illegally impose his religious viewpoint, is tantamount to treason. Rapert has so loudly declared his unconstitutional agenda so often that he's destroyed any credible legal defense of his efforts. In the future, the well-financed, well-organized theocrats who use easily-manipulated fools like Rapert to advance their hostile coup against democratic pluralism and religious liberty, would be well advised to find useful idiots who are somewhat less idiotic.”
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