Members of the Satanic Temple used a statue of the occult deity Baphomet to protest a Ten Commandments monument in Little Rock, Ark.
The 8.5-foot-tall statue, which depicts the winged half-goat, half-man, with two children at its side, was briefly installed in front of the State Capitol building on Thursday as a symbol of free speech and plurality of beliefs, organizers told NPR. It was also meant to protest the explicitly Christian values promoted by a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds, in keeping with the Satanic Temple’s belief that religious displays should not be placed on public property.
“We have as little interest in forcing our beliefs and symbols upon you as we do in having the beliefs of others forced upon us,” Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said during a rally Thursday, NPR reports.
Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the 2015 bill that led to the Ten Commandments monument’s installation on Capitol property, told THV11 that he respects the right to free speech, but, “It will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.”
The Ten Commandments statue that Rapert sponsored, however, is not without other adversaries. The American Civil Liberties Union has also spoken out against the Ten Commandments monument, calling it unconstitutional and an infringement on religious freedom in a lawsuit filed in federal court. A man also drove his car into the piece last summer, NPR reports.
This isn’t the Baphomet statue’s first appearance, either. Members of the Satanic Temple originally commissioned the statue through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to protest a similar Ten Commandments memorial in Oklahoma.
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