Satanic Temple’s Quest to Erect Homage to Satan at Arkansas Capitol to Have Public Hearing

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission subcommittee has allowed the Satanic Temple’s request to erect a Baphomet statue at the state capitol to move forward with a public hearing.

A meeting was held on Wednesday, which included a presentation from Satanic Temple spokesman Doug Mesner, who goes by the name Lucien Greaves.

“It’s not the place of the government to dictate to people what is and what is not appropriate religious expression,” he contended.

Over two dozen protesters stood outside, many appearing to be Roman Catholic as they held signs and banners that read “The Virgin Mary triumphs over proud Lucifer,” “Mary, the queen of angels, crush Lucifer’s head,” and “St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.”

“We’re a Christian nation; we’re God-fearing people. We like law, we like order, we like things in their proper place … so let’s put the devil in his proper place. Let’s put him back in hell where he belongs,” Cesar Franco of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property declared.

As previously reported, the Satanic Temple, a group that seeks to combat what they believe is partiality to Christianity in government, desires to place a statue of Baphomet at the capitol in light of a move by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, to display a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds.

Rapert’s bill regarding the matter was approved in the House and Senate in 2015, and was subsequently signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The Decalogue will be privately funded.

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The Satanic Temple wishes to utilize a monument that it originally created to place at the Oklahoma capitol near another Ten Commandments monument, but ended its pursuit after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Decalogue ran afoul of language in the state Constitution.

The statue shows the goat-headed Baphomet making the sign for the occult as he sits upon a throne with a pentagram overhead. Children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides.

“To that end, an inscription on the monument shall read, ‘Be it known to all that this statue commemorates the history of law in the United States of America. From the deplorable Satanic Witch Hunts, the cherished doctrines of due process, presumption of innocence and the protection of minorities from the tyranny of mob rule became part of the established foundation of American jurisprudence,’” the group explained in a press release about the matter.

During the 2015 unveiling ceremony of the homage to Satan in Detroit, Michigan, attendees shouted “Hail Satan” as two shirtless men pulled off the cloth that covered the Baphomet and then embraced and kissed each other in front of the statue.

According to its website, the Satanic Temple does not believe in Satan at all, but only views the devil as a metaphor.

“[W]e do not promote a belief in a personal Satan,” its FAQ section explains. “To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”

The date of the public hearing has not yet been set.

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