Jason Rapert mad at "group of atheists" for Ten Commandments monument criticism | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jason Rapert mad at "group of atheists" for Ten Commandments monument criticism

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Atheists threaten Arkansas State Senator

American Humanist Association - Atheists - threaten Sen. Jason Rapert to STOP raising money for Ten Commandments Monument which will be placed on the Arkansas State Capitol Grounds by the American History & Heritage Foundation, Inc.You have to hear this to believe it!

Posted by Jason Rapert on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Like a moth to a flame, let me provide you with the latest update from Sen. Jason Rapert

A humanist group yesterday released a public letter to Rapert asking that he stop raising funds for a monument to the biblical Ten Commandments, to be placed on the Capitol grounds (Rapert passed a law decreeing the erection of such a monument provided that it was privately funded). 

Last night, Rapert, donning a plaid polo button-up, did a livestream video on Facebook to respond. "I'm going to give you a very brief update this evening," he said, before speaking for 18 minutes. 

The group, the American Humanist Association, said that Rapert's monument would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. A lawsuit is inevitable, which the group's letter pointed out. 

The Humanist Association's contention is that Rapert's law is an attempt to promote his own religious beliefs. Rapert's first line of response is to say that the group is made up of atheists. This is ironic, since it seems to signal that Rapert is guilty of precisely what the Humanist Association accuses him of. Indeed, the whole question at hand is the business in the Constitution of the United States of America re: "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." 

Rapert says he can say what he wants, which no one disputes. He said that the Humanist Association was "a group of atheists from Washington D.C. that reaches in to the state of Arkansas." He said he felt personally threatened and "the American Humanist Association might as well be called the American Communist Association." He said of the group's letter: "That, my friends, is tyranny. That, my friends, is intimidation. That, my friends, is as much Communist as anything I've ever heard of." 

Rapert saw the opportunity to hustle for funds and asked that donors give money to "teach a lesson" to the meddling atheists. Thus far he has raised $7,230, a little more than $9,000 short of his goal, with the deadline a week away. In the video he says that even a $1 donation would help. 

At the end of the video, Rapert dramatically rips up the letter and lightly tosses the pieces onto his office floor. 

Let me endorse, on purely aesthetic grounds, Rapert's choice to always have television news playing in the background whenever he releases these videos — a dystopian meta-commentary on infotainment and on the very feedback loop of content delivery that leads me, sadly, to write this post. If Rapert's instincts for constitutional interpretation are shallow, his knack for filmic language is rich, and daring. 

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