House passes measure to block Satanic monument | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

House passes measure to block Satanic monument

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM

click to enlarge RAPERT AND HAMMER: Seek to stop Satanic Temple from getting public comment for monument. - VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • RAPERT AND HAMMER: Seek to stop Satanic Temple from getting public comment for monument.
The House yesterday passed Rep. Kim Hammer's House Bill 1273, which would halt consideration of new monuments on the Capitol grounds unless they're first approved by the legislature.

The bill appears to be aimed at the Satanic Temple, a religious group that is unpopular among lawmakers at the Capitol. Hammer's bill, passed unanimously on a 91-0 vote, would prevent the Capitol Arts  and Grounds Commission from beginning the process for new Capitol monuments without approval from lawmakers; currently, the commission may consider monuments and make recommendations but final approval must come from the legislature. Hammer's bill is on to the Senate.

The backstory here: A few weeks ago, a subcommittee of the Capitol Arts and Grounds commission deemed a monument site plan submitted by the Satanic Temple sufficient to move forward to a public comment phase (David Koon was on the scene — where protesters arrived with signs like "Sacrilege is not free speech — filed this report). Some members of the General Assembly have been squeamish about installing a eight-and-half-foot-tall bronze representation of the goat-headed pagan god Baphomet on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. Hammer's bill suggests that they were spooked even by the group going through the normal public process of commission meetings and public comment periods.

The Satanists were inspired by Sen. Jason Rapert and other Republicans who pushed a bill that would allow a privately funded Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds (Hammer was a co-sponsor of Rapert's bill). The legislature has already approved that monument, which ACLU-Arkansas and others have called a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution. Lawmakers have proved less enthusiastic about ideas for monuments from traditions other than their own.

The First Amendment rabble rousers at the Satanic Temple have argued that if the Ten Commandments monument receives preferred treatment over Baphomet, which they describe as a symbol of religious pluralism, then the government is violating the law and imposing one religious belief over another. (The Temple has stated that they would withdraw their request if the government backed off of promoting its preferred religious tradition on public grounds.)

Hammer presented his bill as a procedural move. Since the legislature had to approve monuments eventually, he argued, why not do that on the front end before groups went through the time and expense of going through the commission process? However, given that the Temple was well aware of the need (and likely impossibility) for legislative approval, it's probably safe to assume that Hammer and co. were simply displeased with the spectacle of public hearings and processes for a group they find unseemly.

The Satanic Temple's leadership told the press they plan to communicate with legal counsel to see what avenues they have for continuing the process for Baphomet. They also said that the actions of the legislature keep proving their point.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (21)

Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016

Most Viewed

  • New development at old Sears site firms up

    In the next year and a half to two years, the 16 acres at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Interstate 630, the old Sears site, will transform into a development featuring retail, restaurants and a hotel — or two — called The District at Midtown.
  • UA Little Rock responds to "racially insensitive incident" involving video of fraternity and sorority

    A video uploaded to Facebook shows members of the  Chi Omega sorority and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity singing along to the song "Freaky Friday." The white students repeatedly shout along to the n-word.
  • Ten Commandments monument returns to state Capitol next week, Rapert says

    A new Ten Commandments monument will be erected on state Capitol grounds next week, Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) reports on his Facebook page. Rapert sponsored the enabling legislation and created the American History & Heritage Foundation to pay for it.
  • Car dealership owner, wife found shot to death in Russellville home

    Keith Cogswell, 55, and his wife, Leanna Cogswell, 39, were found shot to death at their Shiloh Road home today by their maid, KTHV-TV, Ch. 11, reports. The Pope County Sheriff's Office, the Russellville Police Department and the Arkansas State Police are investigating.
  • More grants to Ecclesia surface

    Then-state senator and Senate president pro tempore Michael Lamoureux insisted that a state organization that distributed GIF funds approve a grant to Ecclesia College despite problems with the college's application, a witness in the public corruption trial of former Sen. Jon Woods testified today.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Belated Thursday open line

    • Ok, here's the basic story as I understand it: 8-year-old girl walks to the schoolbus…

    • on April 19, 2018
  • Re: Belated Thursday open line

    • Link to the Comey memos that the DOJ provided to Congress-- http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2018/images/04/19/2……

    • on April 19, 2018
  • Re: Belated Thursday open line

    • Rudy gulliani is still as repulsive as ever, traitor trump has 2 new attornies that…

    • on April 19, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation