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LITTLE ROCK — An Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that will rid the Capitol grounds of a religious monument has simultaneously scuttled the plans of a group advocating for a Satanic statue there, and they now hope to enshrine the deity outside the Arkansas Statehouse.

The Satanic Temple, which advocates for the separation of church and state, spent more than $100,000 to design and construct an 8½-foot-tall bronze Baphomet, which depicts Satan as a goat-headed figure with horns, hooves, wings and a beard. With Oklahoma justices outlawing a Ten Commandments display from around its Capitol, The Satanic Temple has turned its attention to Arkansas, where lawmakers this year approved a similar Ten Commandments display on public land.

"It was always our intention to take this wherever it was relevant, wherever it was necessary, and wherever that dialogue needed to take place," said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the group, which is less about Satan worship and more about highlighting what it perceives to be improper religious influence on governments.

The 1½-ton figurine, backed by an inverted pentagram and flanked by statues of two young children gazing up at the creature, includes seating on Satan's lap. The group wanted to make its point by placing it in Oklahoma City but the Oklahoma Supreme Court last week ruled — in a case challenging the legality of the Ten Commandments on Capitol grounds —that the state constitution bars governments from doing anything to benefit a religion, either directly or indirectly. Justices said the Ten Commandments had obvious Jewish and Christian overtones that made the monument unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court had approved a similar Texas Ten Commandments monument but barred similar displays in two Kentucky courthouses. Arkansas and Oklahoma legislators have said the Ten Commandments were being presented for their historic, not religious, significance.

Greaves said last week that the Baphomet is meant to symbolize plurality and religious liberty and is now needed alongside a Christian monument in a different state, most likely Arkansas.

Arkansas' Ten Commandments display could go up by the end of the year, joining 15 other monuments at the Capitol, said state Sen. Jason Rapert, who wrote the bill authorizing the monument. He dismissed the idea that his bill could inadvertently summon the demon.

"The Satanist Temple, or whoever these pagans are, are simply trying to draw attention to themselves and it's simply an outrageous gesture that flies in the face of the sensitivities of the people of the state of Arkansas," Rapert said. "In my opinion, a lot of what they stand for is detestable to the everyday American and definitely to the everyday Arkansan."

Greaves said the group, which will unveil the statue July 25 in Detroit, will decide later whether to apply for space outside the Arkansas Statehouse.

See Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full coverage.


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Archived Comments

  • awh
    July 6, 2015 at 7:02 p.m.

    There is a significant satanic ritual cult presence in OK that practices some very bad stuff. Abuse of the worst degree. Both animals and people are being abused. We do not want or need their influence in our state.

  • tenpoint
    July 6, 2015 at 7:56 p.m.

    I HOPE OUR people has enough sense to keep this kind of mess out of the state of ARKANSAS.

  • Popsmith
    July 6, 2015 at 8:18 p.m.

    It's hard to believe that anyone is stupid enough to worship satan. A bunch of losers.

  • 23cal
    July 6, 2015 at 8:21 p.m.

    Keep the Ten Commandment monument off of state grounds and this will go away, just like it did in Oklahoma. However, if you use the state grounds for one religion's monument, then you have to open it up for ALL, due to the establishment clause.

    July 6, 2015 at 8:27 p.m.

    Satanic, Democrat, whats the difference?

  • 3WorldState1
    July 6, 2015 at 9:22 p.m.

    And yet they both represent superstition.
    If you were raised and taught from childhood in the Satanic Temple to believe such nonsense...I rest my case.

  • FreeSpiritMan
    July 6, 2015 at 10:06 p.m.

    I foretold this in the ADG when Mr. Rapert started our monument valley on the capitol grounds, now it comes to pass.
    awh , just goggle " Independent Fundamental Baptist" and "child abuse" and see what comes back and yes we already have that in Arkansas. Check this out by adding "Quiverfull" to the search and then ann "Duggars"

    July 6, 2015 at 10:57 p.m.

    Oh, KCSAP...are you ever NOT an embarrassment to the Caduceus?

  • DickGozinya
    July 7, 2015 at 5:03 a.m.

    Flying Spaghetti Monster deserves equal representation. Pastafarians are people too. All hail his noodly appendage. RAmen.

  • dunk7474
    July 7, 2015 at 10:19 a.m.

    Rapert was dumb enough to open the door and than he cries like a little baby about who walks through. In many years, he is the dumbest pol. to exist.