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story.lead_photo.caption Representatives from PureFlix Entertainment and GND Media Group on Thursday, July 6, 2017, present state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, with a $25,000 check to replace a Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas. - Photo by Emma Pettit

Executive producers of the Christian God's Not Dead movie series donated $25,000 Thursday to replace a Ten Commandments monument after the original was smashed less than a day after its installation on state Capitol grounds.

The 6-foot-tall stone inscribed with the 10 biblical laws was erected near the Arkansas Supreme Court building on June 27. Early the next day, according to police reports, Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren drove a Dodge Dart into the monument, which toppled, shattering the granite. He was arrested at the scene and faces misdemeanor charges of defacing an object of public respect and criminal trespass, and first-degree criminal mischief, a felony. Tate is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond.

The original God's Not Dead follows a college student who argues about the existence of God with an unbelieving professor. The follow-up, God's Not Dead 2, was filmed in Little Rock in 2015, the same year state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, sponsored a bill to get the Ten Commandments tribute installed. The two movies grossed more than $80 million combined, according to Box Office Mojo, a website that tracks movie revenue.

God's Not Dead 3 will be filming in Little Rock in the fall, Rapert said.

Photos by Emma Pettit
Click here for larger versions

At Thursday's news conference, representatives from PureFlix Entertainment and GND Media Group joined Rapert at the Capitol rotunda to present him with a $25,000 donation.

Bob Katz and Troy Duhon, executive producers for the series, contacted Gov. Asa Hutchinson after the monument's destruction and offered the money, according to a news release.

Duhon spoke briefly at Thursday's news conference and said his son asked him the previous night why it was important to rebuild the tribute.

"Tell me what America would look like if Americans honored the Ten Commandments," Duhon told him.

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Rapert told reporters at a news conference June 28 that he had no intent to use taxpayer dollars for the new stone. The original was paid for by $26,000 in private funds raised by the American History & Heritage Foundation, which Rapert created.

Including the $25,000 gift, roughly $55,000 in total has been raised in private donations since the monument was destroyed, the senator said Thursday. People have sent in money online through a fundraising website and given by mail and in person, he said.

After thanking donors and several Arkansas lawmakers, Rapert told the audience the new monument would likely be outfitted with "aesthetically pleasing" security of some kind. That someone would drive to Little Rock and ram the monument was something "nobody could have foreseen," he said.

The American History & Heritage Foundation is "ready for any cost that is needed" to support the monument, Rapert said. Any excess money will be funneled to other foundation-approved projects, he said.

Arkansas' stone will be ready for installation in about two months, Rapert said. The new and old monuments will be the same "right down to the granite that was used," he said.

Rapert's legislative push for a Ten Commandments monument triggered a debate on the appropriateness of religious symbols on government property. Several secular groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Satanic Temple, have promised lawsuits if a monument is erected.

Metro on 07/07/2017

Print Headline: Faith films' execs give $25,000 to fix Commandments

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Comments

  • wildblueyonder
    July 8, 2017 at 2:04 p.m.

    Oh you godless people! Someday you'll learn the truth...but it'll be too late.

  • TimberTopper
    July 9, 2017 at 6:49 a.m.

    Having the monument is fine, just not on government property.

  • Wrathchilde
    July 9, 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

    Begin typing here... Don't forget to install tank-traps to protect the new monument from liberals. Else I suspect the new monument will suffer a similar fate.

  • misterveritas666
    July 10, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    I am looking forward to getting a small statue of Satan erected on the same plot of ground.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;..."

    That means - since the Constitution TRUMPS local law - that all levels of government have to treat all religions equally. Christians get a graven idol on public land? Sure. Then so does every other religion.

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