Arkansas Law Would Block Satanic Statue on Capitol Grounds Feb 11, 2017 4:25:39 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Feb 11, 2017 4:25:39 GMT -5
Arkansas Law Would Block Satanic Statue on Capitol Grounds
LITTLE ROCK – An effort to build a satanic monument near the Arkansas Capitol would effectively be blocked unless lawmakers approve the statue under a measure given initial approval by the House on Monday. The bill backed by the majority-Republican House on a 91-0 vote would prevent the state Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission’s considering proposals to build or remove any monuments without legislative authorization. Current law allows the panel to consider monument proposals and issue recommendations, even though none can be built without legislative approval. The move comes less than two weeks after a subcommittee of the commission cleared the way for a public hearing on a Baphomet statue (presumably on the order of the one pictured above) the Satanic Temple has proposed on the state Capitol grounds. The proposal was made in response to a privately-funded Ten Commandments monument lawmakers approved in 2015.
The lawmaker behind the bill said the change makes sense because the Legislature ultimately has to approve any monument anyway. So far, no legislation has been introduced in favor of the Baphomet statue. “They could get it through a whole lot of work by the commission and never see the light of day,” Republican Rep. Kim Hammer said before the vote. The proposal now heads to the Senate.
Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple’s co-founder and spokesman, said the change would help make the case against the Ten Commandments monument because it would show state government’s granting preference for a religious statue on state property. Greaves said he doesn’t believe Hammer’s measure, if it becomes law, should be applied retroactively to block the Baphomet statue. “It essentially consigns any monument placement to being part of the agenda of members of the Legislature and it’s no longer then an open forum,” Greaves said. Greaves said his group hasn’t found a sponsor in the Legislature for the Baphomet statue. It’s also considering pushing legislation to change the process for approving monuments or to ban any religious displays on the Capitol grounds.
Secretary of State Mark Martin, who chairs the commission, supports Hammer’s proposal, his office said. Martin must consult with the commission about the Ten Commandments display and its location before approving it. A public hearing on the Ten Commandments was held last year and the full commission hasn’t set a date to take up the proposal.
Another monument proposal pending before the commission won initial approval in a separate vote Monday. The Senate voted 34-0 to authorize a Gold Star Family memorial in honor of families of armed forces members who have died on active duty. That measure now heads to the House.
Source: The Harrison Daily, February 8, 2017.