A swarm of organizations are lobbying to have statues reflecting their belief systems built near the Arkansas state capitol. These requests follow the Arkansas government’s decision to build a statue of the Ten Commandments on the capitol's grounds.
The statehouse, in Little Rock, Arkansas, already has statues honoring Confederate soldiers, firefighters and heroes of the civil rights movement. The bill that proposed the building of the Ten Commandments stressed that, like all of the other statues, this would be honoring history and not endorsing one religion over others.
The approved bill states: “The placement of the monument under this section shall not be construed to mean that the state of Arkansas favors any particular religion or denomination over others.”
Little did the legislators know, this would draw the attention of other groups.
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Wisconsin-based group Freedom from Religion Foundation swiftly sent a letter to Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Christian Post reports.
In its letter, FFRF demands that a statue honoring atheism be built alongside the Ten Commandments.
Its proposed inscription: “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no Heaven or Hell. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. Freedom depends on freethinkers. Keep state and church separate.”
Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism has also requested a stone statue be built near the capitol honoring the monkey-faced god Hanuman. Its proposal was swiftly rejected.
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Throwing its hat into the ring is The Satanic Temple, Fox News reports. Its proposal is for the construction of bronze statue of the goat-headed demon Baphomet, a symbol for plurality and religious liberty.
Also stepping in is People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, proposing a giant vegetable banner, The New York Times reports.
Hutchinson has made it clear that any monument built on state capitol has to be relevant to Arkansas. “We want it to be exclusive, we it to be reasoned, we want it to be reflective,” he says.
Although the Ten Commandment statue is being built on capitol grounds, it is being privately funded.