The monument stands on the grounds of the State Capitol
Arkansas ACLU and Satanic Temple plan on filing lawsuits to have the statue taken down
A Ten Commandments monument was installed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol Tuesday morning, following two years of controversy and debate.
Standing at over six feet tall, the monument was originally authorized in 2015 in “The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act,” which defined the Ten Commandments as “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Arkansas.”
State Senator Jason Rapert, a primary sponsor of the Ten Commandments Monument Display Act, praised its installation to a group of reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re just very grateful to have this up and see the law fulfilled,” he said. “We have a beautiful Capitol grounds, but we did not have a monument that actually honored the historical moral foundation of law.”
But not everyone is so grateful.
“I’m appalled that they’ve actually gone through with it,” LeeWood Thomas, member of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, told CNN affiliate KARK. “To see elected government officials go through with the erection of a religious monument on our capitol lawn is appalling.”
The “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act” cites a 2005 Supreme Court decision from Texas that Ten Commandment monuments on state grounds were not a violation of the the First Amendment.
Chris Powell, the assistant director of communications to Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, told CNN his office set up a hotline for comments received. 142 were for the monument, 65 were against.
While Thomas said his group has no immediate plans to try to have the monument removed, both the Arkansas ACLU and the Satanic Temple told KARK they plan on filing lawsuits to have the statue taken down.
“If it’s good enough for the United States Capitol, it’s good enough for the state of Arkansas,” Rapert said.