The Satanic Temple wants the bronze statue to be installed beside the Ten Commandments monolith.
The Satanic Temple, a Massachusetts-based organization, has announced its intention of bringing the group's Baphomet statue to Little Rock , the Arkansas capital city, as a mark of protest in its fight for religious freedom. If all goes as planned, the seven-and-a-half-foot bronze sculpture will soon be seen in a prominent spot in the city. The Satanic Temple (TST) has planned a rally for August 16, which will bring together a number of religious figures belonging to different faiths for the protection of religious plurality and the First Amendment.
The Friends of the Satanic Temple of Arkansas had a great meeting at Vino's Brew Pub last week! We are gearing up for welcoming the Baphomet to our state on August 16th! #friendsofTSTArkansas #satanicarkansas pic.twitter.com/3rJVZHXdvt
— The Friends TST of Arkansas (@satanicarkansas) July 29, 2018
Lucien Greaves, the spokesperson for TST, explained the organization’s stance that freedom of religion means the government should not endorse one religion and eschew the others. It must not stop other religious voices to be subsumed by one particular religion. Greaves, who uses a pseudonym, assured his audience the TST rally does not pit secularists against faith-centric people or Satanists against Christians or even Arkansas residents against people from outside the state.
The Satanists have joined multiple lawsuits which challenged the constitutional validity of a monument dedicated to the Ten Commandments on Capitol grounds. The First Amendment's establishment clause inhibits governments from giving one particular religion more importance than the others.
The TST suffered a drawback in recent times when it could not install its Baphomet statue near the Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. The organization pointed out that the seven-and-a-half-foot statue only highlighted the degree to which legislators in the state actively endorsed one religion above all others. The TST, on its website, describes itself as an organized religion whose mission is to promote empathy and benevolence among all individuals.
For TST, 2018 has turned out to be an eventful year. They filed several lawsuits seeking complete removal of the Ten Commandments monument, which was first removed and then re-installed on the Capitol grounds. Mark Martin, the Secretary of State, has termed Satanic Temple members as “trolling pranksters.” Martin complained that TST does not satisfy the requirements to be termed as a “religion” as defined by the Federal Government on this subject. He also alleged that the organization's behavior does not fit the dignity of the U.S. District Court.