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November 17, 2017

Arkansas Panel to Review Ten Commandments, Satan Monuments


LITTLE ROCK – An Arkansas panel will begin reviewing proposals next month to set up monuments to the Ten Commandments and Satan near the state Capitol, the secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday.

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin scheduled a Sept. 13 meeting of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to discuss the proposals. State lawmakers last year approved a law requiring the state to allow a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol Grounds.

It appeared unlikely the commission would make a final decision on the proposals at next month’s meeting. A draft agenda includes selecting subcommittees to review the monument plans.

“This is just the first step,” said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin’s office.

The Ten Commandments monument will weigh 6,000 pounds and stand more than 6 feet tall, according to an application filed with Martin’s office earlier this month. The American History and Heritage Foundation says it raised more than $25,000 for the granite monument and its installation.

The Satanic Temple has asked the commission to approve its proposed Baphomet statue, which it has asked the state to place next to or directly in front of the Ten Commandments monument.

Martin’s office has also set up a hotline for the public to call in with comments about the proposed monuments. The law allowing the Ten Commandments monument requires Martin to consult the commission before approving the design and site for the monument. Unlike the Ten Commandments monument, the state isn’t required by law to allow the satanic monument.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the Ten Commandments law, said he was encouraged by the date being set for the monument.

“I look forward to seeing further progress,” Rapert said.

The Satanic Temple did not immediately return a message left at the number listed for the group on its application.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has said that allowing the Ten Commandments monument to stand on the Capitol grounds would be unconstitutional. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU last year, ordering a Ten Commandments monument to be removed from that state’s Capitol grounds. Oklahoma voters in November are set to decide whether to change the state’s constitution to allow the monument’s return.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Texas Ten Commandments display in 2005 while striking down Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

LITTLE ROCK – An Arkansas panel will begin reviewing proposals next month to set up monuments to the Ten Commandments and Satan near the state Capitol, the secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday.

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin scheduled a Sept. 13 meeting of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to discuss the proposals. State lawmakers last year approved a law requiring the state to allow a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol Grounds.

It appeared unlikely the commission would make a final decision on the proposals at next month’s meeting. A draft agenda includes selecting subcommittees to review the monument plans.

“This is just the first step,” said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin’s office.

The Ten Commandments monument will weigh 6,000 pounds and stand more than 6 feet tall, according to an application filed with Martin’s office earlier this month. The American History and Heritage Foundation says it raised more than $25,000 for the granite monument and its installation.

The Satanic Temple has asked the commission to approve its proposed Baphomet statue, which it has asked the state to place next to or directly in front of the Ten Commandments monument.

Martin’s office has also set up a hotline for the public to call in with comments about the proposed monuments. The law allowing the Ten Commandments monument requires Martin to consult the commission before approving the design and site for the monument. Unlike the Ten Commandments monument, the state isn’t required by law to allow the satanic monument.

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored the Ten Commandments law, said he was encouraged by the date being set for the monument.

“I look forward to seeing further progress,” Rapert said.

The Satanic Temple did not immediately return a message left at the number listed for the group on its application.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has said that allowing the Ten Commandments monument to stand on the Capitol grounds would be unconstitutional. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU last year, ordering a Ten Commandments monument to be removed from that state’s Capitol grounds. Oklahoma voters in November are set to decide whether to change the state’s constitution to allow the monument’s return.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Texas Ten Commandments display in 2005 while striking down Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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