The Satanic Temple recently announced that it had formally petitioned the Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission for permission to bring a massive statue of its demonic deity Baphomet to the Arkansas Capitol.
Baphomet is a Satanic entity with horns, hooves, wings and a beard, depicted next to two young children. If the Satanists get their way, a 9-foot statue of the idol will stand outside the state Capitol building alongside a number of other statues, including one of the Ten Commandments, the AP reports.
An inscription on the statue would read, "Be it known to all that this statue commemorates the history of law in the United States of America. From the deplorable Satanic Witch Hunts, the cherished doctrines of due process, presumption of innocence and the protection of minorities from the tyranny of mob rule became part of the established foundation of American jurisprudence."
The Massachusetts-based group first built the giant statue to be placed at the Oklahoma State Capitol, but said it was no longer necessary after the Oklahoma Supreme Court said the Ten Commandments monument there was unconstitutional. In its petition, the group says it will pursue legal options if their application is rejected or ignored.
"The Arkansas legislature unwittingly opened the door for our monument to be erected at Little Rock, while they clearly believed they could preference the 10 Commandments," states TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves. "In fact, the law doesn't work that way. The State either allows for an open forum available to private donors, or it does not. The Legislature doesn't need to approve our monument, as the approval of the 10 Commandments already established the parameters by which monuments are allowed on Capitol Grounds. We clearly meet all their criteria with Baphomet."
Over the past several years, The Satanic Temple has attempted to erect signs and monuments next to Christian symbols on state property in different parts of the country.
In 2014, the Satanic Temple proposed displays for the Franklin County Courthouse in Indiana that would be placed near a nativity display. However, after the proposal was rejected by the courthouse, The Satanic Temple, along with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, launched a lawsuit in retaliation.
In March, the group's Seattle chapter launched a campaign against a proposed sign for the Clark County public hearing room in Vancouver, Washington, that read "In God We Trust."
"We see Satan as our symbol of the rebel against tyranny," said Satanic Temple's Lillith Starr to KING 5 News in March, explaining that the group's goal is to separate church and state.