The Satanic Temple unveiled a statue of the demon inspired Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol Thursday during a First Amendment rally to protest the Capitol’s Ten Commandments monument.
Satanists gathered to insist the Arkansas government either take down the Ten Commandments monument — which they say violates their freedom of religion — or display their Baphomet statue to ensure equality amongst religions. The Satanic Temple said it plans to sue the state for religious discrimination.
"[I]f you're going to have one religious monument up then it should be open to others, and if you don't agree with that then let's just not have any at all," said Satanic Arkansas cofounder Ivy Forrester.
The Ten Commandments monument was installed last year with a sponsorship from Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, who in an online statement, called the Satanist protesters “extremists.”
"[I]t will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol," Rupert said regarding the Satanic Temple’s statue.
The Baphomet statue, which features the goat-headed demon being gazed at adoringly by two young children, cannot currently be installed because it has no legislative sponsorship.
A man drove his car into the Arkansas 10 Commandments monument in 2017, smashing it to pieces on the exact day it was installed. The same man smashed another 10 Commandments statue on Oklahoma’s Capitol grounds, where the Satanic Temple also tried to install its Baphomet statue before its efforts were shut down by the state’s Supreme Court.