The installation of a new Ten Commandments monument on the Arkansas Capitol grounds in Little Rock got a swift response from the Satanic Temple.
No sooner had the monument been lowered onto the grounds by a crane on Thursday (April 26), than Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of the Satanic Temple, said his group will join a lawsuit soon to be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union alleging an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
The Satanic Temple, which claims 100,000 members around the world, has become a vocal advocate on the issue of religious freedom. It has attempted in various provocative ways to highlight the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
After Oklahoma installed a Ten Commandments monument on its Capitol grounds in 2012, the group tried to install its own statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed, angel-winged creature accompanied by two children smiling at it.
It never got that far after the state’s Supreme Court ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments monument in 2015, on the grounds that it violated a provision in the state constitution prohibiting use of state property to further religions.
Greaves, who flew from his home in Salem, Mass., to Little Rock to be on hand for the installation of the monument, predicted an Arkansas court would do the same.
“It may be compelled to make a summary judgment,” he said.
Members of the Satanic Temple don’t believe in a literal Satan but see the biblical Satan as a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny. The group’s stated mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice.”