America is a nation that considers itself founded on Christian beliefs. But in actuality state and church are entirely separate, and following the approval of a monument depicting the Ten Commandments in Arkansas, a group of Satanists are appealing for equal treatment.
The state of Arkansas thought they had exploited a loophole in the law to erect the undeniably Christian monument on state Capitol grounds, technically owned by the public.
Supporters of the Christian statue say that it has historical significance in the foundations of US law, and as such has a right to be built on public land.
But the statue is privately funded and there is nothing entrenched in the US Constitution about God, so Arkansas has opened Pandora’s box.
Switched on representatives from The Satanic Temple have petitioned Arkansas to also include a goat-headed statue on Capitol grounds. They argue it is fully justified to commemorate “various historical witch hunts and homage to the persecuted free-thinkers and ‘heretics’ who helped inform American secular jurisprudence.”
The Satanic Temple argues “if the State has opened the public grounds to private donations, they cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination and must reasonably allow for other donations of a similar nature.”
A similar Ten Commandments monument has been removed in Oklahoma after it was deemed unconstitutional.
Whatever happens Arkansas faces a significant headache, completely of their own making, for trying to be clever dicks.
The choice? Recognise the US is a secular nation where all beliefs should be given equal respect, but separate to the government. Or be true hypocrites and impose Christianity on citizens who are meant to be free to live as they wish.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some banging rules to live by in the Ten Commandments. Don’t murder is truly inspired. But do people really need a state sponsored monument to remind them not to be dicks?
Well if they do it must be respected, and expected, that other religions have a right for their values and codes of conduct to be promoted, and that will include followers of old Beelzebub.
Besides, isn’t one of the commandments ‘no graven images’? So a monument to the commandments would break the commandments?