The battle has been going on about 3 years at this point. Arkansas Senator Rapert allowed a 10 Commandments monument to be placed on Arkansas State Capitol grounds. In response, The Satanic Temple asked for their Baphomet monument to be placed on the grounds as well. To nobody’s surprise, this request was refused, showing a blatant violation of religious liberty.
Over the past few years, we have seen several official requests and petitions for the Baphomet to be placed, a Christian purposely demolishing the original 10 Commandments monument and it being subsequently replaced, and of course, a plethora of religious outcries about how ‘Satan has no rights;’ therefore saying that Satanists also are without rights.
The most current chapter in this ordeal was a Rally for the First Amendment held in Little Rock, AR where The Satanic Temple brought their Baphomet for show and five different speakers, both Christian and Satanist, shared information from US history and the importance of separation of church and state. During the event, there was only 1 disturbance: a Christian protester attacking a Christian pastor who spoke in support of religious freedom. For more on that visit my last blog post or watch this video:
Hundreds of people, Satanist, Pagan, Christian, and Atheist, showed up to support this cause. Unfortunately, Sen. Rapert has once more denied allowing the Satanic monument, continuing with his blatant and unconstitutional favoritism of his own religion (Christianity). The next step? The Satanic Temple is moving forward with suing the State of Arkansas on the Federal level: a venture I have great faith in as they have sued states like this before and won, such as the case against Missouri in favor of women’s reproductive rights.
Already, we are seeing backlash from Christian organizations who are talking about raising funds to have more Christian monuments placed on other government grounds. The majority of Satanists aren’t even wanting their statue placed, but rather are fighting the point that it is unlawful and discriminatory to have any religion represented in government. The rally speakers all reiterated that this is an ‘all or nothing’ matter, meaning either every religion is allowed to do this or none are.
I was thrilled to be able to attend the event. Having grown up in a strict (to put it nicely) evangelical Christian environment where secular neighbors would get beat or have their houses set on fire for following a different path, this is of high importance to me. The US was not founded on Christianity, but rather the idea that nobody, no matter what their religion or background, should have to live in fear when they have not caused another due harm.
My friend, who I dubbed my boyfriend for the day since my wife didn’t attend, is heading this year’s Arkansas Pagan Pride, which I am also looking forward to. We met up with my wife after the rally for Chinese food and sushi and had a lovely chat. We’ve both made new friends since, and I am in high hopes for what the future will hold.
~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
((NOT A SPOKESPERSON OF THE SATANIC TEMPLE))