By Hannah Grabenstein
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Satanic Temple unveiled its statue Thursday of a goat-headed, winged creature called Baphomet during a First Amendment rally at the Arkansas State Capitol to protest a Ten Commandments monument already on the Capitol grounds.
With Satanists, atheists and Christians among those in attendance, several speakers called for the removal of the Ten Commandments monument or for state government officials to install Baphomet as well. The Satanic Temple said the Ten Commandments monument violates constitutional freedom of religion rights and that installation of their statue will demonstrate religious tolerance.
Satanic Arkansas cofounder Ivy Forrester, who helped organize the rally, said “if 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.”
The statue of Baphomet, who is seated and accompanied by two smiling children, can’t be installed under a 2017 law that requires legislative sponsorship for consideration of any monument.
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