The Satanic Temple temporarily placed a bronze, goat-headed statue of Baphomet in front of Arkansas’ state capitol building Thursday to protest a Ten Commandments monument placed there in 2017.
The group brought in the seven-and-a-half-foot tall monument on a flatbed truck Thursday and unveiled it at the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol, KTHV reported.
“I present to you Baphomet,” Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, told a crowd of 150 Satanists, atheists, and Christians gathered near the Arkansas State Capitol for the group’s “First Amendment” rally, according to a video from the protest.
Organizers of the rally called for Arkansas lawmakers to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments because they say it violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
“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,” said Satanic Arkansas cofounder Ivy Forrester, according to CBS News.
The Satanist group removed the goat-headed monument later on Thursday.
Although the Satanist group’s statue made a brief appearance in front of the capitol building, it cannot remain there permanently due to a 2017 state law that requires the Arkansas legislature to approve any monument installed on the capitol grounds.
State lawmakers initially installed a privately-funded six-foot granite structure with the Ten Commandments near the Arkansas State Supreme Court in 2017, but the monument was destroyed when a man rammed his vehicle into the structure.
Lawmakers then unveiled a replacement Ten Commandments structure in April 2018.