Yesterday a Ten Commandments monument was installed on the grounds of the Arkansas Capital. Early this morning a man drove his car into the monument and destroyed it. Yelling “Freedom” as he drove into the monument, the perpetrator recorded the deed on Facebook Live. The act was also witnessed by the Capitol Security. Michael Reed II of Van Buren Arkansas, was arrested and charged with destroying the monument. This is not the first time he has smashed a Ten Commandments Monument, in 2014, he was taken into custody in Oklahoma after destroying one on the grounds of the Capitol. His family stated that he has a history of mental illness.
Arkansas is in the international spotlight again, and not in a good way. Building the monument was controversial, a bill had to be passed by the General Assembly in order to get it installed. Private funds had to be raised to build it. Jason Rapert, a State Senator was behind the bill and established “The American Heritage and History Foundation” Go Fund Me page to raise the $26,000 to pay for it. Many Arkansans, including the ACLU were against the installation of the monument, and their voices have been heard. A law suit asking for its removal was likely and probably would be successful. Since the law passed by the General Assembly required that a Ten Commandments monument be built, other groups believed that the law would allow them to build monuments for their beliefs on the Capital Grounds.
A proposal from The Temple of Satan of New York to install a monument to Baphomet within 20 feet of the Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds was submitted for consideration to the Arkansas Capital Art and Grounds Commission in January of this year. The Commission approved the proposal stating that it met the requirements of the law and could move on to the public hearings stage. On February 7th The General Assembly issued an order to stop construction of any new monuments on Capital grounds unless they were approved by the General Assembly, ending the possibility of a Baphomet monument for now. The Ten Commandments Monument controversy in Arkansas is not over. Although the monument is beyond repair, it may be replaced, and if so, a law suit will be filed asking for its removal.