Arkansas Ten Commandments monument smashed by a lunatic

I was planning to write something else this week, but I’ve been developing writer’s block or something to that effect. However, I have recently been made aware of some news that struck me as very familiar, which I think you might appreciate.

You may recall a couple of years ago the story of the Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma, and how it was opposed by The Satanic Temple who famously campaigned to get a Satanic statue of her own placed alongside of it. Well this story involves yet another Ten Commandments monument, this time in Arkansas and it was very recently built. In fact, it was only a day after its unveiling before it was demolished by a man named Michael Reed in his car. Early this morning, at around 4am UTC, Reed apparently drove his car through the monument while shouting “Freedom!” as he was streaming it to Facebook.

I have online coverage of the event from people claiming that the culprit was an atheist launching a personal attack on Christianity, but nothing I have seen of it confirms this. Reed released a video statement affirming his own belief in the Christian religion, but he also stated that he opposes the existence of the monument on the grounds he feels it is a violation of the separation of church and state, saying “no one religion should be represented by the state”. Further reports suggest that Reed was diagnosed with schio-affective disorder and may have heard voices in his head, suggesting that he may also have been mentally unsound. As a side-note, The Daily Mail claimed that Reed was an avowed Satanist, but I have seen no proof of his Satanism. In fact such a claim would run counter to the evidence we have of Reed’s likely motives.

My own personal verdict is that this is clearly the work of a crazy individual who, judging from his willingness to show everyone on his Facebook what he was doing, may have done what he did to gain some attention. Whether or not this was to attract attention to his “cause” is beyond me.

The shattered Arkansas monument

So I guess they did it

You may remember the Ten Commandments monument sitting at the grounds of Oklahoma’s State Capitol building. Well today I have heard the news that a commission in Oklahoma has voted to finally remove the monument. Prior to this vote, the monument was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in June of this year, on the grounds that the state constitution did not allow for state property to be used for the benefit of religious belief, and it was decreed that the monument be removed before October 12th.

Naturally, I feel this is a great moment in the history of the cause of separation of church and state, but I also feel like it’s been something of a long time coming. One question I have personally is that if someone smashes the monument again, what would they do about it this time instead of reinstalling it.

So long Ten Commandments monument. You won’t be missed.

I suppose we have The Satanic Temple to think for this. If they hadn’t dared to propose their Satanic statue to go alongside the Ten Commandments, I don’t think many people would care about the fact that a monument designed to promote the Christian faith is sitting on the property of what is supposed to represent secular law. And as bold and gallant as the idea of a statue representing Satanism is, I think it’s likely they proposed it because they know that most people are uncomfortable with supporting Satanism, due to their own ignorance of Satanism, and because of this politicians would rather remove the Ten Commandments monument than support the inclusion of a Satanic monument. I’m not sure I like the Satanic Temple’s tactics very much, but they work, and now partly because of them that Ten Commandments monument will no longer stand on Oklahoma’s State Capitol building.

Those who have revealed themselves to be terrorists

Those wacky Christian fanatics. They just never give up do they? Even in the face of incontrovertible defeat at the hands of the judgement of secular law, with liberty on its side no less, they simply can’t allow themselves to quit no matter how weak they are at the end of it. You may remember that the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma State Capitol was ruled by the state’s supreme court as a violation of the separation of church and state and that it was decided the monument must be removed on those grounds. You may also remember that this meant the Satanic Temple’s statue of Satan (depicted as a Baphomet figure), which was meant to counter the presence of the Ten Commandments monument, had become unnecessary as a result, and was left pretty much without a home. Well since then, the Satanic Temple has planned to unveil the statue in Detroit, but there’s been a snag in their plans. The statue was originally planned to be displayed publicly at Bert’s Market Place in the Eastern Market District of Detroit, but the Satanic Temple has decided to instead unveil the statue privately at a secret ticketed event. The Satanic Temple made its decision because the usual Christian fanatics have threatened to destroy the statue.

The completed Satanic Temple statue, before bronzing.

There is only one word for the sort of behavior being directed at the Satanic Temple: terrorism. There’s simply no other way to describe it. When you make threats of violence or harassment towards an individual or organization and demand that they suppress their activities because they don’t conform to your religious or political views or express themselves as such, then you are a terrorist and there’s no ifs and buts about it. It’s as simple as that. The mentality of these Christian fanatics is no different at all to the way Islamic terrorists have threatened those who draw cartoons of their prophet Muhammad or satirically portray their religion. The whole idea is to suppress people, to silence, to forbid freedom of expression by using threats of violence. It matters not whether you act on those threats, if you make the threats at all then you clearly intend to violently suppress people for expressing themselves, or encourage doing that such suppression take place, and that makes you a terrorist. Some people might not see this, because they only see terrorism as something that can take place successfully (a la the attacks that have been carried out by Islamic terrorists over the past 14 years). But what needs to be understand is that terrorism means trying to suppress people with threats of violence, harassment, and persecution, and as long as this is true it doesn’t matter if any threats of violence are actually acted upon because you’re already engaging in coercive behavior with no justifiable motivation. Nothing, except pure hatred and the mistaken belief that everyone must conform to certain beliefs, let alone totally and by the letter.

The fact that such terrorism exists in America and is overlooked, I’m actually worried that America is in danger losing the moral ground to actually condemn terrorism, and who knows what disaster could ensue in the country what that’s the case. I feel these hooligans who threaten religious liberty should be made an example of, to prove that this sort of terrorism is not OK on American soil, or anywhere.

Thoughts on The Satanic Temple (and their Satanic monument)

The Satan statue being built by The Satanic Temple

One of the highlights of this year so far, for me, is the plan by The Satanic Temple to build a statue of Satan (in the form of Baphomet) at Oklahoma State Capitol alongside the Ten Commandments monument, as a reaction against another defiling of the constitutional separation of church and state. Obviously I am in favor of Satan statue being there to oppose the establishment of a Christian presence that does not belong in a place of law.

However, I feel it would be remiss if I didn’t add that if the Ten Commandments monument were to be removed from the site (which might be rather unlikely), then the Satan statue would have to be located somewhere else because it would no longer serve its purpose if the Ten Commandments monument is no longer present.

The 2012 Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma, which sits as an affront to the separation of religion and secular law.

Still, isn’t it baffling that the Christians in America are complaining that there’s a statue of Satan coming to Oklahoma after they built a Ten Commandments monument there? They shouldn’t be complaining, because they brought it upon themselves when they chose to make a mockery of the values that America was founded on; freedom, separation of church and state, the right of the individual to pursue happiness in whatever way he/she chooses to as long as no one is harmed or coerced (all of which, of course, law would serve to protect). By erecting the Ten Commandments in a place of secular law, they should’ve known this and that someone else requesting monuments for other beliefs would follow.

Which brings me to The Satanic Temple.

Easily the most public Satanic organisation ever (at least in terms of their campaigns of outreach), they stand out among every other Satanic organisation. Where most of them have a somewhat elitist (though not fascist) element, and sometimes a misanthropic outlook, The Satanic Temple does not, and the organisations desire to provide outreach to the public and publicly take part in community and public affairs, including political activities. Their public campaigning, I feel, is an excellent and wonderful thing because it challenges people to question their spoon-fed or image-based perceptions of Satanism and look into the philosophy of Satanism and its many different manifestations.

However, I personally would most likely  not join the organisation because I do not like to actively join organisations and like to remain independent and not stick to an outside set of tenets. It’s also because I tend to be wary of any idea of altruistic intentions. The latter is nothing against the organisation, I just like to be careful that Satanic organisations are not partaking in community activities for the sake of any altruistic ideas and pretences. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t support the organisation and its efforts, acting as an independent supporter . After all, why wouldn’t I support an organisation that actively fights on the side of liberty? I might even donate on my own time when it suits me or when I’m comfortable.

If you are interested in donating, then get this: There are apparently some awesome perks for donating. For $500 you can get your name on the “list of souls” on the back of the statue. For $666, your name on the statue. For $1,000, you can get a 1 foot bronze statue of the monument. For $1,200, you get your name on the statue at the top of the list. For $5,000 you can get your own 4×6 block with 4 lines of text. For $10,000 you can get your own 10×8 inch block with 12 lines of text. And for $100,000, your own statue! I’m not sure if I can donate that much, but damn! It’s enough to make me want to consider it.

I’d hate to sound like a giant advertisement, but those interested in donating may feel free to check out the website here: http://www.thesatanictemple.com