Our View:You get a statue… and you get a statue… everybody gets a statue!

It has certainly become apparent that Arkansas has been chosen by a bunch of radical, self-serving minority groups to make their visual statement as to who they are and demanding that our state capital be used as the dumping grounds for everything from devil-like figures to monkey-faced statues. We can’t even get into the new year without some fringe religious group, calling themselves an out-of-state Hindu organization demanding it be allowed to place a statue of – get this – Lord Hanuman, a monkey-faced god known for his strength and exceptional grammar. It was just a few days ago that a person by the name of Rajan Zed, the head of the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism, issued a statement calling on Secretary of State Mark Martin to immediately call a meeting of the state Capital’s grounds commission to, not only consider but, grant his request to put this monkey-faced statue on capital grounds. Meanwhile, Martin’s office is also dealing with a request from a Wisconsin group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, that wants to put up a monument that reads, “There are no gods.” Oh, and then there is this Satanic Temple, which is based in New York, trying to get permission to install an 8-foot-high, 1.5 ton bronze goat named Baphomet. Its even gets better folks. Martin’s office just recently declined a Florida-based blogger’s request to slap up a gay-pride-themed “Festivus Pole” at the Capitol. For all those of you out there who may not know what Festivus is then allow us to tell you. It is an alternative holiday in an episode of the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. Insofar as this Zed’s request goes, Martin’s office’s office didn’t waste any time coming out saying as far as they are concerned there is no date set for a meeting of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission, which Martin leads. And, it was made clear there won’t be a meeting anytime soon. So then, many level-headed, “normal” Arkansans are wondering what has caused all these radical requests. It appears this annoyance is the result of lawmakers passing Act 1231 which allows for the creation of a privately financed monument to the biblical Ten Commandments on the Capitol grounds. That law was signed into law in early April. Supporters of the proposed monuments say that Martin should allow them the same deference and space on the Capitol grounds that the proposed Ten Commandments monument would receive. Now then, supporters of the Ten Commandments monument argue that their monument is not about religion at all but rather the role the commandments played in the formation of Western laws. It has become clear that when lawmakers passed Act 1231 they opened up Pandora’s Box, and probably the best way to solve this ridiculous mess would be to set aside a plot of state property behind the Capitol garbage bins, establish a rental fee for space and inform these radical elements to submit their credit references for consideration.

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