A date has been set for a federal trial over the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Arkansas. OneNewsNow spoke to a state senator who sponsored legislation for the monument.
"It's been a long time coming," Senator Jason Rapert (R) shares. "Arkansas passed the Ten Commandments Monument Act in 2015. We were able to construct the monument in 2017 and unfortunately … it was destroyed 24 hours later."
The monument was rebuilt and placed on the Capitol grounds in April 2018.
"Then, we had people from outside Arkansas who [essentially] said We know better than you and you need to tear this monument down," Rapert continues. "So, there are five different primary plaintiffs behind the movement to tear down the monument: the American Atheists, the American Humanists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the ACLU, and The Satanic Temple – and they have sued us in federal court."
Trial is scheduled to begin the week of July 13 at the Eastern District Court of Arkansas. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker will preside – and that doesn't sit well with Rapert.
"I have been disappointed in the past when she has often struck down many of the pro-life laws that have we have passed in Arkansas and has made some pronouncements that appear to be negative about people who have tried to stand up for marriage between one man and one woman," says Rapert. "This obviously concerns me when it comes to a decision that is dealing with the Ten Commandments monument."
The Republican lawmaker urges people to pray about the upcoming trial.
"Pray that Judge Baker will take the lead of the United States Supreme Court and even more recent decisions that have upheld monuments like the Bladensburg Memorial Cross, and the Pensacola Cross that we've seen in Florida," Rapert requests. "Pray that she will respect the law, respect the wishes of the state of Arkansas and of the state legislature, and let the monument stand."
In a 2005 case known as Van Orden v. Perry, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a Ten Commandments monument at the state capitol building in Austin, Texas, did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
"Justice Rehnquist talked about all of the places in government buildings across the country and in Washington, DC, in which there are depictions of the Ten Commandments," Rapert explains. "The story of the Ten commandments is in the Bible of course, but this is very well recorded as part of the historical and moral foundations of law – and if the Ten Commandments are good enough to have them depicted inside the U.S. Supreme Court chamber themselves, they're good enough for the State of Arkansas."