Catholics and other Christians attended a rally at the State Capitol Aug. 16 to protest the presence of a satanic statue and its organization’s wishes to have it permanently installed on the Capitol grounds.
About two dozen Christians carried signs, prayed and sang during the afternoon “Rally for the First Amendment,” where an 8-1/2-foot bronze statue of Baphomet was displayed on a flatbed truck.
The reason for the rally was to oppose the state’s Ten Commandment monument that is located behind the Capitol. The Satanic Temple believes that the state should allow other religious statues placed on the lawn if they are allowing a Judeo-Christian symbol. The Ten Commandments were installed in 2017 by the state but destroyed by a protester only a few days later. In April the monument was reinstalled, but during the rally it was fenced off and blocked from view with black mesh fencing.
The Satanic Temple of Salem, Mass., which hosted the rally, also asked for a statue of a winged, goat-headed creature being adored by children to be installed at the Oklahoma State Capitol, but its Ten Commandments monument was removed following a state Supreme Court ruling.
The Satanic Temple calls itself “a non-theistic religious organization dedicated to Satanic practice and the promotion of Satanic rights.”
Drew Clarke of Memphis attended the rally at the urging of America Needs Fatima, a national Catholic group promoting a campaign to end Satanism in the U.S.
“I grew up in Arkansas and I’m not going to stand for it,” Clarke said.
America Needs Fatima organized its own “rally of reparation” Aug. 15 at the State Capitol.
Jack Burnham, media director for America Needs Fatima, said about 275 people attended the rally on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“We say the rosary, we sing hymns, asking our Lady to make reparation to God for this thing we couldn’t stop,” Burnham said.
America Needs Fatima also delivered 25,000 signatures to Gov. Asa Hutchinson to protest the satanic statue.
Holding his wooden rosary and a sign reading “Pray the rosary daily,” Jim Bourne of St. John the Baptist Church in Cabot watched silently and prayed during the rally.
“I think every Catholic should be out here today,” he said.
“I just wanted to be there because sometimes presence can touch a heart … You can just tell in their voices that they were hurting,” he said of the Satanic Temple speakers.
Lisa Hayes, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock, said, “I just felt the need to pray over people who worship Satan and give support where needed for our faith.”
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