Senate Passes Bill Allowing 10 Commandments Monument At State Capitol

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – The Arkansas Senate passed a bill on Wednesday (March 25) that would allow a 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of the capitol, officials said.

The bill passed with a vote of 27-3, according to legislators.

Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, filed the bill on March 9 at 2:25 p.m., and it is called SB 939, according to legislative records.

The bill states that the Arkansas Secretary of State may “permit and arrange for the placement on the State Capitol grounds of a suitable monument commemorating the Ten Commandments.”

Citing the case of Van Orden v. Perry,  the bill states that the monument would be considered constitutional.

If passed, the bill would enable the secretary of state to help private entities in selecting a location for the monument and to pick a time for its placement.

The bill also states that if the legality of the monument is challenged in a court of law, the attorney general may prepare and present a legal defense or request that the Liberty Legal Institute prepare and present a legal defense of the monument.

SB 939 closes by stating, “The placement of the monument under this section shall not be construed to mean that the State of Arkansas favors any particular religion or denomination over others.”

“I want to thank the Arkansas Senate for overwhelmingly passing SB 939 today, with 27 yes votes, to allow for a monument to honor the moral foundation of American Jurisprudence – the Ten Commandments,” Rapert said on his Facebook page.

SB 939 now goes to the Arkansas House Committee on State Agencies & Governmental Affairs where it is scheduled for a vote on Friday (March 27) at 9 a.m., according to legislative records.

29 comments

  • Sean

    I see nothing wrong with displaying the Ten Commandments even as a person who functions mainly outside of organized religion.

    Puttin the Ten Commandments up in a building full of lawyers and judges though has to be some kind of cosmic joke, as nobody I’ve come across is more morally dirty and corrupt than your average judge or lawyer.

    Our judges and lawyers in western Arkansas have perverted and embarrassed a once proud proffesion.

    #Michael Hamby, Greenwood

    #Judge Jimbo Spears, Sebastian County

  • Jesus

    This seems like a good use of government time. I’m glad they made sure to note that the 10 commandments do not favor any religion!

    • R.G.

      It didn’t say that the Ten Commandments does’t favore any one particular religion, it says that THE STATE OF ARKANSAS doesn’t favore any one parrtcular religion. Big difference.

  • Yeshua

    Meanwhile, majority of Arkansans still live in poverty, education still lags behind most of the country, obesity is still rampant, and our health care ranks at the bottom of the country. Alas, we have passed a law to allow the commandments to be proudly displayed at our capital. New slogan: Arkansas, we may not be the brightest, the richest, or the healthiest, but at least we have God to solve our problems. We’ve waited 100 years, what’s another 100 for him to answer our prayers now that we’re erecting monuments in his honor? #completewasteoftime

  • Amazed

    All this did was set a precedent for all religions to erect something… We’ve got a bunch of elected officials who care nothing about bettering our state by solving issues that affect our daily lives

  • Skepticalguy

    I wonder if those same legislators who are in favor of posting the 10 Commandments on the Capital grounds are also in favor of posting the punishments for violating them? (Leviticus 24:16, 20:10, Exodus 21:17, 31:15). If, as the bill states, Exodus and Deuteronomy are an “important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States and of the State of Arkansas” then surely the punishments would be part of that same moral foundation/tradition. No, I think they would not vote to post such punishments; for that would remind people of just how appalling a 1st century moral (their) worldview can be.

  • TMP

    Woah ! What’s that noise I hear, wait a minute, listen carefully do you hear it, it’s a thump, thump, thump sound?
    Oh I know what that is, it’s the sound of a NUT-JOB republican thumping his Bible !

    • tasdgs

      Not everyone who wants this monument erected is a “NUT-JOB republican thumping his Bible.” I’m glad that this monument is going up. I do not classify myself as a Republican or a Democrat.

  • tasdgs

    I’m glad that the Ten Commandments are being erected. The Ten Commandments form the basis for civilized law and it also reminds people of religious belief. This is especially important, today, since many disregard religion and religious belief.

    • Skepticalguy

      Then logically the following punishments would be acceptable in your “civilized” society. Sorry, but not a place I would care to live. I’m sure we can do better than these.

      Leviticus 24:16–and one who misuses the name of the Lord must surely be put to death. The whole congregation must surely stone him, whether he is a foreigner or a native citizen; when he misuses the Name he must be put to death.
      Leviticus 20:10– If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
      Exodus 31:15– anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must surely be put to death.
      Exodus 21:17–Whoever treats his father or his mother disgracefully must surely be put to death.

      • tasdgs

        But I did say that the Commandments are the “basis for civilized law.” You also have to remember that the punishments, for breaking these laws, is not binding for successive generations. It(the punishments) was necessary for that particular time period. Let me ask you this, I’m sure that you are against people murdering others. This is one of the Ten Commandments. If that is the case then are you also against capital punishment which is a punishment for someone who commits murder? If you are then how is that any different than the punishments, that you mentioned, for breaking one of the Commandments?

    • Scott

      Not even close. Do you really think the four that are actually useful weren’t prohibited in societies before the 10 Commandments? Remember, the Jewish people allegedly had just escaped a thriving civilization. Of course Egypt proscribed killing, stealing and lying. And most civilizations have basically agreed that it’s bad to commit adultery (though no illegal).

      The others? Yeah, they are of no importance to our laws. Don’t covet? Really? Are we just going to do away with capitalism? No other gods, remember the Sabbath, don’t take the lord’s name in vain and no graven images – are we just going to ignore the First Amendment, which is in direct conflict with all of those?

      Rapert also cites the wrong caselaw. Breyer’s opinion in Van Orden was specifically tailored to Texas’ grounds because the monument had been there for 40 years without challenge and because there were other monuments on the grounds – and the monument had been put there fully at the behest of a private non-sectarian organization. This is the Legislature demanding that a monument be erected where no other monuments are erected like it and with no historical cover.

      Rapert is a legal incompetent.

      • Scott

        Which god’s laws?
        The gods of 15th Century BCE Babylonians, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The gods of 10th Century BCE Egypt, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The god of 9th Century Jews BCE, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The gods of 3rd Century BCE Greece, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The gods of 1st Century CE Rome, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The god of 4th Century CE Europe, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The gods of 5th Century German States, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The god of 7th Century CE Arabia, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The gods of 13th Century CE America, who if you didn’t believe in, you’d be killed?
        The god of Post-Enlightenment Europe and America, who if you didn’t believe in, well, ok, most people understand that it’s probably wrong to kill people for their beliefs nowadays, so you’ll just be ignored?
        Eh, I’m just going to go with man made law and cut out the middle men.

  • Religion_is_Evil

    We need to push all these religious morons into the sea and let them drown like rats. The human race would be colonizing other planets by now if it wasn’t for the bigotry found in religion. The religious are the worst kind of people on the planet. 48% of those idiots think that the world will end in their lifetime so there is no reason to “take care” of the planet. The world would be a much better place without these ignorant morons and their false gods and religions.

  • No Church in State

    Surely these legislatures will not be opposed to a monument from The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a monument from The Satanic Temple, if they in fact not showing preference to any religion. These groups will create cases to go to the Supreme Court just to prove the importance of the separation of church and state. It’s like young children that bring candy to class and don’t want to share. If one monument gets to be put up every gets to put one up, if not, everyone does without having a monument (which is what these other groups are trying to accomplish by putting up images that scare people who refuse to accept our Constitution).

  • Darin

    I hope all of you Atheists are right. If there isn’t a God then all I have lost is trying to be a good person and 1 day a week to go to church, and when I die it’s done. But if I’m right and the atheist is wrong then they will have to live with it for eternity in hell

    • Skepticalguy

      This is the classic Pascal’s Wager (1670) and it reveals the true motivation for why many people “go to church”; it is not necessarily b/c they believe what is being taught from the pulpit but rather they just don’t want to end up on the losing side of the wager, As an interesting aside, according the Pope Francis, unbelievers are obligated to follow their conscience and in fact commit sin if they profess to believe in that which they do not (“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”) It simply dumbfounds me as to why people think that the Christian God (the God of love after all) would condemn a person to eternal suffering for mere unbelief. Clearly the Pope doesn’t accept this idea either. Belief in his existence is founded on faith, which is just another way of saying lack of evidence. Why would God choose to conceal his existence just so and at the same time brutally punish those for failing to believe in him on account of that? Besides, everyone is “atheistic” towards other religions. The Quran (2:89) spells out what awaits nonbelievers (you and I) in the next life and yet I doubt many Christians would lose much sleep upon knowing this. The only real difference between the atheist and the Christian is that the atheist just goes one god further.

      • tasdgs

        Maybe the Pope was referring to people who do not believe through no fault of their own. For example, how can God send someone to hell if they have never heard of the Gospel?

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