LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas moved a step closer this week to having a Ten Commandments monument on state Capitol grounds with a private foundation’s filing of an application for permission to donate a monument for display.
The American History and Heritage Foundation filed the application Monday with the secretary of state’s office. The application states that the proposed monument would be made of granite and weight about 6,000 pounds.
“This monument … will represent an important part of our state and national history and heritage,” the group said in its application.
The monument would consist of an upright tablet 6 feet, 4 inches tall, 3 feet, 8 inches wide and 8 inches thick resting on a granite base 4 feet tall, 8 inches long, 1 foot, 2 inches wide and 6 inches thick, according to the application.
The text of the Ten Commandments would be carved into the tablet, along with the words, “Presented to the people of Arkansas by the American History and Heritage Foundation.”
The foundation said Wilbert Memorials of Tulsa, Okla., would secure the tablet to the base, which would be prepared by NBMC General Contractors of Greenbrier.
The application includes suggested sites on the south side of the Capitol for the monument.
Act 1231 of 2015, sponsored by state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, in February calls for the installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds if the project can be funded at no cost to the state. A GoFundMe account launched by Rapert had raised over $26,000 for the project as of Tuesday.
Chris Powell, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said Tuesday the office is reviewing the application. The Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission has not yet set a date to consider the application, he said.
Since Act 1231 became law, the Satanic Temple, the Universal Society of Hinduism, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have sought approval to install displays at the Capitol, arguing that the state cannot discriminate in favor of a Ten Commandments display and against other displays.
The Arkansas Humanist Association has called the proposed Ten Commandments monument “a blatant attempt to promote religion and a clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”
Rapert has said the monument will “recognize the Ten Commandments as the moral foundation of law in the United States of America.”