by Max Brantley
In certain countries that engage in religious discrimination, the beliefs and practices of religious minorities are considered blasphemous and offensive. In these countries, if a Christian were to create a representation of Jesus designed to project the concepts of mercy and forgiveness, people steeped in intolerance might misread the image to be threatening and offensive and contrary to the explicit message of the individual who created the representation.For proposed locations, the group suggest three sites within 1 to 20 feet of the Ten Commandments monument. That sounds is Sen. Jason Rapert's head exploding.
The proposed Baphomet statue is no different and should be judged on both how it actually appears and the message it was designed to convey. It should not be judged on biases that might distort interpreting and appreciating the statue .The central image we have chosen in our monument design is known as ‘Baphomet’; a goat-headed, angel-winged, androgynous creature first rendered in its most widely recognized form by occult historian Eliphas Levi in the 19th century. The name Baphomet, however, comes much earlier from during the Crusades when Muslims were demonized —derived from ‘Mahomet’, or Muhammad, prophet of Islam. For centuries, Jews were regularly accused of all of the things now attributed to an imaginary Satanist conspiracy: infant sacrifice, cannibalism, complex plots against the Common Good. During the early colonization of the US, it was commonly believed that the Native ‘Indians’ worshipped Satan. Later, black slaves were the feared Satanists, believed to be entering into pacts with the Devil as part of a supernatural plot to overthrow their oppressors. And, of course, most everybody is aware of the Puritan witch-hunts.
These unjust accusations —these savage out-group purges —are all a part of the trial and error that helped us to realize our need for a rational, secular legal system. Standards such as the accuser’s burden of proof, the presumption of innocence, a respect for material evidence, are all a result of our finding ways to subdue brute mob intolerance. Today, we are rightly offended by anti-blasphemy laws and divine fiats.Our monument will stand in honor of those unjustly accused —the slandered minority, the maligned outgroups who ultimately found a home in the United States where religions are neither opposed nor imposed —so that we might pay respect to their memory and celebrate our progress as a pluralistic nation founded on secular law. Our monument will commemorate the codificationof American Constitutional Law, the establishment of jurisprudence, and presumption of innocence