On Tuesday morning, following two years of legal challenges and intense debate, a six-foot tall monument to the Ten Commandments was erected on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol building, according to CNN.
The monument had been authorized by legislation passed in 2015, and was deemed to not be in violation of the First Amendment’s “establishment clause” due to a 2005 Supreme Court decision regarding a similar monument in Texas on state grounds that was allowed to remain.
Yet, the monument didn’t even last one day before it was destroyed in an act of criminal vandalism as a man drove his vehicle into it in early Wednesday morning, breaking it into several pieces, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“Some idiot in my home state broke all 10 commandments at the same time. He wasn’t Moses and it wasn’t Mt. Sinai,” tweeted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister who often references his religious beliefs humorously.
Some idiot in my home state broke all 10 commandments at the same time. He wasn’t Moses and it wasn’t Mt. Sinai. https://t.co/r8hXrJ32JZ
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 28, 2017
A police officer at the scene witnessed the incident take place and immediately placed a man identified as 32-year-old Michael Tate Reed under arrest.
Reed now faces charges of “defacing objects of public respect, trespassing on Capitol grounds and first-degree criminal mischief,” and is being held without bail pending an initial court hearing, the Democrat-Gazette reported. He is believed to have livestreamed his destructive attack on the monument via Facebook.
Cleanup on the broken monument was immediately undertaken by a construction crew Wednesday morning, and state Sen. Jason Rapert, a Republican who led the charge to erect the monument and helped raise $26,000 in private donations to pay for it, announced that a replacement monument had already been ordered.
This actually wasn’t the first time that Reed had destroyed a monument to the Ten Commandments, as he was accused of doing the exact same thing to a similar monument at the Oklahoma state Capitol in 2014, according to the Tulsa World.
That monument — which had also been privately funded — was ultimately taken down after atheists and the ACLU mounted legal challenges and won in state court.
It was determined at that time that Reed had suffered a psychotic breakdown and he avoided punishment by agreeing to undergo treatment for a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. He had been in and out of various mental facilities over the intervening years.
Though the man professed himself to be a born-again Christian and it is obvious that he suffered from mental issues, none of that really excuses his actions, which can only be described as an attack on Christianity.
As for Huckabee’s tweet referencing Moses destroying the first set of the Ten Commandments that he had received from God, that was just some good ol’ southern Baptist preacher humor, and an attempt to bring some light to a rather dark moment in the state.
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