Arkansas State Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission appears to be still waiting for submission from Ten Commandments monument proponents before considering submitted requests for other monuments/memorial/banner in Arkansas State Capitol premises in Little Rock.
Responding to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s request for more information to Secretary of State Mark Martin, who is Commission Chairman; Chief Deputy Secretary of State Kelly Boyd wrote: No call for the Commission to meet is anticipated prior to receipt of what is considered to be all of the submissions. To state it more directly, we currently have legislation, but no submission by proponents for construction of a Ten Commandments monument. Since legislation is in place instructing us to comply with such a request, we naturally anticipate such a request and will await its submission prior to issuing any call.
Boyd, in this letter to Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, listed submissions in hand for consideration as: a memorial for the Arkansas Military Veteran’s Hall of Fame; a monument request from the Universal Society of Hinduism; a monument request from the Satanic Temple; a monument request by the Freedom from Religion Foundation; a request for a banner to hang from the front of the Capitol Building by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; and, a request for construction of a monument commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Replying to Zed’s query—How long the Commission can keep a monument request pending without making a decision? Is there any time limit?—Boyd replied: …there is no time limit. The last successful application to place a monument on the State Capitol Grounds required approximately 18 years to come to fruition, a period stretching over the administration of Secretaries of State Priest, Daniels, and Martin.
Hindus have sent a formal request to Martin for “permission to erect a privately funded statue of Lord Hanuman in Arkansas State Capitol grounds in Little Rock”, to be constructed, designed and paid for by private funds at no expense to the state. “If permitted, we plan to make it big and weather-proof. Lord Hanuman is greatly revered and worshipped in Hinduism”, Rajan Zed added in the request.
Meanwhile, in a remarkable interfaith gesture, religious leaders of diverse traditions—Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, etc.—have supported the request of Hindus to erect a statue of Hindu deity Hanuman in Arkansas Capitol grounds.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson reportedly signed into law a bill on April eight, 2015; allowing a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas Capitol grounds.
The Arkansas State Capitol, constructed between 1899 and 1915 on the site of the old state penitentiary using prison labor, already has multiple monuments on its grounds. Lonely Planet describes Arkansas as “America’s overlooked treasure” and “nature lover’s Shangri La”; and Walmart is headquartered here.