Debates over the separation of church and state tend to get heated, but one Arkansas man took things to another level on Wednesday when he plowed his 2016 Dodge Dart into the Ten Commandments monument that stood in front of the Arkansas State Capitol.
At approximately 4:47 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Van Buren, Arkansas resident Michael Tate Reed drove his car into the 6,000-pound concrete statue in Little Rock, reports local CBS affiliate TVH11.
The monument had been erected less than 24 hours prior, following the passage of a measure in the state legislature allowing its placement. The lawmakers expected pushback from civil liberties organizations but surely did not expect such an act of vandalism.
During the ramming, Reed live-streamed himself on Facebook via his smartphone. In the video, he made statements regarding the division of church and state and then proclaimed, “Oh my goodness. Freedom!” as he rams his car into the statue.
تم نشره بواسطة Michael Reed في 28 يونيو، 2017
Capitol police arrested Reed at the scene just after the collision.
Believe it or not, this was not the first time that Reed has rammed his car into a Ten Commandments monument at a capitol building. In fact, Reed was booked, but ultimately not charged, in a similar incident three years ago in Oklahoma when he ran over the Ten Commandments monument in front of the capitol in Oklahoma City.
Following this previous incident, Reed was ultimately admitted to a mental hospital. Reed has made claims that Satan had told him to run over the monument, through his earthly messenger: Gwyneth Paltrow. Reed also made numerous threats towards then-President Barack Obama, and even spit on a photo of him. Reed had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In the wake of this most recent collision in Arkansas, Reed faces a number of charges, NPR reports, including trespassing, defacing an object of public respect, and criminal mischief.
Despite both this incident and the controversy surrounding the statue, NPR reports that state Senator Jason Rapert, for one, has already announced his intention to have the monument rebuilt.
Next, learn more about how and why American’s poorest states are also its most religious.