We’ve all heard of serial killers, serial monogamists, and the podcast Serial, but have you ever heard of a serial destroyer of Ten Commandments monuments? Michael Tate Reed is accused of driving his car into a brand new monument of the Ten Commandments that had been installed on the Arkansas Capitol grounds. But that’s not all — this is the second time he’s been accused of destroying a religious monument on state property. Reed also destroyed a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma.
Reed was arrested for the Arkansas incident by Little Rock police and hit with several different charges, including defacing objects of public respect, trespassing on Capitol grounds and first-degree criminal mischief. It’s a pretty clear-cut case, as police witnessed him ramming his 2016 Dodge Dart into the granite statue. Reed also live streamed his protest, explaining that though he is a Christian, he believes firmly in the separation of church and state.
“I’m a firm believer that part of salvation is that we not only have faith in Jesus Christ but we obey the commands of God, and that we confess Jesus as Lord,” Reed said in his stream. “But one thing I do not support is the violation of our Constitutional right to have the freedom that’s guaranteed to us, that guarantees us the separation of church and state.”
That sounds cogent enough, but Reed might have been experiencing a mental health crisis at the time. When he wrecked the Oklahoma monument, he was taken for a psychiatric evaluation rather than to jail, and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. The rare condition can include symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and manic episodes. Reed said of the Oklahoma incident, “I am so sorry that this all happening and wished I could take it all back.”
The Little Rock statue was paid for by private donors, and cost about $26,000. The lawmaker who pushed for its installation, Republican Senator Jason Rapert, had been working since 2015 to bring the project to fruition. He condemned Reed’s “act of violence” and seemed determined to get a new monument back up as soon as possible. While Rapert is working on that, hopefully Reed will get the treatment and care he needs.
(Via Arkansas Online)