Pure Flix Entertainment, an independent Christian film and television studio, has donated $25,000 to the American History and Heritage Foundation for the rebuilding of a Ten Commandments tribute monument that was recently destroyed on Arkansas' state capitol grounds.
"We hope our donation will contribute to the costs to rebuild this beautiful landmark," said Pure Flix COO Steve Fedyski, referring to the 6-foot tall granite Ten Commandments monument that was erected on capitol grounds with private money raised by the American Heritage and History Foundation. "Little Rock — and Arkansas in general — have been very hospitable to us and we want give back to the community in a meaningful way."
Pure Flix earlier filmed in Little Rock for their "God's Not Dead" film franchises. And the company has announced that filming for "God's Not Dead 3" will begin this fall in Little Rock.
The monument was destroyed on June 27 by a man who allegedly drove into the monument while streaming a live video on social media.
The man, identified in an arrest report as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, has also been accused of destroying a Ten Commandments display in neighboring Oklahoma.
On what is believed to be his Facebook profile, Reed, 32, posted a short video of himself driving into the Ten Commandments display, shouting "Freedom!" just before impact.
"What started with a Facebook live video rant about the separation of church and state turned into an ugly scene late last week in Little Rock. Michael Tate Reed II allegedly drove his vehicle into a 10 Commandments Monument near the Arkansas Capitol, destroying it," Pure Flix noted.
The monument came not long after the passage of a 2015 bill titled "The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act," which allowed for the Decalogue display.
"The Secretary of State shall arrange for the monument to be designed, constructed, and placed on the state Capitol grounds by private entities at no expense to the state of Arkansas," read the legislation in part. "The placing of a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol would help the people of the United States and of the state of Arkansas to know the Ten Commandments as the moral foundation of the law."
Before the destruction of the monument, the ACLU of Arkansas had vowed to file a lawsuit to get the display removed.
"At a time when we do not need any more religious conflict and divisiveness in the world and in this country, it violates the First Amendment promise of religious liberty to all," said ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Rita Sklar to NPR.
"By placing a monument to a particular set of religious beliefs, it appears that the state enforces one particular set of beliefs over others and over no religion. And it makes people who fall into those categories — no religion or other religion — feel like second-class citizens in the state of Arkansas, which they are not."