In defiance of the First Amendment ban on government establishment of religion, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is declaring Arkansas to be a Christian state.
A huge controversy has erupted in the state over a chalk drawing of a cross made by the governor’s children.
It’s just a chalk drawing on the sidewalk, done by kids, and it’s actually well-done and pretty colored.
But needless to say, a cross has no place at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Yet Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it’s staying. And she’s one self-satisfied, cranky-bossy governor in saying so.
This, despite the fact that it’s a clear violation of the separation between church and state.
It all started with “Sarah Huck” adding a picture and Facebook note: “New artwork to welcome people into the Governor’s Mansion,” with a picture of the cross.
It would be wonderful if it were an Apple Blossom, the state flower. Let kids from different areas do an “Arkansas-appropriate drawing” to welcome people to the Governor’s Mansion.
A cross is different. (Report continues below)
Church-state watchdog asks Sanders to remove chalk crosshttps://t.co/tt5gjLkLx9
— Arkansas Times (@ArkTimes) June 29, 2023
Americans United, an advocacy group for the separation of church and state, responded.
From the Christian Post’s report:
“The post provoked a response from the secular Americans United, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. The group wrote a letter to the governor, arguing that the chalk artwork conveys an “impermissible message that those who do not share the favored faith are unwelcome and will be treated differently.”
Americans United tweeted (Report continues below):
When fighting to defend church-state separation, we must always reject Christian nationalism. Two days ago, Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted a photo of a Latin cross at the entrance of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. We sent her a letter to explain why this is a problem. 1/ pic.twitter.com/tGLSXZaZUm
— Americans United (@americansunited) June 28, 2023
Yes, well, Sarah Huckabee would not put up with that.
She wrote a letter responding to Americans United that explained there would be no separation between church and state in Arkansas.
She wasn’t going to bow to “liberals.” Her statement, as the Arkansas Times reports:
“I will not now or ever hide that I am a Christian, saved by Christ. In Arkansas, we stand up to bullying liberals. We won’t let you power-wash our kids’ chalk drawings off our front steps. We won’t let you tear down Christmas decorations and stomp our tradition into the dirt. We don’t live our lives in fear of strongly worded letters coming down from Washington.”
So there are no Jews in Arkansas? No atheists? No Muslims? How about Native American traditions?
Who the F is the bully here, Sarah Huck? This is actually pretty typical behavior for this Governor.
As an editor here said, “What if it was a swastika?” Would Huckabee “bully” the people who say it’s part of their tradition?
It should also be noted that while there are, of course, Jews, and atheists in Arkansas, there are also liberal Christians who want no overlap between church and state. Again, who is the bully?
Sarah is telling liberal Christians like me that I have no place to “fit” in Arkansas. Oh, that’s just heartbreaking.
The kids clearly have talent. And yes, chalk drawings welcoming people to the Governor’s Mansion done by kids would be a great idea.
If only someone could get the bully out of the Governor’s Mansion, the kids could set their sites on celebrating Arkansas and not the religion imposed on Arkansas by the kids with the “blessings” of the governor.
So, wash the cross off. Tell the kids they’re fantastic. And challenge them to draw “Arkansas” and let them have at it.
They will learn an important lesson while doing so. America has a Constitution, and it’s pretty clear about what the government can and cannot do.
Draw something praising the government.
I can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @JasonMiciak
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.