September 2023 Church & State Magazine - September 2023

AU advises Ark. Gov. Huckabee to remove large chalk cross from official state residence

 

Americans United in late June asked Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) to remove a large drawing of a cross from the entrance to the governor’s official residence.

AU became aware of the drawing, which Sanders says was made by her children, after several people contacted the group and noted that Sanders was promoting it on social media accounts. 

Sanders included a photo of the cross in a tweet captioned, “New artwork to welcome people into the Governor’s mansion! So proud of how hard the kids worked and how well their masterpiece turned out!”

But AU argued that the cross was inappropriate for a government building.

“As a government building, the Governor’s Mansion exists to welcome guests regardless of faith or belief,” AU’s letter read. “Promotion of one religion over others through a religious display at an entrance to the Mansion sends the impermissible message that those who do not share the favored faith are unwelcome and will be treated differently.”

Rather than respond to the legal points raised in AU’s letter, Sanders attacked the group on social media and vowed to keep the artwork up.

“I will not now or ever hide that I am a Christian, save[d] by Christ,” Sanders said. She added, “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.”

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