Americans United has urged Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) to stop posting Bible verses to his official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“The government of the state of Arkansas exists to represent all the state’s citizens, regardless of faith or belief,” AU attorneys wrote to Hutchinson Jan. 5. “Having the governor routinely promote Christianity on an official social-media page flouts that responsibility and shows contempt for all citizens who do not follow the State’s favored religion.”
AU sent the letter after receiving complaints about the posts from state residents.
Hutchinson’s spokeswoman, Shealyn Sowers, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the governor would respond to Americans United but in the meantime had no plans to stop the postings.
The Democrat-Gazette editorialized on the matter, accusing Americans United of overreacting. In response, Jim McCollum, former president of AU’s Arkansas Chapter, replied in a letter to the editor, “We stand between the Constitution and any public official who would abuse government power to impose a personal religion on the people. There is both value and honor in defending the principle. We are proud to defend the First Amendment. I suspect that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editors would be less cavalier were the principle of a free press trampled on weekly by the governor.”