Arkansas now has a law requiring all school districts to post “In God We Trust” in classrooms and libraries, provided the signs were donated or money was given to them for that purpose.
The problem with that law is that even its sponsor, State Rep. Jim Dotson, admitted the goal of the new law was the “acknowledgement of god in public life.” One church even donated signs specifically to exert “spiritual influence” over students.
With all that in mind, the American Atheists Legal Center sent a letter to every superintendent in the state — all 262 of them — telling them that putting up any of these signs would make them complicit in establishing religion in their schools, thereby setting themselves up for litigation. They could avoid any problems by rejecting all donations for this purpose.
As stated above, the AALC has already received numerous complaints about this new law, and we are prepared to assist these concerned parents in enforcing the constitutional rights of them and their children, through litigation if necessary. Thankfully, the violation which would occur if your school district installed the displays described in A.C.A. § 1-4-133(a)(1) can be easily avoided. Your district is not required to install these displays if it has not received any donated funds or materials earmarked for that purpose. Therefore, American Atheists urges you to reject any offer from a private individual or entity to donate materials or funds intended for use in such displays. By doing so you will be abiding by the terms of § 1-4-133 as well as upholding your school district’s constitutional obligations.
In other words, no one can donate money if you have a policy that rejects donations, so there’s a way to circumvent this law without breaking it and avoid all lawsuits in the process.
One superintendent, whose name wasn’t publicized by American Atheists, already responded to attorney Geoff Blackwell… by preaching at him from his official school email account:
Here is what I’ll do for you! I will pray for you that you believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and become saved or be burdened so bad you will repent. May God have mercy on your soul!!!
It’s just one more piece of evidence showing that these signs are about religious indoctrination, not patriotism or unity.
Good luck to the kids in this guy’s district. They’re going to need it.