Yet another episode of an Arkansas public official forcing her religion on the public.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation reports on its Facebook page that Craighead County Assessor Hannah Towell has reinstalled in her office a display of crosses that had been taken down following a foundation complaint in November. The display includes a Bible verse, John 3:16, and adds, “He loves. He gave. We believe. We live.”
The item says the Craighead County Quorum Court had passed a resolution supporting Towell. It said “public service employees do not forfeit their constitutional rights by working in a public office.”
Of course they don’t. She may pray to whatever Lord that guides her and believe whatever she wants to believe. But she may not use public office to promote her particular brand of religion, How hard is this to understand? Very, in Arkansas.
FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote the second letter to assessor Hannah Towell on Dec. 3 refuting the notion that the crosses are permissible as employees’ free speech.
“When the government is an employer, it surely has an interest in regulating the speech of its employees while they are acting within their government role,” she said. In addition, the “government has a greater interest in controlling what materials are posted on its property than it does in controlling the speech of the people who work for it,” Markert wrote, citing a federal appellate court decision.
“This elaborate display of multiple crosses with multiple religious messages and biblical verses certainly gives an impression of the County’s endorsement of Christianity,” said Markert. “The Quorum Court’s resolution also furthers that impression of endorsement.” The letter demands that the county remove the display immediately.
Is it another losing lawsuit with more attorney fees to be paid by tax dollars? Sounds like it.