Listen to Ken Yang on Conduit News Radio

Family Council’s Director of Governmental Affairs Ken Yang was on Conduit News Radio with Paul Harrell this week to discuss atheist groups bullying Arkansans.

You can listen to the discussion below.

You can tune in to Conduit News Radio online weekdays from 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM, and you can hear different members of the Family Council team discuss conservative issues on the program every Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM.

Wisconsin Atheists Bully Arkansas School District

KFSM News reports that Pea Ridge Public Schools have suspended public prayer at school board meetings and ballgames following a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Attorneys from the atheist group reportedly sent a letter to school officials claiming that the practice was unconstitutional.

However, federal courts have upheld public prayer repeatedly — especially at public meetings.

In 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that praying before city council meetings did not violate the Establishment Clause.

Courts have not been as favorable toward public prayer over loudspeakers at ballgames, but they have generally agreed that public school students and faculty do not lose their First Amendments freedoms by walking onto school property.

This isn’t the first time the Freedom From Religion Foundation has tried to bully Arkansas’ schools and officials.

This year the Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully bullied schools in Greenwood School District to stop promoting events like “See You at the Pole.”

The group also persuaded the Springdale public school to remove a cross that reportedly was displayed in the lunchroom at Linda Childers Knapp Elementary School.

In 2017 they threatened the Harrison Public School District over its policy of opening meetings with prayer. The school district ultimately decided to keep praying.

In 2017 the group demanded that Governor Hutchinson stop sharing Bible verses on his Facebook page.

In 2016 the Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to bully the City of El Dorado over its “40 Days of Prayer” campaign.

That same year the group went after Washington County election officials for using churches as polling places.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has complained about the fact that that Arkansas’ public school students can study the Bible academically — even though it is one of the oldest texts in existence and has had a profound influence on human history.

In 2015 the group complained about public prayer at ballgames in Ashdown.

The group also threatened to sue law enforcement in Arkansas over the words “In God We Trust” being displayed on police cruisers.

In 2015 they claimed they wanted to put an anti-religion monument on the Arkansas Capitol Grounds — an idle threat that went nowhere.

In 2014 the group targeted a pizza place in Searcy that offered Sunday discounts to people who brought church bulletins into the restaurant.

They also complained about ASU football players wearing crosses to honor a deceased teammate.

It’s worth noting that across the board, groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation threaten lawsuits; oftentimes if people stand their ground, no lawsuit is ever filed.

DOJ Defends Christian School in Court

Last week the U.S. Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in a court case over a Christian school in Maryland.

In 2018 the Maryland State Department of Education denied a scholarship to students at Bethel Christian Academy and demanded that the Christian school repay the state $102,600 it had previously received in scholarship funding — all because the school believes marriage ought to be the union of one man to one woman and “that God immutably bestows gender upon each person at birth as male or female to reflect His image.”

The state accused the school of discrimination simply because it holds a biblical view of marriage and biological sex.

The school filed a federal lawsuit against the state as a result.

On Tuesday the DOJ filed a Statement of Interest in the case as well, explaining that the Maryland State Department of Education discriminated against Bethel Christian Academy.

While the case is far from over, it’s good to see the federal government standing up for religious liberty and protecting schools like Bethel Christian Academy from state censorship.

You can read more about the school’s lawsuit here.