Target: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Goal: Uphold the separation between church and state at State Capitol building.
A monument to the Bible’s Ten Commandments is going to be built at the State Capitol of Arkansas, thanks to state legislation that was recently signed into law. This is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state. Demand that the governor put a stop to these plans at once.
The Ten Commandments is a well-known passage in the Old Testament that begins with “I AM the LORD thy God” and enumerates ten tenets people should live by, including observing holy days and not recognizing any other religions. Citing similar monuments outside the government capitols of Texas and Oklahoma, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law commanding the secretary of state to coordinate the design, building, and placement of a monument to this passage on State Capitol grounds in Little Rock.
While the law tries to preempt separation of church and state criticisms of this monument by outlining that it must be privately funded and that it “shall not be construed to mean that the State of Arkansas favors any particular religion or denomination over others,” such qualifiers are laughably transparent. Sign the petition below to demand that this monument never be built.
Dear Governor Hutchinson,
I am writing you today regarding your plans to erect a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the State Capitol. This is a shameless violation of the First Amendment and must be abandoned at once.
Just because you and other elected officials in your state who are supportive of this monument are saying that it would not represent your government’s preference for Christianity and other Abrahamic religions, that does not make it so. Memorializing one of the most important events in the Abrahamic mythology on government grounds is not a benign act. Regardless of intention, it says that the religions that sprout from it—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others—are worthy of special recognition by the American and Arkansan governments.
The First Amendment prevents the government from establishing a state religion. Erecting a monument to the Ten Commandments is tantamount to such an establishment. It’s not a difficult concept to understand. I demand that you use your powers as governor of Arkansas to immediately cancel the plans to build this monument.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kevyn via Wikimedia Commons