Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) is standing firm against demands from an organization to remove a cross-inspired chalk design created by her children on the grounds of the governor's mansion. Sanders, the daughter of former pastor and Arkansas politician Mike Huckabee, expressed her commitment to maintaining her Christian faith and has no intentions of concealing it.
The controversy arose on June 26 when the governor shared a photo on her Facebook page showcasing the vibrant chalk cross artwork designed by her children. Sanders expressed her pride in their hard work and the impressive outcome.
While the children's artwork received widespread admiration, some individuals, including activists from Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AU), voiced concerns over a perceived violation of the First Amendment.
In a letter to Sanders dated June 28, AU acknowledged a complaint received regarding the large depiction of a Latin cross at an entrance to the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, referencing the governor's Facebook post. AU argued that as a government building, the mansion should welcome guests regardless of their faith or beliefs.
AU contended that promoting one religion over others through a religious display at the mansion's entrance sends an impermissible message of exclusion and differential treatment toward those who do not share the favored faith.
While AU acknowledged the freedom of Sanders and her family to create religious imagery in private areas of the mansion, they emphasized that public areas, including the grounds and entrances, should not permit such displays. AU claimed that the chalk artwork violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
In response, Sanders took to Twitter to deliver a swift and resolute reply, asserting that she has no plans to remove the chalk drawing.
I have received your letter and my answer is no.
I will not erase the beautiful cross my kids drew in chalk on the driveway of the Governor's Mansion or remove my post on social media, and I will not now or ever hide that I am a Christian.
My letter⬇️ https://t.co/cdt9vJsMUk pic.twitter.com/3pdur4Fdmj— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) June 30, 2023
She tweeted, "I have received your letter and my answer is, 'No.' I will not erase the beautiful cross my kids drew in chalk on the driveway of the Governor's Mansion or remove my post on social media, and I will not now or ever hide that I am a Christian."
Sanders accompanied her tweet with a lengthier letter, expressing her belief that AU is mistaken in claiming that the U.S. Constitution prevents government officials, including their families, from expressing sincere religious faith. She went on to assert that AU's request amounts to asking her to hide her and her family's Christian identities, something she adamantly refuses to do.
Highlighting the resilience of the people in her state against what she referred to as "bullying liberals," Sanders maintained that America's founding documents extensively incorporate religious language.
She stated, "You are asking me to ignore that truth and hide a crucial part of my identity and the identity of my kids. That I will not do."
Sanders concluded her letter by reiterating that the governor's mansion welcomes people of all faiths, emphasizing the inclusivity of the residence.
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
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