Arkansas Society
of Freethinkers

In 2008, our group voted to create a Winter Solstice Holiday Display, to counter the nativity scene on the state capital grounds.  We settled on a four sided display, each side having a different educational theme, with holiday lights and garland added to give the display a festive appearance.  We then contacted the Secretary of State’s Office (SOSO), asking that we be provided space for our exhibit, in the same area, as the annual nativity scene.

After submission of our request, and many follow-up phone calls, it became apparent that the SOSO was in stone wall mode, hoping we’d go away.  We did eventually receive a formal rejection letter, included below.  We submitted additional info to the SOSO, after receiving this letter, and asked if we could meet with those responsible for approving such displays, in order to clear up any questions they might have concerning what we had planned.  Their response was, “there’s not going to be a meeting”.  We decided it would be best to wait until 2009, to pursue this endeavor further.

In 2009, we again applied for permission to place our holiday display on the state capitol grounds, and were again denied, see rejection letter below.  The local chapter of the ACLU happened to hear about our effort to get our display on the capitol grounds, and offered to help us.  Their attorney setup a meeting between representatives of our group and those of the SOSO, hoping that we could answer any questions they had, concerning the display. 

At that meeting, which took place at the state capitol, we offered to show them photos of the display, and discuss its content, to see what concerns they might have.  Turns out, they had us show up, so they could tell us in person, that they were not going to allow us to put our display on the capitol grounds.  They refused to look at the photos, or discuss the content.

Our attorney informed them, that they could compromise on the display, or see us in court.  On Thursday, December 10, 2009, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court, by the ACLU, on behalf of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, naming Arkansas Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, as the defendant, for his refusal to allow our display on the capitol grounds. 

The case was heard on Monday, Dec 16, 2009, with Judge Susan Webber Wright, ruling in our favor.  We were to be provided with an area equal to that of the nativity scene.  Our display went up for the first time on Wednesday, December 18, 2009.

For more information on the display, and the related court case, see the links below.  If you’d like to provide financial support for this or future holiday displays, see the information provided below, on where to donate.

Our Winter Solstice Holiday Display

Donations may also be sent here Arkansas Society of Freethinkers

P.O. Box 4135

Little Rock, AR 72214

Click for
contact InfoContact_Info.html

2008 Letter to SOSO & Denial Response

2009 Letter to SOSO & Denial Response

Content of Each Side

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Assembly in 2011


Court Ruling

ACLU Press Release

Consent Judgement

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You can become a voting member of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, by using the Paypal link below, or sending a check to the address above.  Membership dues are $20 per year, per person, and $10 for students, expiring at the end of the year.  Funds raised from dues help support the endeavors of Arkansas Society of Freethinkers.  Dues paying members are eligible to vote in board elections.

Video from 2009

Membership Dues