Atheists Challenge Christian Messages on Snowplows in South Dakota

For some bizarre reason, the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota thought it would be a great idea to put Christian messages on the blades of their snowplows and had students from local Christian schools paint them on there. Now they’re having to paint over them after an atheist group complained about them.

Students at Lutheran High School and Sioux Falls Lutheran School painted the plow blades for the city’s Paint the Plows program. One blade included the words “Jesus Christ” and the other “Happy Birthday Jesus.”

The Siouxland Freethinkers complained, saying religious messaging doesn’t belong on publicly owned vehicles, including snow plows.

“If I painted a plow that said, ‘There is no god,’ I think people would be very, very upset about that,” spokeswoman Amanda Novotny told the Argus Leader ( ).

Lutheran High School Principal Derek Bult said he was upset when he learned students had to redecorate the blade or it wouldn’t be used on a plow. He said the students put a lot of time and effort into their original design, and he wonders about their right to free speech.

Imagine that, a school principal who has no idea what free speech means. Those students do, of course, have every right to advocate their beliefs, but they do not have any “right” to have them painted on government property. I don’t know why this is so difficult to understand. And as usual, what is really going on here is the desire of many Christians to piss all over their property. The government is theirs, not ours, so they’re marking it.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    Jesus turned water into wine; his followers turn piss into paint.

    Clearly, we live in fallen times.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It’s a bit more complicated than that article suggests. Here’s another article, from the Argus Leader.

    City asks Christian schools to repaint plow art

    “The City provided an open opportunity for students at each school within our community, both public and private, and other youth agencies to participate in the Fifth Annual Paint the Plows program. Each school was loaned a City plow for students to choose the content and create artwork to be exhibited on the plows. Each school is recognized on their respective plow.

    So other schools were involved as well. That may constitute an “open forum.” It’s just that the Lutheran school students chose a religious message.

  • Larry Kearney

    Jesus bless our plow today

    So that it might move the snow away

    Keep our roads clear, God would say

    An unblessed plow does that any way.

  • gshelley

    Snow plows as an open forum? kind of unusual, but if that is the case, it may be this is ok.

    Of course, the Free thinkers are probably correct and if there was an anti-religious statement chosen, that would almost certainly not have been accepted.

    The other issue would probably be that this is a school – I’m pretty sure (though I could be mistaken), that a school isn’t allowed to poll its students and put up religious messages if they choose to do so, especially if these polls were not conducted in secret, which seems to be the case here – Would a student who wanted to make a “there is no god” message have even got the opportunity?

  • John Pieret

    Assuming it was an open forum, then the government has to announce it and set up fair rules to participate. If they want to go that route, then the Siouxland Freethinkers should ask to paint one or more of the plows. It could be a lot of fun … except, maybe, for the government employee who gets to drive the truck with that plow attached.

  • tsig

    Lord bless this plow and bless this snow

    And bless the hell where heathens go.

  • whheydt

    Re: gshelly @ #4….

    With regard to the school…I think there’s a clue in the school name: Lutheran High School. One rather suspects that one is a private school.

  • Deen

    He said the students put a lot of time and effort into their original design

    Just take a picture if you’re so proud of your artwork. It’s not like they were going to be permanent to begin with – I doubt the artwork would look very mint at the end of winter.

    Also, if you do a search for “paint the plows” pictures, the “Jesus” ones are generally among the least creative ones. Just saying.

  • busterggi

    Je-hezus put that snow down – how dare these phoney Christains try to undo the lord’s work!

  • gopiballava

    I can see why the principal would be annoyed. The city came, told them to paint a plow however they wanted, and then came back and said, oops. We forgot to mention that Christian messages aren’t allowed. He may not have known the full context. Or he just may have felt privileged. I wouldn’t condemn him without more info.

  • howardhershey

    Who the hell (or heaven) do these students think put the snow on the roads in the first place? When I lived in Tallahassee, we rarely got snow, but when we did, the rule was: God put it there; God can remove it. Of course, in Sioux Falls, it might take a while.