State representatives being forced to follow the state's laws

Back in November I wrote a bit on a state representative from Arkansas named Justin Harris.  Justin owns a private preschool named “Growing God’s Kingdom Preschool”.  I know you’re going to be shocked, but Growing God’s Kingdom Preschool is awash with Christian indoctrination.  Legally, that’s not a problem, until you start receiving state funding.  Harris’ school received $534,600 in state funding over two years.

That’s illegal.  No question.  Of course, the man employed to have a working knowledge of the state’s laws (and supposedly a religious obligation to not bear false witness) plead ignorance.

I pointed out in that piece that…

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is drafting a letter to the Department of Human Services about two schools similar to Harris’ owned by state Sen. Johnny Key…

Johnny Key owns a similar school in my hometown of Mountain Home, Arkansas.  Fast forward to today.

The Arkansas Education Board has opened for public comment a proposed rule on allowing extracurricular teaching of religion in preschools. The rule was prompted by a national organization questioning the use of tax funds to operate preschools in Mountain Home and West Fork that are owned and operated by two legislators and their wives.

The proposal before the board this week was written by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The rule would ban teaching of religion during the seven-hour school day of preschools that receive government funding.

This is superfluous since it’s just reiterating the federal law.  You can teach religion in a private preschool.  But that’s not the issue.  The issue is whether or not you can receive government money if that’s what you’re doing, and the answer is as obvious as the sun: NO!

Glad the state of Arkansas is taking steps to keep its Republican state representatives from breaking the state’s laws and taking the state’s money to spread religion to preschoolers.  Sadly, as we saw in Cranston (and with state rep Peter Palumbo), the law is often of little to no consequence when people are acting in the interest of the lord.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … a proposed rule on allowing extracurricular teaching of religion …

    Sounds to me like they’re opening a back door for preschool preachery, not closing one.

    • JT Eberhard

      Yeah, that’s a little confusing. This is what lead me to believe they’re just reinforcing the federal law:

      The rule would ban teaching of religion during the seven-hour school day of preschools that receive government funding.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        Yabbut that still leaves a raft of questions:

        Are teachers paid, or do they suffer any penalties for not “volunteering” to proselytize? Do teachers or managers coordinate lesson plans for the different programs?

        Are these sessions offered to parents as a feature of the subsidized childcare program? Do non-enrollees get to participate?

        Who pays for the overhead and incidental expenses – utilities, insurance, clean-up – arising from the extra hours of service at each facility? Etc…

        I smell a pack of rats.

  • Kevin

    One wonders how they handle science classes in such places.

    Big Bang? Biology (aka, evolution)?

    Ethics? Civics? US history?

    What’s on the English class reading lists? Is it all CS Lewis?

    I guess the world needs McDonald’s fry cooks and Wal-Mart stock clerks. And in Arkansas, hog farmers and “honey dippers”. (Hint: I’m not talking about honey).

    I mourn for the lost brains of the really smart kids, though.

  • Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

    …and move the proselytizing to the “after school” daycare part of the program?

    • Rrr

      Like, you mean, burger flippin’? Oh, that’s AFTER graduation is it? Could’a fooled me, raw meat in raw heat. Who needs more chicken in Arkansas anyway.

  • Greg Bullard

    I wrote the board a letter, and sent it to not only the main communications line, but each board member. If you live in Arkansas, and would like to do the same, I’ll make it super easy for you.,,,,,,,,