Arkansas Police Chief Defies Atheist Demands to Remove Cross From Department Property

Clark ssSEARCY, Ark. — An Arkansas police chief is defying atheist demands to remove a cross from the lawn of the police department.

Searcy Police Chief Jeremy Clark told reporters this week that the cross was planted in the ground before he took office a year ago, and that he has no intentions of removing it. He stated that the cross is just outside of his private office and that no one sees it there.

“Someone put it there. I didn’t put it there, [and] I don’t know who did,” Clark told local television station KARK-TV. “I wasn’t going to remove it just because this organization in another state told us that we should.”

“The only person that sees that cross everyday is me, unless someone is purposely trying to look for it,” he added to The Daily Citizen. “You can see these crosses in yards all over the community we serve. I don’t for one-second think a wooden cross staked into the ground is offensive to the majority of the people that we serve.”

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had contacted Clark last year to request that the cross be removed. The organization states that its letter was sparked by a complaint from a “concerned local resident and taxpayer.”

“It is our information that there is a white cross in front of the Searcy Police Station near one of the public entrances,” the letter from FFRF read. “We understand that these crosses were made and handed out by a local Methodist church.”

The crosses are said to be seeing throughout the town in various locations, but FFRF says that having the cross near the police station signifies a government endorsement of religion.

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“It’s such a simple remedy,” Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor told KARK. “All they have to do is remove the cross, and if the police chief is partial to it, he can put it on his own lawn.”

But area residents are siding with Clark in stating that the cross should not be removed just because FFRF says so.

“I think the Wisconsin folks ought to tend to their business, and we’ll tend to ours,” one woman told reporters.

“Thank you, Chief Clark. Our community has the right to post the symbol. A great majority of citizens in Searcy and the county are Christian,” another stated. “If the person who wrote the ‘complaint’ is so ‘offended,’ please print their name. [The] chief and other city leaders are named, why not the complainant? Our community has the right to know who they are. Or even if there really was a complaint.”

FFRF says that it will continue to fight against the cross despite Clark’s refusal to remove it from outside his office.

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  • Gayle N.

    There are no atheists only Fools. Psalms 14.1. Psalms 53.1

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      That was not very helpful – or nice – or accurate.

      Of course, we could play dueling Bible verses, like:

      “but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Mt 5:22


      1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

  • Mark

    Let’s get this straight; Christians do NOT sacrifice their religious freedom to appease a small minority of religious bigts, period, plain and simple and that’s that.

  • C.P. Steinmetz

    Let’s get this straight; Christians in government office do sacrifice their religious freedom to follow the law of the land, period, plain and simple and that’s that.

    • Sid Perkin

      No they don’t! No matter how much others may want them to, they stand up for their beliefs. If others don’t like it then they should show some compromise instead of wanting only Christians to do so. Compromise is a two way street and means BOTH sides have to participate!

      • C.P. Steinmetz

        Why should others compromise when the Sheriff is violating the law?

        And the law of the land is that government shall not be entangled with religion.

        • Sid Perkin

          Oh, what law is being broken? I don’t think that there IS any law that says that you can’t have a religious symbol anywhere. There are lots of people who want there to be, but there is definitely no law that says that. The government can’t interfere in or endorse a religion, but it can’t descriminate against one either and pandering to the atheist agenda is to discriminate against religion, which the government is not supposed to do.

          I have never understood why atheists are so offended by something they don’t beieve exists. If Christians are offended by something we don’t beieve in we are told to just get over it. So why can’t they?

          • C.P. Steinmetz

            I think Dan answered your question well about law being broken.

            Of course the government can discriminate against a religion. Recent news will show you that believers in a religion which does not believe in medical care – but praying instead – will be imprisoned for child neglect and abuse, and get serious prison time.

            Let me try to give you a different point of view. You state: “I have never understood why atheists are so offended by something they don’t beieve exists.” It isn’t the religious belief that offends, it is the believers. And believers violating the Constitution as interpreted by the courts is offensive. [That’s not to say that believers behavior itself isn’t offensive.]

      • Dan

        What about those who are Non-Christian? What about thier rights of representation? A Police Department that is endorsing one faith over another is not representing all the citizens, an is purposely discriminating against non-christian.

        No government body can give preference to one faith over another. Look at the mess that Oklahoma is in with the courthouse and the 10 Commandments Monumnet…now either they have to get rid of it or allow the Church of Satan to donate a monumnet of thier own. They made a law to allow the donation of religious monuments since no public money was going to spent on them…and now they are in a pickle. Suck when a nother religion wants the same treatment as christianity and the Christians try calling foul.

        • Sid Perkin

          Is the Police Department endorsing anything, I thought they were just ignoring it? Is that endorsement?

    • Mark

      NOT A CHANCE!!!

  • Mac

    Let’s get this straight; I AM a Christian in government office and I don’t sacrifice my religious freedom as the law of the land says “freedom OF religion”, not “freedom from religion” , period, plain and simple and that’s that.

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      As a Christian government worker, you have the right to believe any way you wish. You do not have the right to practice your religious beliefs in a way that violates the law.

      It is actually quite simple – law of the land trumps religious practice. So, “freedom OF religion”, not “freedom from religion” is not the issue. The issue is government entanglement with religion.

      • Mark

        No state/local law trumps the United States Consitution. Either the U.S is a Constitutional Republic or we are not, which is it?

  • T.A. Bright

    Let’s get this straight; Christians anywhere do not have to sacrifice their religious freedom to follow the law of the land. God’s law is higher and if people don’t like it, they can do whatever they want about it. If a Christian gets persecuted for following Jesus, that’s to be expected, so it says in Scripture. Christians are not to get violent, hate or bow down to anyone (except bowing to God). So, if atheists don’t like it do what you want. A Christian will turn their back to be struck if one cheek isn’t enough for an atheist.

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      “Christians anywhere do not have to sacrifice their religious freedom to follow the law of the land. God’s law is higher and if people don’t like it, they can do whatever they want about it.”

      You do if you live in this country. Your views are correct if you live in a theocracy, as is the case in Muslim countries, but not here.

      In this country, the Constitution, as interpreted by the courts, is the highest law of the land.

      • Sid Perkin

        So what court made a law denying government official right of belief? I don’t think I ever heard of a LAW saying that.

  • Sir Tainly

    “Let’s get this straight”!?

    Enough already guys, please.

    I thought for a minute that this article had something to do with homosexuality.

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      “To me personally the only function of philosophy is to teach us to take life more lightly and gayly than the average businessman does, for no businessman who does not retire at fifty, if he can, is in my eyes a philosopher.”
      ―Lin Yutang

      • Sir Tainly

        It seems that Lin Yutang was a very influential author….interesting especially as I had never heard of him before.

        Here is one of my faves:
        “Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”
        -George Carlin

  • Allen B

    I don’t get it. Our country
    was founded on GOD! If people would stick to their belief and not try to shove theirs on other people, our country would be better off. If the Cross offends them so much, there are planes leaving our Great nation every day. SEE Ya!

    • C.P. Steinmetz

      Ah, yes; America, love it or leave it. I was curious decades ago who the ‘our’ was, and who appointed ‘our’ the custodian of the country.

      First, and foremost, this country was not founded on your Christian god. See the Treaty of Tripoli – 1797, where it says:
      “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,”. Also, where is the mention of your Christian god in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution?

      Second, this statement is the peak of irony: “If people would stick to their belief and not try to shove theirs on other people, our country would be better off.” That is exactly what the non-believers want.

  • jennifer boomer

    I am a Searcy resident….We need prayers for the individuals who rushing to the Emergency Rooms in the hospital that are suffering from the “small wooden cross” syndrome…….What’s so devastating is they are taking up bed space for real people who are suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, cancer, child and spouse abuse etc. All I have to is….REALLY? FFR there are so many other things in life you should worry about. Visit a prison sometime, a homeless shelter, a batter womens shelter as these are proof what a Godless society does.