Atheist group plans appearance Monday night at Bentonville School Board meeting

By Talk Business & Politics staff

A national civil liberties group that advocates the separation of church and state plans to attend the Bentonville School District’s board of education meeting Monday (Aug. 20).

Nick Fish, national program director of the New Jersey-based nonprofit American Atheists, says the group wants to donate about 1,000 posters to the Bentonville School District at Monday night’s meeting. The posters include both the current national motto, “In God We Trust,” and the original de facto motto of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum,” accompanied by a brief explanation of the changes made to the national motto in 1956.

The donation is in response to Act 911, a state law passed last year that allows K-12 schools to display a picture or poster of the national motto above an American flag in classrooms and libraries. Funding for the posters must come from private organizations or charitable contributions to local school boards.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, passed in the Arkansas House 78-1 and in the Senate 20-2. Dotson presented about 900 framed copies of posters to the school board in February.

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