Friday, October 24, 2014

Schools' Religious-Themed Snow Plow Decorations Rejected By City

For the last 5 years, the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota has sponsored a "Paint the Plows" program.  Each participating public or private school is loaned a city snow plow and students use their artistic abilities to decorate the large plow blade.  Yesterday's Sioux Falls Argus Leader, however, reported that this year the designs painted on plow blades by two Lutheran schools brought complaints from a board member of the Siouxland Freethinkers. High school students painted their blade red and inscribed it in large white letters with the words "Jesus Christ."  The elementary and middle school painted its plow blade with the words "Happy birthday Jesus."  (Similar religious expressions were used last year without complaint.) After receiving this year's complaints, the city talked with the schools about creating a different design. At least the high school has decided to just let the city paint over the plow blade.

UPDATE: The Oct. 28 Argus Leader reports that Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether says that the city will not paint over the religious themed snow plow blades unless a court case says that it must, while city attorney David Pfeifle is taking a more nuanced approach, saying: "Our goal is to not paint them over, And we're exploring every option."