From this week's Insider: Two weeks ago we reported on the efforts of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers to put up a winter solstice display on the grounds of the state Capitol. Their application was denied last year because the secretary of state's office said it was not clear on the type of display to be erected. This year, the group submitted a detailed description along with a website, complete with pictures, showing exactly what they had in mind. Their request was, once again, denied.
The reason? Tod Billings, founding member and president of ASF, isn't so sure. The letter the organization received from Charlie Daniels' office simply said their request had been denied and offered no further explanation.
“It's totally a joke,” Billings says. “That letter does not explain what is going on. If there was something offensive in it, they could have pointed that out. But we didn't attack anybody. What other conclusion could be reached other than they are just summarily saying no and free speech is just a sham? That's all there is to it.”
A spokesperson for the secretary of state said the display was not "consistent with the holiday tone" they are trying to create on the Capitol grounds.