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Smart talk, Jan. 15

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God and man at Fountain Lake

 

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State has sent a letter to the Fountain Lake School District over what it says was the dedication of a room at the public school to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A plaque for the organization, including a cross, is mounted in the room. A local newspaper article quoted a coach as saying of the room, built with private contributions as an addition to the sports complex, “This new building will make a statement and hopefully change the lives of many for His Glory.”

The school district referred questions about the complaint to its attorney, Paul Blume, who said the school district disputes that the building was built for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also disputed that any school employee, despite the newspaper article, had ever said the building was to be used strictly for FCA activities. Blume said the room was used primarily to screen football films, but several organizations, including FCA and the Beta Club, used the room for meetings, as the law allows. He said he believed the district had not improperly advanced religion, though he said the content of the permanent FCA sign might need further review.

Americans United wants the sign removed and school officials to stop referring to the room as the “FCA room.” Said Barry Lynn, the group's director, “This is a public school, not a Sunday school.” It gave Fountain Lake 30 days to respond.

 

He said WHAT?

 

Quote of the week was in Stephens Media coverage of the coming legislative session. Said Jerry Cox, director of the Family Council, about the need to streamline adoption and foster parenting procedures:

“There must be something wrong with our system here if we've got willing parents and kids that need a home but somehow we can't make it happen,” he said.

Cox and his organization, in case you forgot, led the fight to pass Act 1, which reduced the number of potential foster and adoptive homes in Arkansas by barring them in homes where unmarried couples live.

 

The show will go on

 

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced last week that it was feeling the pinch of difficult economic times. With more than $1.6 million left to raise for a major renovation campaign, the Rep has decided to do the work in stages, beginning with roof, elevator and heat/air repairs.

This means rebuilding of the main theater and other public spaces will be delayed. That, in turn, means productions in the coming season won't have to be moved to alternate locations at Wildwood and UALR. Only one production, “The Elephant Man,” will be moved to Wildwood.

The Rep's director, Robert Hupp, said he was optimistic the fund drive would succeed and the full project be completed, but, because of the recession, it will take “a little longer” than originally planned.

 

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