They are going to use a disclaimer. Sorry, but this won’t hold up in court. Huether give it up.

Here is a copy of the letter the attorney from Freedom From Religion Foundation sent to the city attorney: Freedomfromreligion

As you can see, he states several cases that show this is unconstitutional.


A little inspirational reading for the mayor (click to enlarge):




Heck, with a snowplow like this, the snow would melt at impact!

As any intelligent person that understands the US Constitution and 1st Amendment, and Jon Arneson would know, you can see where this is headed;

Arneson believes having those painting on city property puts the City into a corner where, by law, it would be seen as an endorsement of religion. He says U.S. Supreme Court rulings dealing with religion and government over the past 30 years support that.


I guess we are supposed to hear a resolution today from the city, I suspect if we don’t hear one by the weekend, that the city decided to quietly paint over the plow blades. We will see. I did notice it is already circulating the national news that our Mayor is Constitutionally inept. There was a blurb about it in the USA Today.



25 Thoughts on “UPDATE: Compromise on Snowplows?

  1. anominous on October 30, 2014 at 10:59 am said:

    Looks like valuable advertising space.

  2. I’ll say it again, the City should sell those plows to the Schools for $1. Problem solved. I bet if we ask real nice they would let us borrow them on the next blizzard.

    I still say big effin’ whoop. Maybe the atheist from Brookings could explain to the class why he’s so offended by their images, but I’m guessing he can’t be within 500 yards of a school.

    BTW, L3wis..didn’t you just copy an existing image and manipulate it to make your point? Good for the goose eh?

  3. A reader sent me this, wasn’t my idea.

  4. hornguy on October 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm said:

    I swear to God, only in South Dakota would a city government respond to this idiocy by dropping a couple grand on disclaimer signs because they’re too proud/stupid to just own that they screwed up.

    I used to work in Madison (Wisconsin, not South Dakota) and got a kick out of the assorted motley of displays in the State Capitol at Christmas as the result of Freedom From Religion Foundation litigation. I hope that FFRF gets involved in this case. They’ll make the Freethinkers look like Huether’s best friend.

  5. Can’t wait for a giant chunk of ice to catch the sign and send it hurling into the windshield. Who will we blame? Jesus or the Freethinkers?

  6. The staff at these Christian Schools should have known better than to let the class do these paintings. But then on the other hand, exactly what is the purpose of having anything painted on the blades, as a distraction to oncoming motorists? Are all the schools in town so low on art supplies that the city has to furnish city owned equipment to be decorated?

  7. This is just pure stupidity on all sides, but especially with Grandmaster Mike’s theatrics to get future conservative votes when he runs for Governor. I really wish one of those kids had painted a Muslim symbol so we could REALLY see the hypocrisy on both sides.

  8. My Mistake Mike on October 31, 2014 at 6:35 am said:

    Someone should attach a disclaimer to MMM.

  9. “Someone should attach a disclaimer to MMM.”

    Do they make signs that big?

  10. Don Coyote on October 31, 2014 at 9:26 am said:

    Oh joy! Quotes taken from their historical context and used as a fallacious presentist argument.

    Historical accuracy of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli is greatly suspect since the Arabic version does not include it. Also other treaties with the various Barbary States don’t include that wording and in some, such as the Treaty of Morocco, contain references to Christianity and Christian nations ie United states.

    The Franklin quote comes from a letter to Ezra Stiles and contains this gem, not surprising since he was raised a Quaker: “I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.”

    The Jefferson quote is from a letter to Alexander Humboldt and is essentially an anti-Catholic rant about Mexico and it’s “ignorant”, “bigotted” and “hateful” peoples. Interesting though, Jefferson later in the letter expresses a hope to meet with Humboldt in the “Elsyian fields fifty years hence” to catch up on news of the American Experiment.

    In Madison’s letter to Edward Livingston we also have Madison offering up a defence of his issuance of religious proclamations and days of fasts and thanksgiving.

    And even in Thomas Paine’s “Age of Reason” we see a belief in an afterlife and a God: “… it is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even the prudent man, that would live as if there were no God.”

  11. Don – Yet not a single one of them mention ‘Jesus’. To say you believe in God doesn’t make you a Christian. I believe in God, and don’t consider myself Christian. Out of context is right.

  12. Don Coyote on October 31, 2014 at 11:13 am said:

    Neither do either of Jefferson’s or Madison’s quotes/letters while Franklin is only questioning the divinity of Jesus which would be typical of a Dissenter (Quakers, Unitarians, non-Trinitarians). Yet you use those quotes in your “Bad History” lesson. You yet again you move the goalposts just as you did in defining “copying” art.

    Ironically in the Madison quote, which is most relevant to the snowplow kerfuffle, we find Madison resigned to the hiring of a Congressional chaplain with public money and ends by calling it de minimis (too trivial or minor to merit consideration).

    He also admits that his issuance of government proclamations of fasts and thanksgivings followed his predecessor’s tradition and recognized the right of Government “to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship.”

    This is what the Framers of the Constitution believed verged as being on the cusp of Establishment, not the act of painting the word “Jesus” on some silly plow blade.

  13. anominous on October 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm said:

    OMG! OMG! OMG!

    These 2 Argus paragraphs:

    […”Mayor Mike Huether said Thursday that his mother probably would cringe to see a Supreme Court case on the matter entitled “United States versus Huether,” though he conceded there’s a chance that could happen.

    “As (Pfeifle) mentioned, this is a hot topic, and there are hot cases all across America,” the mayor said. “What America needs to realize is that in Sioux Falls and in South Dakota, we prefer utilizing compromise and common ground and common sense versus the court system to resolve issues that we have.” …]

    Lol! That is some debt collector’s newspeak right there. Love it!

    Oooh! And the delicious, condescending, quasi-Daugaardian patronizing, “we”. Bravo!

  14. Don, thanks for the long response, but this is really simple, you can’t promote a certain religion on government property. That’s it. I think too many people are reading more into this.

    As Anom brings up. The mayor says he compromised. Who did he compromise with? He never called and asked the freethinkers if they would be satisfied with the disclaimers, he just did it. That’s not a ‘compromise’. It’s kind of like when he says the public can ‘engage’ their council, then tells the council not to respond to the public.

    Reminds me of the ‘compromise’ he had with the SON neighborhood. Let’s turn the tables, the MAJORITY of the neighborhood did not want a Super Center in their neighborhood, but were fine with a Marketplace, but WM and the city made NO compromise. So if the mayor thinks that ‘majority’ rules in the snowplow issue, then the SON neighborhood should be able to say they don’t want a WM. But once again the CC salesman is a hypocrite, as usual.

  15. compromiser in chief on October 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm said:

    I notice the great compromiser did not include anyone else in the compromise. How can a compromise work if only one party is creating it.

  16. teatime on October 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm said:

    Let’s see — a letter with 12 windy wordy paragraphs that all say the same thing. Some of the 21,000 “members” are in SD — how many? The letter says people will see this “all winter” — is it going to snow every day? The Lutheran school kids are rejoicing at how much attention their messages are getting, much more than if SFFT had just turned their burning eyes.

    This program has been going on for 5 years? I read the paper and local news religiously (no pun intended) and missed this entirely. I’ve never seen a decorated snow plow, since they mostly come at night and the blades are covered with snow. Again, what is the purpose of this project?

    As I stated before, the time and money spent on this is wasteful. Paint someone’s house that needs help, spend time with someone lonely, speak directly to someone who needs Christ or complain about religion to someone who wants your opinion. Putting pictures on a plow is a pointless activity meant only for entertainment and perhaps some artistic expression that few will see — big deal. I hope this is the last time for this event.

  17. Don Coyote on November 1, 2014 at 12:11 am said:

    “…but this is really simple, you can’t promote a certain religion on government property.”

    But you can and the SCOTUS has ruled as such. In a 6-3 decision in County of Allegheny vs ACLU, the court held that an 18 foot menorah in front of the Pittsburgh County-City Building was of a “secular nature”. According to the Humpty Dumpty logic of the SCOTUS, the religious icon of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is now secular. Really?

    So using the logic put forth by the SCOTUS, it would be permissible to paint menorahs on city plow blades but not the word JESUS. Go figure.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” – “Through the Looking Glass”

  18. It’s a war on snow plows! Call Fox News!

  19. SDkid605 on November 1, 2014 at 10:49 am said:

    If it says “IN GOD WE TRUST” on any of the money in your wallet you can send it to me since it offends you, Freakthinkers.

  20. SF Resident on November 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm said:

    Message for the Mayor:


    Settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions

  21. SDKid, mentioning a universal God is perfectly fine, for instance if the kids painted “God is great” with no biblical verse, that is okay, because it doesn’t promote a religion.

  22. It seems odd to me that someone in a position of authority in the city didn’t see this coming, especially in view of the frequency that the church/state issue comes up. Or maybe they did it to bring on a controversy, knowing that someone would call them out. The religious people are willing to push the envelope so to speak, as if they want to keep the issue on the front burner. I smell politics in this.

  23. So what does MMM want to sneak through while the medi and the public are wasting their time focused on this idiocy?

  24. “God is great” with no biblical verse, that is okay, because it doesn’t promote a religion.

    You gotta be fucking joking with that line. The “Freethinkers” would object to God and you would have ate it up as well. The “Freethinkers” don’t believe in a god or any god you moron.

    Grow a spine and stop talking out both side of your mouth on this issue.

  25. I’m not saying whether the SLFT agree or disagree, I’m just saying it would probably hold up in court because just using the general term ‘God’ doesn’t promote a specific religion. When this first came up, I didn’t think Eric should have complained about it (until after the snow season was over) I thought and knew, Huether would politicize the shit out the issue, as he has. If they would have complained AFTER the paint wore off (showing photos) then an actual compromise could have been made to change the guidelines for next year. So I think both parties in the matter have screwed up

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