A cheery billboard message boldly proclaiming “The Good News Is . . . THERE IS NO HELL” has gone up in the heart of northwest Arkansas and will be up until the end of May.
The digital board is north of Elm Springs Road, behind the Walmart Supercenter in Springdale, visible from Interstate 49 on a highly trafficked corridor. The display is generously underwritten by Chris Sweeny, an Arkansas member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation who says “he has fallen in love with this area of Arkansas, but would like to see a greater separation between church and state.” He adds, “We look to raise awareness and bring attention to this issue.”
FFRF is a nationwide organization composed of more than 36,000 nonreligious Americans that also works diligently as a state/church watchdog. Its team of attorneys typically end more than 200 entanglements between religion and government every year, and the organization sues over First Amendment infractions. In addition, FFRF educates the public about the views of individuals like Sweeny who are personally free from religion, now comprising 29 percent of the U.S. adult population.
“We’re delighted to bring our good news to Walmart country,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who became an atheist in his mid-30s and is the author of many books, including Godless. “Our members agree with the Lennon song, ‘Imagine.’ There is no hell below us, above us only sky. Life is its own reward.”