An Arkansas town went ahead with a planned “40 Days of Prayer” event in October despite a warning from Americans United.
It was the second year that officials in El Dorado, a city of about 18,500 residents, sponsored the problematic religious campaign. According to the El Dorado News-Times, in 2015 planning meetings for the event were held at city hall, and daily prayer topics were posted to the city and police department Facebook pages.
The Universal Society of Hinduism has failed to persuade the Arkansas secretary of state to permit a statue of a Hindu god, Lord Hanuman, at the state Capitol.
The group’s president, Rajan Zed, filed the request after the state legislature voted to erect a statue of the Ten Commandments on Capitol grounds.
Legislators in Arkansas voted earlier this year to erect the Ten Commandments at the state capitol in Little Rock. This would seem to be a clear example of government showing favoritism to a religious code. But for now, other faiths shouldn’t assume they’ll get the same treatment.
Let’s say you know of a state lawmaker who used taxpayer money to promote religion at a pre-school he owns. Imagine that he also legally adopted two children, then allegedly “re-homed” them with a man who was later accused of abusing one of those children. Would such an individual deserve an award for “courage”? The Religious Right seems to think so.
Three Arkansas counties have refused to drop ordinances that ban anti-gay discrimination, despite a new state law designed to block them from enforcing the laws. The Associated Press (AP) reports that Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pulaski County are keeping the ordinances; a fourth municipality, Eureka Springs, has not yet reached a decision.
The Tea Party and other far-right groups speak often of their love for the Constitution. But for all their talk about America’s foundational document, many of these zealots understand our laws about as well as an average kindergartner. That is why it’s always a pleasure when a political leader rejects these stilted views.
Legislators in Indiana have proposed a fix to their controversial “religious freedom” bill (RFRA), and it’s certainly a step forward for LGBT rights. The amendment, which still awaits approval from Governor Mike Pence, would prevent small businesses from using the RFRA to discriminate in many ways.