Arkansas Religion

HRC Arkansas Director Kendra Johnson and HRC President Chad Griffin speaking at the Capitol about an ad HRC is running opposed to a so-called religious liberty law proposed in 2015.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A number of high-profile business figures are calling on Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) to veto a bill supporters describe as a "religious freedom" measure that on Friday passed the Arkansas Senate. Opponents say it allows religious belief to be used as a defense for discriminating against LGBT people in housing, employment, and both public and private accommodations and services.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out this tweet:

An Arkansas House committee has endorsed a proposal to allow a Ten Commandments monument near the state Capitol despite objections it blurs the separation between church and state. The Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs voted for the bill 11-3 on Friday.

It would allow a privately funded monument to the commandments to be built on the Capitol grounds, with its design and location to be approved by the secretary of state.

10 commandments
Wikipedia

The Arkansas Senate has voted to allow a display of the Ten Commandments near the state Capitol, with the lawmaker behind the idea calling the monument a nod to history.

The bill approved by a 27-3 vote Wednesday would allow a privately funded monument to the commandments built on the Capitol grounds, with its design and location approved by the secretary of state. The measure now heads to the House.

10 commandments
Wikipedia

A proposal to allow a privately funded monument to the Ten Commandments near the Arkansas Capitol is advancing to the state Senate for a vote.

An effort to allow a privately funded Ten Commandments monument to be built on the Arkansas state Capitol grounds has failed before a legislative panel.

A proposal to require the secretary of state to allow a private group to build a monument to commandments failed before the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Monday on a 3-3 vote. The measure needed at least five votes to advance to the full Senate.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about possible “unintended consequences” of legislation scheduled to be discussed at a Senate committee meeting Wednesday.

The Conscience Protection Act would allow someone to cite religious beliefs in denying someone service. Gay rights groups say it would sanction discrimination.

Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday he has questions about how it would be applied.

An Arkansas House committee has rejected a proposal to require public school districts to allow students to express religious viewpoints in coursework, artwork and other assignments.

The House Education Committee on Tuesday voted down the proposal by Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork. The bill would have also prohibited schools from banning religious clothing or accessories.

Harris says he wants to protect students' freedom of speech and prevent encroachments against religious expression. Opponents argued the change is unnecessary and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is siding with a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas who sued for the right to grow a short beard for religious reasons.

The court's unanimous ruling Tuesday in a case about religious liberty stands in contrast to the Hobby Lobby case that bitterly divided the justices in June over whether family-owned corporations could mount religious objections to paying for women's contraceptives under the health care overhaul.

The Supreme Court appears likely to side with an Arkansas prison inmate who says his Muslim beliefs require him to grow a half-inch beard.

The justices on Tuesday took up their first religious liberty case since the Hobby Lobby case bitterly divided them in June over whether family-owned corporations could mount religious objections to paying for women's contraceptives under the health care overhaul.

Arkansas Family Council
familycouncil.org / Arkansas Family Concil

One of the state’s largest conservative Christian advocacy groups Arkansas Family Council is pushing back against survey results reporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents experience a high level of discrimination.

Muhammed al-Muhadi at the Little Rock Islamic Center
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

NPR listeners have heard a great deal from both Israelis and Palestinians about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in Israel. KUAR is taking a look at some of the the perspectives of Little Rock's largest Islamic community and largest Jewish presence.

I spoke with Tamer Alsebai, Muhammed al-Muhadi, and Waddah Maskoun shortly after afternoon prayer at the Islamic Center of Little Rock.

Rabbi Barry Block at KUAR
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

NPR listeners have heard a great deal from both Israelis and Palestinians about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in Israel.

KUAR is taking a look at some of the the perspectives of Little Rock's largest Islamic community and largest Jewish presence. I spoke with Rabbi Barry Block of Little Rock's only Reform Judaism congregation Temple B'nai Israel.

Check back Tuesday to hear comments from the Islamic Center of Little Rock.

Death counts in this interview have since climbed to over 1000 Palestinians and over 40 Israelis.

The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination won't relax its position on same-sex marriage and transgender identity, even as courts across the country strike down gay marriage bans and the group tries to bolster membership.

On Tuesday at their annual meeting in Baltimore, members of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing efforts by governments to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy."

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Early voting starts Monday for residents of a historic North Little Rock neighborhood to consider repealing a ban on the sale of alcohol.

It has been almost half a century since residents of Park Hill voted to prohibit alcohol sales. The neighborhood is along both sides of John F. Kennedy Boulevard, between Interstate 40 and McCain Boulevard.

Former North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick, who today is president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, says the ban has kept the area from reaching its full potential.

Tippi McCullough
Malcolm Glover / KUAR

A former teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock is telling the public her story, after being fired from the private high school for marrying her female partner.

Tippi McCullough spoke to an audience of supporters and reporters Tuesday at an Arkansas event sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign; a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group.

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