Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Conway takes positive step
I couldn't be more proud of the six Conway City Council members who voted for the city ordinance extending anti-discrimination protections to city of Conway employees. After sitting through the public hearing portion and rising to speak in favor of the ordinance, I continue to be struck by the amount of sheer ignorance and intolerance of so many in that courthouse, including council members Mark Ledbetter and Mary Smith. Those in opposition to the ordinance are simply devoid of any logical argument against extending these protections to the LGBT community.
After reflecting on the public hearing on the matter, I would like to respond to the sometimes incoherent, fallacy-filled rhetoric of those opposed. Time and time again, the opponents presented their side using four completely unfounded and, in some cases, scientifically disproven fallacies.
The idea that the city of Conway should not extend anti-discrimination protections because of religious reasons has no place in governmental policies. Those who say that it should be a factor cannot seem to realize that the very idea of the separation of church and state serves to protect their views as much as those who have other beliefs. Propagating policy based on religious beliefs is a dangerous and delusional endeavor. Christ said nothing about homosexuality, but He did say to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
I am continually baffled to see those using Christ as their reason to oppose viewing people who are different as less than human or deserving of fewer rights. This ideology flies in the face of Christ's teachings. To call yourself a Christian and then oppose offering equal protection from discrimination to the LGBT community is the epitome of hypocrisy. By opposing this ordinance on religious grounds, you are saying that Christ Himself would believe that it is fair to fire someone based on the fact that they are gay. If you believe that to be true, you need to consider adopting a non-Christian religious philosophy, because only a twisted rationale can reconcile such a ridiculous idea that we all know Jesus Himself would disavow.
Regarding those who hold on to the belief that homosexuality is a choice, I imagine no amount of scientific evidence will be able to change your mind. The only question I have for that false assumption is to ask, "When did you choose to be straight?" It seems to me that making the conscious choice to be gay or straight should be a celebrated day in life — like a Jewish boy's bar mitzvah. There should be gifts, cake and the big reveal for the audience of the sexual path you have "chosen" to undertake. The simple fact is that homosexuality is not a choice. I can point to countless studies by reputable organizations like the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence, and the American Journal of Sociology that provide significant evidence that no "choice" is ever made to be straight or gay.
The "slippery-slope" fallacy is a staple of those with little evidence to support their assertions. I heard numerous opponents state that this is "opening a door" to further problems (I'm not sure what door or how). This ordinance will lead to "lawsuits" that could bankrupt our city, an assertion made by the incomparable and incompetent Sen. Jason Rapert. This ordinance will even lead to naked gay men in a public bathroom! This type of logical fallacy is a tactic used by the weaponless, a form of fear-mongering in a desperate attempt to scare people into supporting a morally reprehensible and ultimately untenable position.
One citizen took umbrage to my assertion that this ordinance is not a slippery slope by bringing up a previous ordinance regarding the sale of alcohol. He asserts that the people of Conway were told that the licensing of alcohol sales to certain restaurants wasn't a slippery slope and that "now, there are bars in Conway!" Oh no! Remember that time when the sale of alcohol plummeted Conway into a deep economic recession? Remember that time when alcohol killed hundreds of Conway residents? Remember that time when alcohol led to prostitution and the dramatic increase in robbery? Me neither. Scare tactics are used when that is all they have. Let's just stop with the hyperbole and view this ordinance for what it really is — the acceptance of the LGBT community as members of humanity.
This is a minute step toward the type of statement that the LGBT community really needs. This is but a drop of water to a raging river. Those that oppose LGBT rights are indeed afraid, for they see the writing on the wall. This country is rightly heading to the just decision that all men and women are created equal. And as such, they deserve the respect of the citizens with whom they share their lives. As American citizens, they deserve equal protection under the law. Regardless of the opposition's deeply held convictions or beliefs, I have faith that true virtue will triumph over those misguided souls who cling to the idea that their citizenship is somehow more valuable than another's.
Jim Harris Conway
The Arkansas legislature seems to be off to a great start in fulfilling its regressive agenda. Anti-equal rights, anti-vaccination, anti-fluoridation, anti-education, anti-minimum wage and pro-guns. Why, it even wants to arm university and college faculty and staff while the good Sen. Rapert wants to drop a tactical nuke in Syria. It all would be amusing if it weren't so serious. God help us.
Israel gets a pass
Notice the White Elephant in the room? Notice the Emperor has no clothes as he addresses Congress? Notice he does not explain why it is OK for Israel to have dozens or hundreds of nuclear weapons but not OK for Iran to have any — even 10 years from now? Notice the media does not explain anything about Israel's nukes? And why the asymmetry? Why?
Robert Johnston Little Rock
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