No forced mixing 

Some rather horrifying proposals for Arkansas government have been made this election year — restore slavery, execute disobedient children — and one of the scariest is that to merge a public, tax-supported institution, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, with a church-owned institution, St. Vincent Infirmary. If this plot comes to fruition, the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom will be placed in the intensive care unit of the new St. Uams, not to come out except feet first.

Would there be crucifixes on the walls of St. Uams, as there are at St. Vincent? Most likely. If the bishops can secure a foothold in a public hospital and research center, they'll be emboldened, and they've never believed in separation of church and state anyway. Not allowing them to hang crosses even in the rooms of patients of a different faith, or no faith at all, would be declared an infringement of the bishops' religious freedom, and their religious freedom, they explain, is very important. Yours, not so much.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy is furious over the Obama administration's effort to allow contraceptive insurance coverage for all Americans, even those who work for Catholic employers. Attacks from the pulpit on President Obama and the Democratic Party are numerous and intense. An Illinois bishop tells his congregation they'll likely burn in hell if they vote Democratic; an Arkansas bishop says that "right to life" and "religious liberty" are the most important issues in the election, and it's understood by all that religious liberty in this case means liberty to impose one's own religious beliefs on others.

A level-headed federal judge in Missouri, upholding the contraceptive-coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act, wrote recently that federal law designed to protect the religious liberty of individuals "is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one's religion forbids, or forbids action one's religion requires; it is not a means to force one's religious practices upon others." She went on to say that employers who disagree with the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act "remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives." The law protects individuals, not sects; discouragement is permitted, denial is not.

Not all Catholics take the bishops' orders, thank goodness. One Catholic layman, more tolerant and more perceptive than his clergy, responded to their electioneering this way: "We don't want our church to inherit the legacy of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, telling people how to vote." He knows that if government rolls over for the Pope, Pat Robertson and the Falwellians will demand a cut too — and get it in a state like Arkansas. We might see a merger of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. They're a ways apart, but distance learning is the latest thing in higher education.

No good comes from the mixing of religion and government. Much evil does. See the Middle East for details.


Speaking of University Of Arkansas For Medical Sciences, St. Vincent Infirmary


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3

    Voices on the left and right are lifted against Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment to send tax money to private business and corporate lobbyists.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.
  • The end is near

    Practically speaking, it doesn't really matter if Donald Trump accepts the results of the November election.
  • The politics of opportunity

    Are you sick of the election yet? One thing that seems certain is that our politics remain as hyperpartisan and dysfunctional as ever. I may be naive, but I think Arkansas has an opportunity to help lead the country back toward pragmatic progress on the issues that will make our families and communities stronger.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The big loser

    • Investigator, you are none of those things, but simply a serial ranter. At this you…

    • on October 26, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • If they really wanted to knockout the Clinton's, they would have done so with guilty…

    • on October 26, 2016
  • Re: Trumped in Arkansas

    • What a funny article, I hope sarcasm was your intent! First, since this was written…

    • on October 23, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation