Church and state in Hot Springs | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Church and state in Hot Springs

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I wish the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record wasn't behind a pay wall because the ongoing coverage of the religion-flavored fight for control of Hot Springs government plays out almost daily in its pages. The Hot Springs taliban is the name some have given to the pushy new political order in the resort city.

Back in the news today is the effort by district court judges Ralph Ohm and David Switzer to steer criminal defendants with drug and alcohol problems into rehab. It just so happens that five of the seven rehab programs called into a meeting with the judges about "partnerships" with the court are faith-based. It just so happens that some past defendants believe they've detected a preference in the courts for faith-based programs (Leslie Peacock wrote colorfully about the revival-meeting style court sessions there) and claim to have been offered the choice of jail time when they objected. The judges say they have no religious preferences and Ohm said the push for "partnerships" was "not about being faith-based." He said, "It's about people who have a heart to help hurting people."

The proof will be in practice, of course, and you can't argue with the judges' view that there are a range of issues, including domestic abuse, with deeper mental issues that could benefit from counseling rather than jail time.

Overlaying all this is the push by Tea Partyers (who, in Hot Springs, seem to largely come from the Religious Right end of the spectrum) for a new rehab facility. On top of suspicions about exactly what type of rehab facility the 'baggers have in mind and who'd profit from it, is what normally is a bedrock TP interest — tax dollars.

A letter to the editor in the paper today put it squarely. Wrote R.L. Worley: "Can anyone really trust this tea party group when they say it is so much cheaper to put nonviolent criminals (who break our laws) into a rehab than in jail?"

Facilities, counselors, drugs, nurses and such cost money. Also, a lot of people don't like "coddling" criminals with rehab rather than jail. Gov. Mike Beebe successfully overcame this sentiment with his penal reform legislation, but I don't think we've seen the end of this debate by a long shot as the changes move forward. Addicts relapse. They turn to old habits — burglary is a favorite — to support them. The victims won't find the arguments for rehab over prison particularly persuasive in the heat of the criminal moment.

Worley observed that the Tea Party won a lot of races in Hot Springs because of double-dipping and "good ol' boy" entrenched officials. He warns that the Tea Partyers might get a taste of the same if it overreaches with new spending on pet projects. "No one likes bullies," he wrote. The only hot water in the Spa might not be spring-fed.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
  • Arkansas-linked Charlottesville marcher identified, apologizes to those misidentified

    A man who says he's a former University of Arkansas student now living in New England has identified himself as the person wearing an "Arkansas Engineering" T-shirt in the Friday white supremacist march in Fayetteville. He apologized for involving UA in the story and to the professor misidentified as being the person wearing the shirt.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • "Trump And Sessions Unmask Historical Links Between The Drug War And White Supremacy. Sessions has…

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • "Its Not Just Trump, Federal Law Enforcement Is Not Very Focused On Far-Right Extremism. Fewer…

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • "'Looming danger' in Missouri: Why the NAACP says the state is dangerous Here's what's behind…

    • on August 20, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation