Legislator: State-paid Bible classes sent to attorney general | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 18, 2011

Legislator: State-paid Bible classes sent to attorney general

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 6:49 AM

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Growing Gods Kingdom through Christian education.
  • YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Growing God's Kingdom through Christian education.

It sounds like the Department of Human Services has sent another hot potato to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. Given his anticipated run for governor in 2014, I'm not at all easy about how this could turn out.

State Rep. Justin Harris, who gets around $850,000 a year almost $1 million a year in public money to operate his Growing God's Kingdom preschool in West Fork, said on his Facebook account last night:

Update on teaching Christ at our preschool. It has been sent over to the Attorney General's Office for a legal opinion. Not sure what the opinion can be, seeing that there are no regulation in Arkansas about teaching Jesus in private schools that receive some funding from the state. More to come, I have a feeling this could be a long drawn out process.

There is no doubt that the publicly funded school teaches a Bible class and otherwise infuses everything from bulletin boards to parent handbooks with Christian teaching. A private school has EVERY right to do that. A school operated with public money does not. The controlling law in the 8th Circuit, which includes Arkansas, is Americans United for Separation of Church and State (which has complained about Arkansas's tax support for Harris' Bible instruction) and the Prison Fellowship Ministries in Iowa. There, as here, religious instruction can "reasonably be attributed" to public dollars and the entanglement of religion in a state-financed service is extensive.

Harris argue parents can go elsewhere. Or the kids can go sit in a corner or something while Bible classes are underway. Should Harris prevail in his state-supported Bible classes, I'd encourage every religious school in Arkansas to troop down to DHS for a handout. I don't think that's the Constitutional or American way. But the times are a-changing, aren't they?

I can't remind enough how DHS has fallen down on the job in this matter by failing for years to comply with the clear dictates of state law that require regular inspections to be sure state money isn't being used for sectarian purposes, as Harris does.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Bipartisan deal to continue subsidies Trump ended. But ...

    Everyone's reporting that Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have struck a bipartisan deal on to continue federal subsidies for health coverage that Donald Trump cut off.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    The open line, plus the day's news roundup.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • James Lee Witt corrects Trump on grade for Puerto Rico relief effort

    Donald Trump twice yesterday used James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's widely hailed FEMA director and now in the private business of assisting in disasters, as a reference on the work he's done responding to hurricanes this year. Media, particularly on the conservative end, have echoed the Trump remarks.But hold on: Witt wasn't talking about Puerto Rico.
    • Oct 17, 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

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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