Ten Commandments monument bill clears House committee | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ten Commandments monument bill clears House committee

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 10:51 AM

click to enlarge REP. KIM HAMMER: Ten Commandments monument does not express preference of Christianity over other forms of religion. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • REP. KIM HAMMER: Ten Commandments monument does not express preference of Christianity over other forms of religion.

A bill which would allow for the installation of a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol cleared the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs this morning. It now goes to a vote before the full House. 

Senate Bill 939 would allow private funds to pay for the creation and installation of a monument bearing the old testament Ten Commandments. The bill states that in the event of a constitutional challenge, the Attorney General's office may present a legal defense or ask that a defense be prepared by Liberty Legal Institute, a Texas-based law firm.

SB939 was presented by Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton), who said that the bill was "patterned after what was done in a few other states," including Oklahoma, where Hammer said a Ten Commandments monument has withstood the scrutiny of state and federal courts. A fund would be set up for citizens to donate toward the monument if the bill becomes law

Anne Orsi, an attorney from Little Rock was one of several people who spoke against the bill, saying that the bill should not become law. Orsi said that the bill's contention that American law is based in any way on the Ten Commandments is incorrect. "This simply isn't true, either from a legal history standpoint or a practical standpoint." American law, Orsi said, is mostly based on English Common Law. Orsi noted what should have been patently obvious to everybody in the room: that several of the Ten Commandments refer specifically about the deity of a particular religion, and therefore the installation of a monument to them on public grounds would be a violation of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. 

"The first four [commandments] are about worshipping the Abrahamic God," Orsi said. "That's picking one God out of many and that's establishing religion. We should not do that. It's unconstitutional, according to the First Amendment, the first of our Bill of Rights." 

Given that one of the Ten Commandments likely coming soon to public property near you is Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness, the following exchange between Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) and Hammer during Hammer's closing for the bill must be noted: 

WALKER: "Rep. Hammer, does the bill have a tendency to prefer Christianity over other forms of religion that do not recognize the Ten Commandments in the state of Arkansas?"

HAMMER: "First of all, I'd like to note that I'm not the one that has initiated the conversation that this bill is being presented on the basis of supporting one religion over the other. Mine is supported from simply the fact that it's of historical value, and we want to give representation and placement to a piece of history that has been around, probably, even before the country started. So in regards to answer your question: no."  

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (28)

Showing 1-28 of 28

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-28 of 28

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • For lovers

    We put our usual cynicism and grousing on hold as we genuflect in the direction of Aphrodite, with highly questionable sex and relationship advice from our staff, much sounder advice from an honest-to-God sex therapist and entertainment editor Stephanie Smittle's survey of two of the state's finer rubber schlong and porno emporiums.
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • Desperation and doubt on display as Ark. State Medical Board considers rules to help curb over-prescription of opioids.

    At a meeting of the Arkansas State Medical Board this morning, board members heard from doctors, patients and state leaders on proposed rules changes for physicians, designed to help curb the state's opioid epidemic.
    • Feb 1, 2018
  • Rutledge: AG's office will investigate drug makers over opioid addiction in Arkansas

    Citing what she called "staggering statistics," including Arkansas's #2 ranking for overall opioid prescriptions, and top ranking in the number of teens abusing prescription painkillers, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announce today that her office will investigate the corporate manufacturers of opioid drugs, bringing on extra help from private firms, with an eye toward potential litigation or prosecutions.
    • Jan 24, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation