Here comes the Religious Left, with hypocrisy on the Arkansas Religious Right | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Here comes the Religious Left, with hypocrisy on the Arkansas Religious Right

Posted By on Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 7:22 AM

click to enlarge RELIGION FROM THE LEFT: Wendell Griffen (in hat) talks with supporters at rally defending his ability express religious beliefs while serving as a state judge.
  • RELIGION FROM THE LEFT: Wendell Griffen (in hat) talks with supporters at rally defending his ability express religious beliefs while serving as a state judge.

The New York Times writes toda
y about increasing political activity from the liberal end of the religious spectrum and it can't come a moment too soon.

Some are calling the holy ruckus a “religious resistance.” Others, mindful that periodic attempts at a resurgence on the religious left have all failed, point to an even loftier ambition than taking on the current White House: After 40 years in which the Christian right has dominated the influence of organized religion on American politics — souring some people on religion altogether, studies show — left-leaning faith leaders are hungry to break the right’s grip on setting the nation’s moral agenda.

Frustrated by Christian conservatives’ focus on reversing liberal successes in legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage, those on the religious left want to turn instead to what they see as truly fundamental biblical imperatives — caring for the poor, welcoming strangers and protecting the earth — and maybe even change some minds about what it means to be a believer.
There's a lot of ground to cover there. But we saw a scrap of it in action yesterday in the state Capitol rally of support from religious leaders for Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. He was preemptively removed from death penalty cases by an improvident and political Arkansas Supreme Court for taking part in a demonstration against the death penalty after he'd ruled in a property rights case over a drug sold to the state of Arkansas. The manufacturer and distributor intend for the drug not to be used for executions. A lawsuit said the state had behaved dishonestly to obtain the drug for that purpose.

Griffen argues that he's being punished for a religious belief and will sue if that punishment stands. He says he tries cases fairly. Indeed no judge acts without personal beliefs in the background on virtually any issue they hear. (I've said before and repeat again that I think his removal from all death penalty cases is wildly out of bounds, but that he should face some form of reprimand for giving public cause to doubt impartiality of the court by his public actions the same day he issued a ruling that had the effect of halting executions. Another judge made the identifical ruling after Griffen was removed.)

The Arkansas Legislature, which wears a Bible on its sleeve and often proclaims the glories of values and religion, once enacted a law to prevent people from being punished for religious beliefs, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

At the rally for Griffen:

"When Pastor Griffen silently prayed while lying on a cot in solidarity with Jesus on Good Friday, he did not impose his religious beliefs on others," said Ray Higgins, the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, which is the organization that sponsored the rally. 
click to enlarge PHARISEE: Sen. Trent Garner thinks law protects his religion. Wendell Griffen's religion? Not so much.
  • PHARISEE: Sen. Trent Garner thinks law protects his religion. Wendell Griffen's religion? Not so much.
Jessi Turnure at KARK/Fox 16 laid the legislature's hypocrisy bare by getting a comment from Repiblican Sen. Trent Garner, who wants Griffen impeached for witnessing his religious belief. Doesn't that run counter to the Religious Freedom Act?


"He's trying to use his religion to justify his mistake," Garner said. "While I think RFRA was an excellent piece of legislation, there's a distinct difference between what it was meant for and what Griffen did."

"You can't use religion as an excuse for violating the code of ethics," Garner said. 
What Garner means is that the RFRA was meant to protect HIS brand of religion, not Griffen's. After all, everybody knows what the Arkansas RFRA really was meant for. It was meant to give people who want to discriminate against gay people a religious excuse to do so.







Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (25)

Showing 1-25 of 25

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 25

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

  • Criticism arises on Hutchinson appointee to dental board

    Criticism has arisen of Gov. Asa Hutchinson for not taking a Dental Association recommendation for a dental regulatory board appointment and appointing instead someone with a record of dental practice violations in the early 1990s.
  • Dear Little Rock,

    This is not a love letter, Little Rock, though we do love you. This is an intervention.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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