Billy Fleming

Shifting center

August 2, 2018
The endless debate about whether the Democratic Party will shift left or tack center overlooks a much more important dynamic: a shift in who occupies the center of the Party. /more/

Jay Barth

Term limits on steroids

August 2, 2018
Are the most rigid legislative term limits in the country about to destabilize the Arkansas General Assembly and disrupt the balance of power across all of state government? /more/

Autumn Tolbert

Breaking a bond

August 9, 2018
I will get right to the point: It is becoming way too easy to lock people up. Our jails and prisons are overcrowded. Our criminal justice system is bursting at the seams. /more/

Max Brantley

People vs. corporations

August 9, 2018
Signature counting and legal challenges aren't done, but the November ballot is shaping up as a rich opportunity to side with your choice of people or corporations. /more/

Ernest Dumas

The real Q plot?

August 9, 2018
Could "they" be right that President Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are not really at war but are secret collaborators who have a grand plot that will end with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in striped prison suits and Trump as the national savior? /more/

Guest Writer

Rapert's posture

August 9, 2018
We must not allow state Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) to frame the lawsuits generated against his placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds as an assault upon Christianity itself — or, as he does when he's pretending that the monument serves a secular function, an assault upon American "heritage and history." /more/

Gene Lyons

Trump won't testify

August 9, 2018
Spare us the interviews with Rudy Giuliani and the endless debates among cable TV lawyers about the terms and conditions of Donald Trump's testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller. /more/

Soccer as life

August 2, 2018
I suppose that if Ireland had played in the recent World Cup, I'd have cheered them on. As a child, I was taught to be Irish before American, although nobody saw those as conflicting identities. /more/

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Slideshows

  • Remember "chick tracts?" They were a staple of my childhood growing up as an evangelical Christian in Hempstead County. My brothers and cousins and I handed them out at the bowling alley and left them in bathroom stalls in hopes of seeing new faces in the pews – rows of folding metal chairs in our case – on Sunday. We got a lot of weird looks.

    For those of you out of the loop, chick tracts are tiny black and white comic strips typically showing a downtrodden protagonist's path towards salvation. Evangelical fan fiction.

    In a perfect example of how nationally embarrassing our state legislature can be, we recently received an unprompted shipment of faux chick tracts put together by Satanic San Francisco entitled "Constitutional Rites." Produced by Black Mass Appeal and illustrated by Tabitha Slander, the tracts were part of a Kickstarter campaign that earned over $3,000 with 122 backers. They're for sale in the Black Mass Appeal shop.

    From their website:
    In “Constitutional Rites,” evangelical politician Jason Stanley wants to put a monument to the Ten Commandments at the state capitol. Can some friendly local Satanists teach him about the value of separating church and state instead?
    We've scanned, cropped, and slideshow-ified the first few pages. A statement from the tract's creators:
    Although we're not residents of Arkansas, we feel the precedents being set by the conflict around the Ten Commandments monument in Little Rock are important for every American in every state.

    "In Constitutional Rites," we state that we believe everyone should subscribe to whatever personal religious beliefs they feel are best suited for them, but public grounds and government institutions must avoid explicit expression of favoritism for any one religion over others, so that we can all feel confident that elected officials will safeguard everyone's rights fairly and equally.

    A local group called Friends of the Satanic Temple Arkansas plans to distribute dozens of tracts ahead of the Satanic Temple's August 16 rally.

    As the tract's disclaimer points out, Satanic SF is not an official chapter of the Satanic Temple, and for that matter neither is Friends of TST Arkansas. But "Constitutional Rites" is in part an expression of our sincere opinion that the Temple is correct in its allegation that state legislators are playing fast and loose with the rules in an ongoing campaign to promote one religion in particular for personal reasons.
    I thought it'd be a good opportunity to take the time to digitize this as Rapert is having a fit on Twitter over a recent Times column by Lucien Greaves, the spokesman and co-founder of The Satanic Temple.

 

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