David Harrison Dyer | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

David Harrison Dyer 
Member since Dec 20, 2011


Semi-retired Presbyterian minister, currently serving as interim in Searcy, Arkansas.

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    One need look no further than our magnificent farmer’s markets to experience just how fruitful the Arkansas food scene has become. Fresh ideas and exciting new flavors are making weekly appearances at these venues. One of Little Rock’s latest arrivals is the husband and wife team behind Geek Eats.
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Re: “Clergy oppose another piece of gay discrimination legislation

I want to be clear that I am not the author of the Presbytery of Arkansas Resolution, just the messenger happy to pass along the decision of the presbytery. I take no credit, but do rejoice.

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Posted by David Harrison Dyer on 02/22/2015 at 10:19 PM

Re: “Clergy oppose another piece of gay discrimination legislation

The Presbytery of Arkansas in its 128th Stated Meeting on Saturday passed a Resolution asking the Governor to veto this bill.

Thus:

Whereas Jesus instructs his disciples to 'love your neighbor as yourself'; and,

Whereas the Presbytery of Arkansas respects the dignity of every human being; and,

Whereas the Presbytery of Arkansas has previously voiced its opposition to the destruction or denial of civil rights based on any prejudice, whether it be based on race, religion, nationality, country of origin, gender or sexuality, and

Whereas we believe religion must never be invoked so as to cloak discrimination;


BE IT RESOLVED

that the Presbytery of Arkansas, at its 128th Stated Meeting, declares its opposition to Arkansas House Bill 1228, allowing discrimination based on religious conviction, particularly intended to target gay, lesbian, and transgender people as well as others; and against Senate Bill 202, barring localities from passing anti-discrimination laws. We ask the Governor to use his power to veto this legislation.



Rationale:

As Presbyterians we live by the truth that “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” But HB 1228, the so called “Conscience Protection Act”, however well-intentioned, protects not freedom of conscience (already enshrined in the constitutions of the United States and the state of Arkansas) but license to violate laws duly enacted for the common good. HB 1228 erodes public safety: it would, for example, create a defense of “sincerely held religious belief” to violations of domestic violence laws, endangering vulnerable spouses and children.

HB 1228 also encourages discrimination: doctors, nurses and emergency personnel could refuse to provide care and services, citing “sincerely held religious belief.” This bill is so broadly drafted that landlords, merchants, owners of public accommodations – indeed anyone could discriminate against anyone whose situation in life remains unprotected by current civil rights legislation. In short, HB 1228 jeopardizes the very fabric of our free and open American society.

Likewise SB202 seeks to prevent local governments from extending greater protection against discrimination than allowed by the state of Arkansas. Clearly the intent is to preclude communities from enacting measures like those recently passed in Fayetteville and Eureka Springs protecting the LGBT community, as well as similar measures being contemplated in Little Rock.

As Christians we know the dangers of encroaching theocracy and the historic damage of individuals acting against the common good in the name of "sincerely held religious belief". We must not legally empower dangerous rhetoric into action so that some religiously minded individuals might feel justified in their treatment of homosexuals and others who differ from themselves.

Our own history reminds us of the dangers of discrimination shrouded in religious conviction. In the 1950's and 1960's Arkansas Presbyterians stood against the winds of the age and opposed the unholy alliance of politics and theology that was Jim Crow.

King George III called the revolution fought to preserve the rights and dignity of every person a "Presbyterian war." Our heritage calls us, and our faith demands of us nothing less today.

16 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Harrison Dyer on 02/22/2015 at 4:34 PM
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