Favorite

Too devious by half 

In the '50s, Arkansas state officials sought ways to oppress black schoolchildren without being caught breaking the law. Today, they look for ways to ravage religious freedom without being caught breaking the law. The option of simply doing what's right seems not to have crossed their minds in either instance.

Representatives of the state Department of Human Services argued Monday before the state Board of Education on behalf of proposed DHS rules that would excuse the state's giving public money to church schools. Some members of the board, to their credit, seemed not to be buying.

DHS should never have given taxpayers' money to schools espousing religious beliefs to which many of the taxpayers do not subscribe. The U.S. Constitution forbids the merger of church and state. But DHS subsidized church schools and got by with it until a civil liberties group threatened litigation. A simple "We're sorry, we won't do it again," would have been an appropriate response. Instead, DHS chose not to go straight but to go sneakier. The agency now has drafted rules it hopes will permit the expenditure of public funds on sectarian schools, but in such a devious way that the procedure might somehow survive a court challenge. The Board of Education, apparently not the co-conspirator that DHS hoped for, is inviting public comment on the rules. People who believe in freedom of religion should make themselves heard. The other side will certainly be heard. DHS and a couple of state legislators who operate public/church schools will see to that.

In Arkansas, most of the church schools getting public money are fundamentalist Protestant. Elsewhere, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has been the strongest opponent of the First Amendment. Prominent Baptist Mike Huckabee, a former governor turned Fox News commentator, was preaching to the choir, again, when he told a group of conservative activists:

"Thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now. Growing up a Baptist in the South, I never thought I'd see the day when I would stand in front of several thousand people and say 'We're all Catholics.' "

This ecumenical outburst was prompted mainly by the anti-abortion control movement but the words apply as well to church schools, another issue on which Baptist preachers and Catholic priests have united, at least until one of them gains sufficient advantage to close the other's schools. If this is religious tolerance, it's a sad sort.

Baptists used to champion the separation of church and state. Roger Williams never thought the day would come when Baptist preachers would speak against it.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Department Of Human Services, Mike Huckabee

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Pay attention

    • Adawson's comments attribute the plight of black people in the United States to the War…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • Heather Wilson, blacks have NOT been prevented from pursuing the skilled trades as a result…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Gee, so you were there when Jesus spoke - how old you must be. First-person…

    • on July 22, 2017
 

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