The Democrat-Gazette today wrote about a topic, I’ve been trying to ignore. That is Sen. Trent Garner’s latest publicity stunt, a “sermon protection” law that copies demagoguery pioneered in Texas.

The Texas Tribune explains how the law to prevent subpoena of church sermons evolved in Texas, from a legal action taken when right-wing preachers were fighting a non-discrimination ordinance in Houston, later overturned by voters.

Garner wants to introduce the same law in Arkansas in 2019. Is it needed? No. Has anyone ever attempted to obtain a sermon on Arkansas for a civil lawsuit (though they are readily available on-line at the kinds of megachurches most likely to lead anti-gay-rights campaigns.) No.

What’s it about? That’s simple. It’s about discriminating against gay people. Garner, at least, readily admits it in the Democrat-Gazette article today, unlike Rep. Bob Ballinger and Sen. Bart Hester. They, with the advocacy of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, are fighting against being made to testify about the reason behind their bill banning local civil rights ordinances. Again, the reason for that law is well-known: Protecting legal discrimination against gay people.

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Garner indicates his sermon protection bill is intended for the possibility that the U.S. Constitution DOES prevent the state from protecting gay discrimination in cities such as Fayetteville that prefer to treat all citizens equally.


Garner said the legislation would protect clergy who preach against homosexuality in the event their local leaders ban discrimination against lesbians, gays and transgender people.

The First Amendment already protects the preachers of hate and discrimination. Fayetteville isn’t trying to restrict preaching. It is trying to prevent employment, housing and public services discrimination against LGBT people. Make no mistake: Such discrimination is what Garner wants to protect more than a brush arbor preacher’s latest fulmination. Garner, Ballinger and Hester also have a state law to protect that, too, claiming religion as a pretext for discrimination. Because everyone knows the Bible says “do unto others…” unless they are gay. Then you may persecute.

Trent Garner, an acolyte and employee of Sen. Tom Cotton: Worst Arkansas legislature? That’s a fierce competition. Meanest? He’s up there. But careful. He IS armed.

(These guys give you a good idea why the courts will have to fix the state’s discriminatory birth certificate law to comply with U.S. Supreme Court law on same-sex couples. The legislature won’t do it. People like Garner, Ballinger and Hester put their bias (masquerading as Christian religion) above the U.S. Constitution.)