Fox 16 says some people in Bradley County are upset because County Judge Klay McKinney has issued a letter saying a Nativity scene won’t be erected at the county courthouse this year.
The judge said the ACLU had served notice of an objection and he had also been advised of the loss of a suit against a similar display in Baxter County, a case that cost $70,000 in legal fee payment to the prevailing ACLU.
McKinney’s letter said it was in the county’s best interest not to put the scene on the courthouse lawn, but he indicated it would be erected elsewhere.
Good decision, judge. Already, politicians are making hay, including one particularly dishonest Republican legislative candidate. To wit:
Our #religiousliberty is under attack! It is absurd that local govts & officials are threatened w/ litigation from liberal organizations posing as “defenders of rights” while attacking the religious liberty of those w/ which they disagree. #arpx #arleg https://t.co/eZR5V5ziFz
— Ben Gilmore (@lbengilmore) November 27, 2019
How best to describe this assertion?
I have it! Bullshit.
Ben and everyone else is free to worship as they choose and celebrate the beliefs of their religions or non-religions as they choose. What they are not free to do under the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of RIGHTS and its repeated interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court is to use the government to advance a particular religion.
What is under attack by demagogues like Gilmore is YOUR ability to be free from their imposing THEIR religion on you with use of government resources. They have been successful in many ways. It is legal in Arkansas to discriminate against LGBT people; to encourage segregation of the races; to limit medical practice and services based on religious belief and, though this is rapidly eroding, limit ingestion of substances alcoholic and herbal.
Religious freedom IS under attack. Including by the Ben Gilmores of the world who believe government should advance their beliefs and their beliefs only. A state religion, if you will. Thank God or whatever you might call her for the ACLU.
PS: Ben Gilmore could take a page from the Freethinkers display at the Capitol, product of another successful lawsuit against state religionists, and come up with a panoply of symbols for Bradley County including a creche — a solstice observance, a menorah, a Festivus pole and items from Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and other beliefs. Somehow …..