Arkansas Religion

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge has agreed to merge two lawsuits by opponents of Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument that seek to have the display removed from the state Capitol grounds.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the request to consolidate the lawsuits challenging the privately funded display. A 2015 law required the state to allow its construction.

The monument was reinstalled in April after the original version was destroyed by a man who crashed his car into it.

Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder of First United Methodist Church calls for compassion for migrant families during Wednesday's press conference.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Midway through a press conference with the Arkansas leaders of several religious denominations who were calling for an end to separating children from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico, David Cook’s phone vibrated. The legislative director for Faith Voices Arkansas read a news bulletin that said President Donald Trump had reversed his position on families caught crossing into the U.S.

Cook then stepped to the podium to share the news.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The man accused of destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas state Capitol has been acquitted of a felony charge by a judge who cited evidence of a mental disease or defect.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said Thursday that Michael Tate Reed must report to the state hospital in Little Rock for additional evaluations that could lead to his release.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol are suing to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government.

Separate lawsuits were filed in federal court Wednesday challenging the display, which was installed on the Capitol grounds last month. A 2015 law required the state to allow the privately funded monument.

The monument was reinstalled last month after the original version was destroyed last year by a man who crashed his car into the display.

Former state Senator Jim Argue
Karen Tricot Steward / KUAR News

Jim Argue, a former state lawmaker and president of the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, died on Thursday at the age of 66, succumbing to a brief battle with kidney cancer. Argue played a major role in shaping education laws and building up the Methodist Foundation’s assets.

The long-time Little Rock resident served in the Arkansas Legislature from 1991 to 2008. He served in the House from 1991 through 1996. He then moved to the upper chamber, which included time as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Tony Alamo
KATV, Channel 7 News

The author of a new book about apocalyptic evangelist Tony Alamo is speaking Saturday at the Arkansas Literary Festival. Alamo, who operated compounds in Arkansas, died in federal prison in 2017 at the age of 82. He was convicted in 2009 of sexually abusing girls he considered his wives, one as young as nine.

Debby Schriver's book Whispering in the Daylight: The Children of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries and Their Journey to Freedom was released earlier this month. She spoke with KUAR about Alamo, which you can listen to above.

State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) standing presiding over the unveiling of the state Capitol's new 10 Commandments monument.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A new Ten Commandments monument has been installed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. It comes nearly a year after an identical monument was destroyed. 

Last June, a mentally ill man deliberately drove his car into the 6,000-pound granite tablet less than 24 hours after it was erected. Michael T. Reed II had destroyed a similar monument in Oklahoma back in 2014.

State Senator Jason Rapert shepherded the authorization of the Arkansas monument in 2015. Today, he presided at the unveiling of its replacement.

Ten Commandments
Max Brantley / Arkansas Times

A Ten Commandments monument will be installed outside Arkansas' Capitol next week, months after the original display was destroyed.

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office said it expects the new display to be installed on the morning of April 26.

The original display that was installed outside Capitol last June was destroyed less than 24 hours later. The man accused of driving his car into it apologized in 2015 for also destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside Oklahoma's Capitol.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

A legislative subcommittee on Wednesday recommended including the change in a budget bill for the state treasurer's office. The proposal now heads to the Joint Budget Committee.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new Ten Commandments monument will likely be placed at the Arkansas State Capitol in April. It’s a replacement for one destroyed last June, less than 24 hours after it was unveiled, by a driver who intentionally crashed his car into it.

Chris Powell, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, says they’ve decided to wait until after the legislature wraps up the fiscal session, then a special session, so that the grounds won’t be as busy and heavy equipment can be brought in.

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