Arkansas Religion

Governor Asa Hutchinson says he's concerned about possible “unintended consequences” of legislation scheduled to be discussed at a Senate committee meeting Wednesday.

The Conscience Protection Act would allow someone to cite religious beliefs in denying someone service. Gay rights groups say it would sanction discrimination.

Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday he has questions about how it would be applied.

An Arkansas House committee has rejected a proposal to require public school districts to allow students to express religious viewpoints in coursework, artwork and other assignments.

The House Education Committee on Tuesday voted down the proposal by Republican Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork. The bill would have also prohibited schools from banning religious clothing or accessories.

Harris says he wants to protect students' freedom of speech and prevent encroachments against religious expression. Opponents argued the change is unnecessary and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is siding with a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas who sued for the right to grow a short beard for religious reasons.

The court's unanimous ruling Tuesday in a case about religious liberty stands in contrast to the Hobby Lobby case that bitterly divided the justices in June over whether family-owned corporations could mount religious objections to paying for women's contraceptives under the health care overhaul.

The Supreme Court appears likely to side with an Arkansas prison inmate who says his Muslim beliefs require him to grow a half-inch beard.

The justices on Tuesday took up their first religious liberty case since the Hobby Lobby case bitterly divided them in June over whether family-owned corporations could mount religious objections to paying for women's contraceptives under the health care overhaul.

Arkansas Family Council
familycouncil.org / Arkansas Family Concil

One of the state’s largest conservative Christian advocacy groups Arkansas Family Council is pushing back against survey results reporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents experience a high level of discrimination.

Muhammed al-Muhadi at the Little Rock Islamic Center
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

NPR listeners have heard a great deal from both Israelis and Palestinians about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in Israel. KUAR is taking a look at some of the the perspectives of Little Rock's largest Islamic community and largest Jewish presence.

I spoke with Tamer Alsebai, Muhammed al-Muhadi, and Waddah Maskoun shortly after afternoon prayer at the Islamic Center of Little Rock.

Rabbi Barry Block at KUAR
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

NPR listeners have heard a great deal from both Israelis and Palestinians about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and in Israel.

KUAR is taking a look at some of the the perspectives of Little Rock's largest Islamic community and largest Jewish presence. I spoke with Rabbi Barry Block of Little Rock's only Reform Judaism congregation Temple B'nai Israel.

Check back Tuesday to hear comments from the Islamic Center of Little Rock.

Death counts in this interview have since climbed to over 1000 Palestinians and over 40 Israelis.

The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination won't relax its position on same-sex marriage and transgender identity, even as courts across the country strike down gay marriage bans and the group tries to bolster membership.

On Tuesday at their annual meeting in Baltimore, members of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing efforts by governments to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy."

A group called “Arkansan Pastors for Gun Sense” is partnering with law enforcement agencies around the state to reach out to families of victims of gun violence by delivering toys and Christmas hams  Saturday. In addition to supporting victims, the group has been pushing for legislation to strengthen background checks and other gun trafficking laws.

Six properties in Fort Smith owned by convicted evangelist Tony Alamo have been scheduled for auction next month.

The Texarkana Gazettes reports that the properties include the Alamo Ministries church building, a gym, warehouse, restaurant, restaurant parking lot and a house.

The sale is intended to raise funds to pay $15 million that Alamo was ordered to pay to each of two men after a jury found that he ordered the men beaten, starved and abused when they were children in his ministry.

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