The following is a press release from Family Council Action Committee.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On Tuesday, Family Council Action Committee unveiled a three-prong strategy for passing Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment.
Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “Religious freedom is on the ballot in Arkansas this year. We are calling on voters to support Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment. This is a good measure that the state legislature placed on the ballot. It affirms the free exercise of religion and ensures that state and local governments won’t burden your religious liberties.”
Cox said Issue 3 is necessary to prevent the further erosion of religious freedom. “If you don’t believe religious freedom is under assault, just try exercising it sometime. Over the past thirty years, the free exercise of religion has become a second class right. People of faith have been forced to spend their time and resources in court defending their right to live out their deeply-held convictions. Arkansas’ constitution doesn’t even protect the free exercise of religion. At best, it protects general rights of conscience and belief. Issue 3 affirms and protects the free exercise of religion in Arkansas.”
Cox said Issue 3 is modeled after an amendment Alabama voters passed in 1998 and after a state law the Arkansas General Assembly passed in 2015. “Issue 3 is carefully worded. It clearly says that the amendment doesn’t authorize the government to burden religious freedom. At the same time, it says the free exercise of religion cannot conflict with a compelling government interest. Public safety and security would be a couple of examples of compelling government interests. This language strikes a good balance that has worked well in Alabama and in Arkansas’ own state code. The difference is that Issue 3 elevates that language by finally writing it into the Arkansas Constitution.”
Cox said Family Council Action Committee has a three-pronged strategy for passing Issue 3 as early voting approaches. “We are working in churches to support Issue 3. We are coordinating with volunteers in communities across the state. And we are forming a coalition of faith leaders who support religious liberty. We are in the process of distributing several hundred thousand fliers supporting Issue 3 in churches across the state. We have a network of approximately 300 volunteers in communities around Arkansas who are helping us promote Issue 3 at the local level. And we anticipate announcements in support of Issue 3 from other faith leaders in Arkansas as the election approaches. Our constitution exists to protect our inalienable rights. The free exercise of religion is one of those rights. Issue 3 protects religious liberty. We look forward to voters passing Issue 3 on November 8.”