Family Council Supports H.B. 1211 Recognizing Religion is Essential in Arkansas

On Tuesday Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Senator Kim Hammer (R – Benton) filed H.B. 1211 recognizing that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “This is a good bill. Public officials have the authority to protect health and public safety, but the First Amendment – including the free exercise of religion – is never suspended. H.B. 1211 ensures our government shall never close churches and other houses of worship even during a disaster or other emergency.”

Cox said H.B. 1211 will protect churches and religious groups without hampering the government’s ability to respond during a pandemic. “H.B. 1211 protects houses of worship from being singled out during an emergency the way they have been in other states. The bill prevents the government from penalizing a house of worship or other religious group that continues to hold services during an emergency. The bill also requires that churches and religious groups comply with the same basic health and safety standards everyone else does.”

Cox said the bill ensures that religious groups and charities are able to continue serving their communities during an emergency. “Churches, religious organizations, and charities provide support and stability to people in their communities during an emergency. They need to be free to serve people without worrying that the government might penalize them for it. H.B. 1211 helps make sure these groups continue to serve our state, and it makes sure that Arkansans are able to continue exercising their religious liberties even during a pandemic.”

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock.

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LGBT Group Promotes Policies That Would Strip Christian Schools of Accreditation

A major pro-LGBT group is advocating policies that effectively would strip many Christian colleges and universities of accreditation if they hold biblical views about sex and marriage.

The Christian Post writes,

One of the leading national LGBT activist organizations is urging presumptive President-elect Joe Biden and his administration to advance policies that would strip Christian colleges that uphold rules and stances that oppose homosexuality of their accreditation.

The request was part of the Human Rights Campaign’s “Blueprint for Positive Change,” a recent document which offers 85 policy and legislative recommendations for a potential Biden administration. The document comes as Biden pledged throughout his 2020 campaign to advance “LGBT equality” in the U.S. and around the world. 

One of the recommendations proposes the elimination of nondiscrimination exemptions for religious colleges if the institutions support biblical definitions of marriage or fail to offer “scientific curriculum requirements.”

According to Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, losing accreditation would devastate Christian schools.

During the Obama Administration, we saw very similar threats against colleges and universities.

For example, in May of 2016 the Obama Administration issued “guidelines” instructing schools that receive federal tax dollars — in other words, virtually every public school and most private and public colleges and universities — to let male students who claim to be female use the women’s locker rooms, showers, restrooms, and similar facilities on campus, and vice versa.

The Obama Administration also told colleges that men had to be housed in women’s dormitories if they claim to be female, and vice versa.

Colleges who resisted policies like these could have risked losing their public funding.

But if the government implements the Human Rights Campaign’s proposal, Christian colleges wouldn’t just risk losing their funding; they could lose accreditation.

That would affect everything from their graduates’ ability to get jobs to transferring academic credits from one school to another, according to The Christian Post.