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TROJAN HORSE: "Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment" TAKES AWAY protections for religion - says Constitutional Attorney

Nov 3, 2022

Supporters of controversial Issue 3 on the Arkansas ballot allege that the Constitutional Amendment will stop religious interference by Government.

However, the Amendment's opponents say it does the OPPOSITE. They believe Issue 3 is akin to a "Trojan Horse" and point to its outwardly pleasing but ultimately misleading name: The "Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment." 

Many believe the text of the Amendment could allow the Government to create situations to limit or restrict religious freedoms - rights currently guaranteed by the State Constitution without any exceptions.

KrisAnne Hall, noted Constitutional Attorney, said the proposed Amendment, Issue 3, would permanently establish an "errant" standard in the State Constitution which could give the Government an excuse to deny religious freedom to Arkansas citizens.

The Christian attorney, who has appeared on networks such as Fox News and C-Span, says there are currently no exceptions in the State Constitution. However, she noted that Issue 3 could create a loophole for Government to infringe on religious liberty.

Why does the ballot measure scare many people of faith?

While the "Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment" may be well-intentioned, even some supporters admit it is poorly written. And thousands of Arkansans have begun to question why voters would even consider granting the Government any exceptions that could threaten their religious liberty - when there is currently no exception in the State Constitution.

An excerpt of the proposed Amendment says: "Government may never burden a person's freedom of religion EXCEPT in the rare circumstance that the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.

Religious freedom is currently protected without exceptions

There is now no exception in the State Constitution to limit religious expression. The wording in the State Constitution solidly protects religious freedom in Arkansas, critics of Issue 3 argue.

The State Constitution explicitly states: "No human authority can, in ANY case, or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship, above any other."

The vocal outcry against Issue 3

Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jan Morgan said she strongly supports religious freedom. Still, she said she cannot support the constitutional Amendment because she believes it would diminish the religious freedom enjoyed by Arkansans.

Morgan, a gun rights advocate who spent several years in Christian ministry, said: "Issue 3 WEAKENS existing Religious Liberty in our beautiful state. That is not my opinion. It is in black and white for all to see in the Amendment."

Voters are largely unimpressed

Citizens contacted by Texarkana News were confused and bewildered with what they called the "clunky wording" and the perplexing government exception within the proposed Amendment. A Christian bookstore manager and Arkansas homeowner asked our reporter to cross out the language in the Amendment with an "x" as she was so offended by it.

"Cross this whole thing out. The Amendment is confusing," she said. "And it's wrong. So who wrote this?" she asked.

The manager added: "Religious freedom is already protected in the State Constitution in no uncertain terms. I can't imagine why anyone would want to replace it with the word salad of the new Amendment that gives the Government the constitutional right to interfere with worship."

How would "compelling government exceptions" be determined?

Opponents of Issue 3, such as Hall and Morgan, say that religious restrictions during Covid-19 were never tested in the Arkansas Supreme Court and that anyone who had managed to take a case to the High Court would have won due to the current explicit guarantee in the State Constitution.

They also fear that the proposed Amendment would allow Government to use the opinions of possibly biased scientists/officials, rogue legislators, or anti-faith judges to help create a "compelling government" exception to religious freedom that would be illegal today. 

Current protection is strong

Morgan said: "Changing the Constitution should be extremely difficult, but yet it seems so easy."

She argues that the current language in the State Constitution is rock solid and allows no exceptions as it states: "No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience."

Voters go to the polls on November 8 to decide on Issue 3 and three other issues on the ballot, including Issue 4, which would allow the use of marijuana by citizens aged 21 and older.

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