Secular and sacred
State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, seems determined to impose his religious beliefs on culturally diverse Arkansas. His proposed bill SB149 would criminalize all abortions except for medical emergency, and would go into effect when and if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade.
Faith in divine law that ignores time and place differs from adherence to secular law focused on issues specific to time and place. Secular law serves this world; divine law serves another. Immigrants to colonial America came with such an array of religious creeds that the founding fathers sought to avoid the turmoil plaguing Europe by keeping sacred and secular law separate: constitutionally opting for freedom of religion, while keeping any one religion from using the state to impose its version of faith. Apparently Senator Rapert hopes to be the founding father of something different.
The right to life is generally affirmed by everyone. But having a child is often determined by something other than faith, a position recognized by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, composed mostly of Catholic nuns who supported the freedom of women to prayerfully manage their own reproduction. They recently muted their position when church authorities complained. Subordination of women seems canonical in both sacred and secular practice.
Certainly religious bodies can insist that members conform to its creeds, but they have no right to force them onto non-members through secular law. Sen. Rapert is welcome to lead by faith. He has no right to coerce by law. DAVID SIXBEY Flippin