Family Council/ Ark. Congressman Oppose Issue 4
On Oct. 7, U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR/04) provided a statement to Family Council saying that he strongly opposes Issue 4, the proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana in Arkansas.
Jerry Cox of Family Council says, “Legalized recreational marijuana is on the list of the last things Arkansas needs, and I strongly oppose it. There are no benefits that can outweigh more traffic deaths, more addiction, more ruined lives and the long-term economic, social and moral decline that results from legalized pot. Arkansas can do better than that, and I encourage voters to vote “no” on pot.
Rep. Westerman joins a growing list of leaders from Arkansas who oppose Issue 4 — including Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Sanders, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, Congressman French Hill and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.
Issue 4 — the proposed marijuana amendment — makes sweeping changes to Arkansas’ constitution and state laws. It repeals, replaces and rewrites several parts of Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment that voters passed in 2016, adds new language to other parts of the Arkansas Constitution and drastically expands marijuana in every community in Arkansas.
Issue 4 eliminates all taxes on medical marijuana and sets a very low tax rate of retail marijuana sales. State and local officials won’t be able to raise taxes on marijuana. City councils and quorum courts won’t be able to regulate marijuana use. The measure effectively writes an unregulated marijuana monopoly into the Arkansas Constitution.
A growing body of research underscores the dangers associated with marijuana legalization. For example, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states that legalized commercial marijuana sales saw self-harm rates rise by 46% among men ages 21 to 39.
In 2020, law enforcement seized more than five and a half tons of illicit marijuana in Colorado intended for the black market, and authorities determined that traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana have increased by 138% since the state legalized marijuana in 2012.
On Oct. 4, Family Council Action Committee announced plans for a statewide campaign opposing marijuana legalization in Arkansas. Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “Today we are launching a statewide tour to urge Arkansans to vote against Issue 4. It’s hard to believe an amendment this bad is actually on the ballot in Arkansas. In the next few days, our team will hold meetings in 25 cities and towns across the state, where we will urge voters not to legalize marijuana in Arkansas. We are also launching a radio campaign against Issue 4, and we plan to equip and mobilize hundreds of churches across Arkansas to oppose the measure.”
Cox said Issue 4’s language is misleading. “The marijuana industry did not write this amendment to help Arkansans. They wrote it to help themselves. If Issue 4 passes, marijuana businesses in Arkansas will be controlled by owners who don’t even live here, and only a fraction of Issue 4’s piddly sales tax will go toward police officers or cancer research. It’s a misleading amendment that repeals and rewrites large parts of the Arkansas Constitution without fully explaining those changes to the voters.”
Cox said he wants Arkansans to understand exactly what Issue 4 would do. “Issue 4 writes an unrestricted marijuana industry into the Arkansas Constitution. City councils and quorum courts will be powerless to regulate it. State lawmakers won’t be able to raise taxes on it. Law enforcement won’t be able to prevent organized crime and drug cartels from purchasing marijuana businesses in Arkansas. We are calling on the people of Arkansas to vote against Issue 4 this November. Our state simply does not need another drug problem.” (familycouncil.org)
JPs Consider Resolution to Weaken Arkansas’ Pro-Life Laws
On Oct. 3, justices of the peace in Washington County tabled a resolution that would have called on the State of Arkansas to weaken its pro-life laws, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. The decision allowed states to enforce their own laws permitting, restricting or prohibiting abortion. As a result, Arkansas began enforcing Act 180 of 2019 that generally prohibits abortion. The Washington County Quorum Court’s County Service Committee briefly considered — and voted to table — a resolution calling for state lawmakers to add exceptions for rape and incest to Arkansas’ pro-life law.
In 2019 and 2021 there was a lot of discussion at the capitol about putting exceptions for rape and incest in Arkansas’ pro-life laws. Ultimately, legislators decided to pass a pro-life law that prohibited abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk. Rape and incest are evil. A woman who is raped is a victim in every sense of the word, and only about 2%–5% of all abortions are performed because of rape or incest. In light of that, it’s easy for some elected officials to justify abortion in these situations. But there are serious problems with permitting abortion in cases of rape or incest.
The unborn baby is totally innocent. It is not right to kill an unborn baby because the baby’s father was a rapist. Abortion doesn’t heal the trauma that rape or incest leave behind. Abortion takes the life of an unborn baby, carries significant risks for the woman and its consequences are very serious. Abortion may actually help conceal rape and incest from authorities. Sexual predators sometimes coerce their victims into having abortions to conceal rape or incest.
In 2016, abortionist Ulrich Klopfer admitted to the Indiana Medical Licensing Board that he once performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl from Illinois who had been raped by her uncle. Dr. Klopfer did not report the crime to law enforcement. He let the girl go home to her parents who knew about the rape and had decided not to prosecute. As far as we can tell, that girls’ uncle was never brought to justice.
Abortion helps conceal evil crimes like these. That’s part of the reason Arkansas does not need to expand the list of exceptions in its pro-life laws. (familycouncil.org)
Survey Reveals What Teens Think of Jesus
How do today’s teens across faith groups think about Jesus, the Bible and justice? Barna, the U.S.-based Christian polling firm, posed this question to nearly 25,000 teens in 26 countries and got encouraging answers.
“Data show it’s rare that teens think poorly of Jesus,” said Barna, which found that most of them have a positive perception of Him, with 49% of teens describing Jesus as “loving,” 46% believe He offers hope and 43% say He cares about people. Only 8% said He is detached from today’s real issues, 7% believe He is judgmental, 6% think He is irrelevant and 4% say He is hypocritical.
When Barna asked the teens if they believed the Bible teaches about living a meaningful life, 38% agreed strongly. Similarly, 36% said the Bible helps them understand their purpose in life and 34% said it helps them to live wisely in today’s society.
When it comes to their personal identity, Barna found that “Bible-engaged” teens worldwide overwhelmingly believe the Bible teaches about living a meaningful life (84%), understanding their purpose (84%) and living wisely in society (80%).
Barna used the term Bible-engaged teens to refer to those who have a “high” view of the Bible — believing it is “the Word of God,” “the inspired Word of God with no errors” or “the inspired Word of God but with some errors” — and read the Bible several times a week.
The survey also asked teens if the Bible influences them to help others and defend fairness and people who’ve been wronged. At least 42% of all teens said the Bible motivates them to make a positive impact on the lives of others, 44% said it motivates them to take care of people who need help, 42% said it motivates them to promote fairness and justice and 36% said it motivates them to stand up against the wrongdoings of others. These numbers are nearly double for Bible-engaged teens.
The teens surveyed, ages 13-17, were from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, four countries in Latin America, eight European countries, six countries in Asia and four African nations. The survey was conducted July-August 2021 and February 2022 in partnership with Alpha, Biblica, World Vision, Christian Vision, Bible Study Fellowship, Christ In Youth and the Association of Christian Schools International. (christianpost.com)
66 Abortion Centers In 15 States Have Closed
State pro-life laws have forced at least 66 abortion facilities to stop aborting unborn babies since June, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. Currently, 15 states are enforcing pro-life laws that prohibit or strictly limit the killing of unborn babies in abortions, and eight others are fighting in court to do the same. Most of the states began enforcing their laws after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
The research, published Oct. 6, adds to the evidence that these laws are stopping abortions and saving babies’ lives. SBA Pro-Life America estimates more than 138,000 unborn babies’ lives are being saved. CBS News reports Guttmacher found that the number of abortion facilities in the 15 states dropped from 79 to 13 since the Supreme Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on June 24.
All 13 remaining abortion facilities are located in Georgia, which has a heartbeat law that protects unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. The study found one abortion facility closed in Georgia, but the others are still aborting unborn babies early in pregnancy.
Meanwhile, 14 other states are abortion free. They are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Of the 66 closures, 26 abortion facilities closed completely while 40 others remain open to provide other sexual and reproductive health services, according to the research. In Texas, for example, 12 closed completely this summer while 11 remain open for other services.
Newsweek reports the 15 states are home to about one-third of American women of reproductive age, and abortion activists claim their pro-life laws are hurting these women. But doctors like Dr. Monique Chireau Wubbenhorst, a prominent OB-GYN and former professor at Duke University School of Medicine, say abortion bans are helping women and saving unborn babies. (lifewnews.com)