There are so many things I love about Arkansas. To the north we have the idyllic geography of the Ozarks, hills rolling and tree-covered, the land covered with fossils from an ancient sea-time. The south is a red-clay pine forest where, if you look very carefully, you can find diamonds. The people here are proud, stubborn, fascinating survivors of the economic turn from rural farming to whatever it is we are now becoming. Sure, there are metropolitan areas. Little Rock is a fine example and just big enough to trip over itself while it morphs into a large city.
I love it here and find it hard to imagine living anywhere else.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have times when I shake my head in bewilderment. Yesterday the Arkansas House of Representative voted to allow concealed weapons in churches. Seriously. They did.
The argument is that smaller congregations can’t afford expensive security forces, so it’s every man for himself in the pews now. Legally.
The kind of change Arkansas is going through now is tough for most to stomach. I understand that. I even expected a little paranoia, which we exhibited full-tilt during the last election. But I think we’ve crossed the line when we begin legislating concealed weapons in houses of God. I can’t imagine sitting there on a Sunday morning and wondering if the deacons are packing.
Not that I actually sit there on a Sunday morning, but, you know, if I did it would be most disconcerting.
So what’s next? I’m almost afraid to find out.