GOOD FRIDAY VIGIL: Wendell Griffen during mansion event that set off disciplinary proceeding.
Speaking of religion and the Arkansas Capitol:
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
will lead a news conference and rally at the Capitol at noon today, joined by religious leaders and scholars, to discuss religious freedom and the case of Judge Wendell Griffen.
Griffen faces disciplinary action for deciding a case related to property rights over execution drugs the same day on which he later joined a demonstration at the Governor's Mansion that included death penalty protests. Griffen, who is also a Baptist pastor, lay bound on a cot, an act some took as depicting a condemned prisoner but which he said was a Good Friday prayer vigil symbolic of the crucifixion. He has said his religious beliefs don't impact his judicial duties and the 1st Amendment allows him to express them.
He said of today's event:
The rally will be attended by religious leaders, lay and clergy, from various faith traditions as well as by persons who do not identify with any faith tradition. This is in keeping with our conviction that religious liberty includes liberty to not be associated with or be an adherent to a religious sect, creed, or faith.
Participants in the event today in clude
Rizelle Aaron, president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP; Patrick Anderson of Beech Mountain, N.C., editor of Christian Ethics Today; Tina Bailey of Bali, Indonesia with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Preston Clegg, pastor of Little Rock's Second Baptist Church; Forrest E. Harris, president of American Baptist College in Nashville; Ray HIggins
of Little Rock,
executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas; Marion Humphrey, a retired circuit judge and pastor of Little Rock's Allison Memorial Presbyterian Church; Randy Hyde, pastor of Pulaski Heights Baptist Church; Gwyneth Lewis of LegalShield; theologian William Lindsey of Little Rock; George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas; Malik Saafir of Little Rock, dean of chapel at Arkansas Baptist College, and other Cooperative Baptist Fellowship workers.
Several speakers defended Griffen's right to practice his faith while serving as judge
The group issued this statement about the rally.
AT TODAY'S RALLY