In memory of Darrell Keith Hutchins by Doris E. Hutchins

By Doris E. Hutchins

FFRF member Darrell Keith Hutchins, 73, Conway, Ark., lost his 16-year battle with prostate cancer on Oct. 7, 2014. I am writing this on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Darrell was born Sept. 29, 1941, at the home of his paternal grandparents in Lowery, Okla., and graduated from Oaks Indian Mission High School in Oaks and received an M.S and Ph.D. from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, respectively.

He loved the woods at his Lowery home place and in retirement took up handcrafting archery bows from timber he cut himself. He was ever on the lookout for suitable bow trees in outings in the woods. He made more than 200 bows from a variety of wood types. Darrell also enjoyed canoeing and made many float trips with friends.

Darrell loved scientific research and spent as much time as he could in the laboratory. He was the author of numerous scientific papers and the holder of three patents for scientific equipment. His love of science was exceeded only by his love for his family and friends.

We met in 1968 at a church service. Darrell’s acceptance of the theory of evolution was not condoned in the church in which we were married and this began our transition to becoming freethinkers. Preachers would warn, “If one brick from your wall of faith is pulled out, the whole wall will fall.” We discovered the truth in this admonition, and as the bricks began to fall, found a wonderful sense of freedom and contentment.

No longer were we involved in hair splitting over the meaning of a bible verse or personality conflicts that led to church splinter groups! As a matter of life philosophy, Darrell believed that rational discourse and investigation should be applied to all questions and that an idea should be accepted only if based on evidence. He would say, “Most people would rather die than think and in fact, most do!”

Darrell was a dedicated Democrat and a member of the Faulkner County Democratic Central Committee. For 11 years we hosted a monthly discussion group meeting at our home for progressive-minded persons interested in politics and current events. He also distributed an e-mail newsletter consisting of progressive articles from the Internet. He was incredulous at how easily people followed demagogic politicians without questioning their blather, concluding, “Ignorance is our country’s most costly commodity.” He was a prolific writer of letters to the editor and for a time was a biweekly columnist for the editorial page of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway.

Darrell was a longtime member of the Arkansas Country Dance Society. He loved to call and write square dances and produced a volume of his dances titled “Square Dances With an Old-Time Flavor.” It was fitting that his memorial service included friends sharing favorite memories of him and enjoying old-time fiddling and special square dance performances.

Darrell struggled with clinical depression most of his life. In spite of that, he strove mightily to provide for his family. He said, “If I had to choose between depression and cancer, I’d choose cancer. I know of no disease worse than depression.”

In the end, his love of science still called him and he arranged for his remains to be donated to the Genesis Program in Memphis, Tenn., for medical research.

I and our two children and grandchild live on to continue to reflect Darrell’s love, wisdom and integrity.

Member to senator: FFRF speaks for me

What follows is an instructive email back and forth on Sept. 30 between FFRF member Doris Hutchins and Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway. “You will notice that he gives permission to pass along his negative feelings about FFRF,” writes Doris.

The state in April approved erection of a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol in Little Rock. Rapert was chief sponsor of the bill. In response, and after the secretary of state denied a permit for a Hindu display at the Capitol, FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker sought permission in August to erect a stone monument saying “May Reason Prevail” and other wording similar to its winter solstice message in several state capitols. No response has been received.

In September, the Satanic Temple applied to place a Capitol statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed deity often used to represent Satan, to memorialize “various historical witch hunts and homage to the persecuted freethinkers and ‘heretics’ who helped inform American secular jurisprudence.”

Subject: Separation of church and state

Dear Senator Rapert: I am one Arkansan who appreciates the efforts of Freedom from Religion Foundation to restore a clear line between church and state.
Sincerely, Doris Hutchins

Doris: Thanks for your input. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is nothing more than an anti-Christian atheist gang. They intimidate and threaten people without proper cause. I would never support the United States establishing a state religion, and for over 150 years it was understood the government must not interfere with religion. Now, atheists and liberals are trying to use government to squelch our culture and traditions. I disagree.
Have a good day, Sen. Jason Rapert

Senator Rapert: I recently read that you urged the Freedom from Religion Foundation to go back to where they are from and leave us Arkansans alone. As a member of FFRF, I’m not sure where I would “go” since I am a born-and-bred Southerner.

Doris: They are from Wisconsin. People who urge others to persecute Christians aren’t welcome in our state as far as I am concerned. I pray for their complete and utter defeat and that all their plans would be confused wherever they go. You are welcome to tell them I said so. I pledge to oppose their tactics everywhere in America.

Sen. Jason Rapert

FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell notes, “We’ve had many reports of Sen. Jason Rapert and are very familiar with his religious pandering. Kudos to you, Doris, for taking your legislator to task.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation