Louis Araneta, Retired Judge, Quits Volunteer Post Over Religion Flap

A retired judge has resigned his volunteer post from an Appellate Court panel charged with reviewing applications for the state's latest Indepedent Redistricting Commission.

Louis Araneta, a former Maricopa County Superior Court judge, sent his resignation letter to the state Supreme Court's chief justice, saying he regretted his comments were "misinterpreted."

We're not sure if they were misinterpreted, or he's just having second thoughts about the comments. In reviewing the application of a Tucson businessman, Christopher Gleason, Araneta reportedly questioned whether Gleason's afflilation with a Christian group would blur the lines of the separation of church and state.

The flap made for a snarky pop quiz on our favorite conservative blog site, Espresso Pundit.

We're not sure exactly what Araneta allegedly said about Gleason's affiliation with Vision 360 for Tucson, but Gleason claims the group wants to bring people to Jesus Christ as a way of making Tucson a better city.

Another Internet site has a more detailed account of Araneta's view of Gleason, (though, to be honest, we're not sure how credible this account is:)

One eyewitness provided a detailed written account of the proceedings, including this pertinent excerpt:

. . . the most startling comment of all came during the review and consideration of Republican applicant Chris Gleason. One commissioner (I don't know who as I don't know the members) opined that, in reviewing the application of Gleason, Gleason indicated that 1. He was a Christian, that 2. He felt that as a Christian it was important to give back to his community and 3. That his service on the IRC would help him fulfill this commitment. I infer that Gleason provided this information in response to the question, "Please tell us why you wish to serve on the IRC?" This commissioner continued that he felt that it was important that IRC members have no biases at all and that applicant Gleason's overt connection of his Christian faith to service on the IRC made him unacceptably biased.

Sounds like Gleason's application was rejected inappropriately. Then again, we were never all that curious about which redistricting lines Jesus would draw.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.