Arkansas Religion

www.are.uscourts.gov

A federal judge has agreed to extend until March her order blocking Arkansas from enforcing new limits on the way the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the request by the state and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is challenging the new limits. Baker had initially blocked the new law from taking effect until Jan. 14, and both sides had asked her to extend that order until March 14.

Fellowship Bible Church

An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to falsely reporting that there might be a bomb at a northwest Arkansas church.

Court documents show 51-year-old Allen Ward of Muskogee pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Fayetteville to one count of maliciously conveying false information. Ward admitted he called Bentonville police in October 2012 and said there might be a bomb at Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

A sentencing date was not immediately set.

A group rally against the bill at the Capitol today.
Nathan Vandiver

A federal judge is holding a hearing this week on an effort to block Arkansas' new law placing limits on the way the abortion pill is administered. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker scheduled a hearing for Wednesday afternoon in the lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

The group has asked for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the law, which requires abortion pill providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

File photo: Former US Attorney Conner Eldridge formally launching his US Senate campaign from his family store in Augusta.
Arkansas Times

UPDATE: Sen. Boozman responded to a KUAR request about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US. In a statement Boozman rejected rhetoric attacking Islam and called for tighter security.

"Our country has never had a religious test for who we accept as citizens and it never should. Trump’s proposal is not a serious plan and it goes against everything our country and party stand for.

baxter county nativity
americanhumanist.org

Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass says there will be no Nativity scene or any secular holiday displays on the courthouse lawn this year.

Pendergrass announced the decision Wednesday in Mountain Home in response to a federal judge's ruling earlier this month that the Nativity display violates the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks ruled that the county must either stop placing any religious seasonal displays on the property, or create a public forum allowing displays by all religions and viewpoints.

File photo: Attorney Cheryl Maples.
arktimes.com

A same-sex couple seeking to amend their child’s birth certificate to include the non-biological mother has been denied by the Arkansas Department of Health despite a judge’s order. Following Monday's request to change documentation the attorney general's office filed a request for a stay on Tuesday with a notification of intent to appeal.

Just hours after Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox’s decision on Monday Marissa Pavan went with her spouse and attorney Cheryl Maples to the state’s vital records office.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox.
courts.arkansas.gov

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox on Monday said three same-sex couples can ask the Arkansas Department of Health to change their children’s birth certificates to reflect both spouses’ names. A suit was brought in June following the US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with the former Dean of the UALR Bowen School of Law, Professor John DiPippa, about the rights of non-biological parents.

KAUFFMAN: How does this tie into the benefits granted by the US Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage?

baxter county nativity
americanhumanist.org

Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass says he's not sure yet what the county will do now that a federal judge has ruled a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn violates the Constitution.

Judge Timothy Brooks ruled Thursday that the county must either stop placing any religious seasonal displays on the property or create a public forum allowing displays by all religions and viewpoints including non-religion.

Pendergrass told The Baxter Bulletin on Friday that no decision has been made on which option to follow. He says the county has 14 days to make a decision.

baxter county nativity
americanhumanist.org

A federal judge has ruled that Baxter County in north Arkansas violated the Constitution by displaying a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn in 2014.

Judge Timothy Brooks issued the ruling Thursday in a lawsuit brought by the American Humanist Association and Baxter County resident Dessa Blackthorn.

lonoke county sheriff Jeff Staley
KATV, Channel 7 News

A debate involving Lonoke County Sheriff's deputies has residents questioning the separation between church and state. KATV, Channel 7 News reports that Sheriff John Staley says the LCSO might be adding ‘In God We Trust' on the back of all 25 patrol cars.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and supporters
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A federal judge has ordered Arkansas to temporarily reinstate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood after the state blocked funding over concerns about secretly recorded videos released by an anti-abortion group.

Sister Simone Campbell in Fayetteville.
KARK

Coinciding with Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. this month a busload of social justice-minded nuns is touring the country, with three stops in Arkansas.

Sister Simone Campbell, of the lobbying group NETWORK, said she supports the Pope’s message of an inclusive economy.

UPDATE: The Washington County Clerk's office reports that voters approved the anti-discrimination ordinance 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent. 14,593 ballots were cast out of 49,634 registered voters. 

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A group is asking Arkansas officials to allow a Satanic statue to be constructed outside the state Capitol, where a new law allows a monument to the Ten Commandments.

The Satanic Temple on Tuesday formally submitted its request to the secretary of state and the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission to approve its proposed monument to Baphomet, which depicts Satan as a goat-headed figure with horns, hooves, wings and a beard. The Massachusetts-based group says it will pay all costs associated with the monument's installation.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

A state judge has ruled a northwest Arkansas city can vote next week on a proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin on Thursday denied a motion to block next week's special election on the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance.

Opponents of the ordinance had sought a temporary restraining order and had argued, among other things, that the ordinance violated a state law aimed at preventing local anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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