Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Apr 10, 2015 2:44 PM
Religion news in brief

Arkansas governor OKs bill allowing Ten Commandments display

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor has approved legislation that will allow a monument to the Ten Commandments to be built near the state Capitol.

A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday said the governor had signed the bill requiring the state to allow a privately funded display of the commandments to be built on the state Capitol grounds. Lawmakers sent the measure to Hutchinson last week.

Supporters of the proposal have said the monument would honor the role the commandments have played in the history of the nation's judicial system. Opponents have criticized the move and said it would amount to a state endorsement of religion.

The location and design of the monument must be approved by the secretary of state.


NKorea says it deports American for plotting, making videos

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says an American woman who frequently visited the North over nearly 20 years has been deported for what the communist regime calls "plot-breeding and propaganda."

The announcement by North Korea's state media alleged that the woman traveled to North Korea "under the pretense of 'humanitarianism,'" but had secretly produced and directed anti-North Korean videos because of her "inveterate repugnancy" toward Pyongyang.

The American was identified as Suh Sandra, likely following Korean style of using the surname first.

Wheat Mission Ministries, a Christian aid organization based in Los Angeles, identifies Sandra Suh as its founder. The ministry's website says its mission is "to share the love and humility of Christ" with North Korea's "underserved population."


ACLU scolds Maine school for discussing intelligent design

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has sent a complaint to the Brunswick school system, saying a fifth-grade teacher discussed creationism and intelligent design in his science class.

The ACLU's letter, dated March 27, alleges that Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School teacher Lou Sullivan "under the guise of educating students about 'astronomy' ... improperly injected his religious doctrine into his science lessons." The letter says that was unconstitutional and the school department could be held liable.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the ACLU was alerted by a parent.

Superintendent Paul Perzanoski denied the ACLU's allegation and said the 26-year veteran teacher was just responding to a question from a student who asked Sullivan about his personal beliefs.


Private investigator claimed Scientology hired him to spy

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A private detective arrested two years ago in Wisconsin claims he spied for the Church of Scientology on the father of the church's leader.

In 2013, Dwayne Powell told police in West Allis that the church paid him $10,000 a week over 1 ½ years to spy full-time on Ronald Miscavige (mis-KAV'-ij) Sr., who had broken with the Southern California-based church.

According to police reports obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, Powell claimed Miscavige's son, David, wanted to make sure his father didn't divulge details of church activities. Powell said he went through the father's garbage and spied on his emails and conversations.

A church statement calls Powell's allegations preposterous and "an absolute bald-faced lie."

The police documents were first obtained by the Los Angeles Times.


Northern Indiana pizzeria that backed religious law reopens

WALKERTON, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana pizzeria that closed after its owner expressed support for Indiana's religious objections law has reopened.

Memories Pizza owner Kevin O'Connor says he reopened Thursday afternoon. He says that within an hour, all eight tables were filled and six people were waiting for carryout orders. There were no protests in the first several hours.

O'Connor faced criticism after he and his daughter, Crystal, said they would never deny service to a gay customer but would decline if they were asked to cater a same-sex wedding because it would conflict with their Christian beliefs. Threats led them to temporarily close the Walkerton pizzeria about 20 miles southwest of South Bend.

O'Connor says he'll use some of his share of more than $842,000 raised online to make improvements. He also plans to donate to charity.