MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — A Christian ministry has filed a federal lawsuit against the city, arguing that unconstitutional zoning rules discriminate against religious groups.
No Limits Christian Ministries had applied for a conditional use permit so the church could worship in a vacant building. The city denied the request, saying parking space was too limited and that people who parked on nearby blocks would have to cross busy streets, posing a hazard.
In its lawsuit, the church says Mountain Home's zoning rules violate the First and 14th Amendments because while it allows clubs, lodges and other group activities without requiring special permits, it specifically bars churches and requires that religious groups prove they deserve a conditional use permit.
Malta votes 'Yes' to divorce in referendum
VALLETTA, Malta — Malta, the tiny, staunchly Roman Catholic island — has voted by a narrow margin in favor of legalizing divorce, according to the results of a referendum.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who had campaigned against divorce, said parliament would respect the will of the people in the nonbinding referendum and work on legislation to legalize divorce. Malta is the last remaining European Union nation that bans divorce.
"Even though the result is not what I wished for, now it is our duty to see that the will of the majority is respected," Gonzi said in a televised speech.
The Times of Malta reported that 52.67 percent of voters favored allowing divorce.
Court lets inmate fight for racist literature
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —A convicted murderer has won the right to argue to a federal judge that he should be entitled to receive hate-filled white supremacist material in a Tennessee prison because it's part of his religion.
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a lower court should not have dismissed Anthony Hayes' lawsuit against the state of Tennessee and its prison system.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wants the lower court to address whether barring Hayes from receiving the mailings violated a federal law that strengthens religious freedom in prison.
Prison officials have argued the racist literature poses a security risk and should not be in the hands of a violent felon held in maximum security.
The 54-year-old inmate is serving a sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and two counts of felony escape.
Iowa Muslim youth camp plans shelved
NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Plans to build a summer camp for Muslim youth at Coralville Lake have been scrapped, ending more than a decade of debate over the project.
Muslim Youth Camps of America recently told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers it will not seek a new lease for the 114-acre site.
When the plan was proposed in 1999, camp administrators faced concerns over the environmental impact of the project and increased traffic. Religious concerns became part of the debate after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Ron Fournier, a spokesman for the corps, said the camping group said in an e-mail that it could not achieve its goals for the project under current constraints. The project had to be scaled back to satisfy environmental concerns.
The group's lease for the land expired in February.