News Headlines: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Sues City Over Religious Freedom (and more!)

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Sues City Over Religious Freedom. The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and two church members filed a federal lawsuit against White Hall, Arkansas, because the city requires a group to apply and receive a permit to go door-to-door evangelizing and seeking donations. Representatives of the Literature Evangelism Program at the Adventist-affiliated Ouachita Hills College were told by city officials that they would need a permit for their outreach to residents last month. The group rescheduled the outreach effort but asked city officials to reconsider its stance. Tom Owens, the city’s attorney, had not responded to the group’s e-mails and phone calls. From The Kansas City Star, "Seventh-day Adventists sue over Arkansas city's permit rule."

Bahamian Pastor Opens Biblical Theme Park. Pastor Jeremiah Duncombe has opened the first phase of the Bahamas Holy Land Experience, an eco-adventure religious theme park in Andros, Bahamas. On completion, the park will offer 49 Holy Land biblical replicas including the Jordon River Bridge, the Sea of Galilee, the Upper Room, the Well of Samaria, the Tomb of Jesus, and a Prayer Grotto. The park will also offer nature trail walks, fishing, corn roasting, story-telling, cooking, and opportunities to view ecological and geological sites which include a variety of birds and animals in their natural habitat, natural rock caves, flat and hilly terrain, and species of tropical and medicinal plants. From The Bahamas Weekly, "Holy Land Park Opened in South Andros."

Hendersonville Adventist Church Offers a Daniel Fast to Community. The North Carolina Hendersonville Seventh-Day Adventist is sponsoring a Daniel Fast, based on the fasting experiences of the prophet Daniel and Jewish fasting principles. For 21 days, participants will eat only fruits and vegetables and drink only water. Other activities will include a three-day prayer seminar and a Steps to Christ morning devotion. From Blue Ridge Now, "Church Invites Community to Join in Daniel Fast."

Homeless Shelter Opens at Lakeport Community Church. On January 4, the Lakeport Community Seventh-day Adventist Church near Ukiah, California, with a coalition of area churches, has opened a warming shelter with space for 24 people. During their stay, guests receive dinner and a breakfast-to-go along with access to restrooms and showers. The food is donated by members of six churches. Located at the SDA church, the center represents the culmination of 15 years of work by the local churches to open a permanent homeless shelter in the county, according to president Pastor Shannon Kimbell-Auth of the United Christian Parish. From Record-Bee, "New Center Warms Bodies and Hearts."

Judge Grants Arbitration Hearings in Sex-abuse Case. A Kings County, California judge has ruled that two female employees of the Adventist Medical Center in Hanford must take sexual harassment claims to a binding arbitration hearing. The two employees had brought a lawsuit against the medical center, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation by two male workers, whom the hospital has argued were contract workers, not hospital employees. The lawyer for the plaintiffs decided to take the lawsuit public after the hospital reminded the employees that they had signed papers compelling them to seek arbitration in lieu of filing a lawsuit. The case is now in arbitration. From The Fresno Bee, "Nurse fondled himself in Hanford operating room, says co-worker's sexual harassment lawsuit," and "Judge rules in favor of Hanford hospital in sexual harassment case."

Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.

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This is a fast? Are vegetarians who don’t drink soda and coffee that rare? Many of our customers are already on a diet like this–and they aren’t even Adventists.


It certainly is a “fast” for people who exist mostly on meat, processed carbs, breads, soft drinks, dairy products, sweets, and pastas.


The Associate Pastor there is a good friend of mine. Surprisingly, (not really) there are many SDA’s in the area who are not the healthiest eaters. Ironically, it is a very pagan area in Western NC and they are the healthy eaters. Go figure!

I think it will be very well received and I am pleased that they are doing the program.


I for one support a community requiring a “door to door” permit. I reside in a city of about 35,000 and I am informed that are about 12 home invasions per day, not counting auto thief. For security reasons anyone could pose as a religious worker and gain access into a home to scope out its contents and occupants.

What is wrong with the Conference in wasting tithe dollars to fight their local community? Do they think this will win friends and neighborhood respect? Since when is it an infringement of religious rights to register their cars or enroll in Federal programs? The Conference is registered with the IRS and complies with all mandated laws. My guess, someone in the Office has been in a power position too long, that clear-headed individuals are not heard over the “yes men”.


As someone who gets many unsolicited telemarketers, I would not want someone uninvited, knockng on my door with ANYTHING! Fortunately, I live in a suburban area where door-to-door soliciting is not done, but they are still nuisances. Too many thefts of packages left on porches and someone selling something is invading my privacy, unwanted.


Sure you are on the right thread?

As someone who has repeatedly been visited by Mormons wanting to talk with me about their religion, I can’t figure out why religions continue to use this antiquated and invasive outreach method. Is there data showing this door to door approach results in significant conversions? And to sue your community over a permit like this? Totally agree that it is unnecessarily confrontational. What a waste.


Perhaps, Frank, you are unaware of the Supreme Court ruling that forbad cities from requiring permits for religious solicitation, including the work of a literature evangelist. It is, therefore, illegal for the city of White Hall to require a permit, and I can tell you from experience that the permit is not free–probably in the range of $50-$75. If an LE makes enough profits from selling his books in a town like that, he might recoup those costs. On the other hand, he might not. In any case, his religious work is exempt from the permit requirement, per federal law. It should be an easy case for the conference to win, and will likely make many other communities aware of the law as they should be.


I was once handed a copy of it, but I don’t know the exact date or reference to the decision. In searching online just now, I came up with the following website that appears to give the necessary information, and claims June 17, 2002 as the date of the Supreme Court decision.

Here’s a better link, and names the case as “Watchtower Society vs. Village of Stratton.”


Would you please cite SCOTUS ruling on this and the date? Evidently, it is not well known.