TMZ has extensive coverage
of a child custody dispute in Los Angeles involving musician Chris Carney
and Tiffany Thornton,
a star on the Disney show "Sonny With a Chance." The Arkansas angle is that Carney, who says his wife has spirited away their two children, including a two-month old son, tags his mother, Hot Springs Mayor Ruth Carney,
with helping his wife.
Carney tells cops .... religion may be the catalyst for the alleged child stealing. She's very religious and deeply resents the fact that he's not.
Tiffany's rep tells TMZ ... "Mr. Carney's claims are false and are being dealt with in the proper forum." A source close to Tiffany tells TMZ ... she took the kids for their own safety.
Religion issues are never far from the Carney family. Ruth Carney is the wife of Ken Carney,
pastor of a Nazarene church that has become a power player in Hot Springs politics, often at loggerheads with the tourism establishment
and the gambling empire at Oaklawn Park. They've brought faux historian David Barton
to town to peddle his religion-influenced view of history. Religion affects everything down to the courts, where district judge Ralph Ohm
often assigns defendants to Christian help programs. Ohm, you may recall, was among the attorneys advising counties NOT to issue marriage licenses to gay couples while that was temporarily legal. We wrote a cover story
about the Hot Springs theocracy back in 2011.
And Chris Carney? He may not be religious now. But, for a time, he, too, found Jesus, as Leslie Newell Peacock reported.
He had found Jesus and enlisted in the religious-oriented rehab in Ohm's court. But that was then.
UPDATE: Mayor Carney told the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record that there was no mystery about the location of the children. She said she'd helped her daughter-in-law travel to Arkansas so that she could visit her own parents in Texas. She said her son was struggling with alcohol abuse.