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August 11, 1999




National Notes
___bluebull Divorce rates low in interdenominational marriages. The happiest and most successful Christian marriages are experienced by men and women who come from different denominations and settle on one tradition as a couple, a study shows. "The divorce rate in that group was only 6 percent," said Michael Lawlor, director of Creighton University's Center for Marriage and Family. Christians who married within their faith traditions ranked next with a 14 percent divorce rate. Even couples who maintain separate Christian traditions can sustain a relatively low divorce rate--20 percent--if they manage their differences and "fashion a joint religious life," Lawlor said. The data was drawn from a three-year study of 1,512 couples who were married since 1976 and belonged to a Christian denomination at engagement.

___bluebull Regent University doesn't qualify for tax-exempt bonds. Regent University, a graduate school founded by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, does not qualify for tax-exempt construction bonds because its "primary purpose is religious training," a Virginia judge ruled July 30. Calling the school "pervasively sectarian," Richmond Circuit Court Judge Randy Johnson thwarted the school's efforts to use $55 million in bond proceeds to pay for construction on its Virginia Beach main campus and to develop a site in Alexandria.
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___bluebull Gore says America is "blessed by God." Vice President Al Gore said he believes the United States has been deliberately "blessed by God" in a speech Aug. 3 at the annual meeting of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in which he also stressed the defeat of evil. "I believe with all my heart that our nation has been blessed by God and that God's hand is on the United States of America, not by accident but on purpose," Gore said in his 50-minute remarks. He said the country has a "mission" to emphasize its freedoms and to embrace people of different races, ethnicities and religions.
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___bluebull Judge rules in favor of Christian Coalition. A federal judge ruled Aug. 2 that the Christian Coalition had the right to distribute voter guides in recent presidential and congressional elections. U.S. District Judge Joyce Green rejected the claims in a 1996 lawsuit by the Federal Election Commission that the coalition's voter guides and get-out-the-vote initiatives were partisan activities aiming to help Republican candidates. However, Green ruled in favor of the FEC on two other matters. She said the coalition in 1994 improperly aided then-Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North, who was then the Republican Senate nominee in Virginia. The coalition will have to pay a fine, but the amount will be determined later, the Associated Press reported.
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___bluebull Born-again Christians, others evaluate Clinton similarly. A nationwide survey shows that "born-again" Christians do not evaluate the character of President Clinton much differently than do other adults. The survey by Barna Research Group found 55 percent of adults approved of the way President Clinton has handled his job, while 38 percent disapproved. "Born-again" Christians were somewhat less likely to approve of the president's efforts, with 48 percent approving of his job performance. Sixty-one percent of non-Christians approved of Clinton's handling of the presidency. However, when asked their personal opinion of the president, 42 percent of born-again Christians said they had a favorable impression, compared to 60 percent of other adults.

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