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August 25, 1999




National Notes
___bluebull Couple sues school counselor over abortion. A Pennsylvania couple has sued a public school guidance counselor, charging he violated their constitutional rights by helping their minor daughter obtain a secret abortion. Howard and Marie Carter of Hatboro, a Philadelphia suburb, sued the Hatboro-Horsham School District and counselor William Hickey Aug. 16 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
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___bluebull First statewide voucher program begins. The first statewide school voucher program began Aug. 16 in Florida, as supporters cheered the change and opponents criticized the move as a violation of the separation of church and state. Twenty of the state's 58 voucher students began classes at St. Michael Interparochial School in Pensacola.
___bluebull "Son of Sam" discusses his faith. Confessed killer David Berkowitz told Larry King Aug. 16 that "God has had mercy on me, and he'll have mercy on anyone who calls upon him." The so-called "Son of Sam" spent most of an hourlong interview on "Larry King Live" discussing his faith. The 46-year-old Berkowitz said he has been "a believer in Jesus for 12 years." He told King his conversion came after another inmate shared his faith. Berkowitz, who was convicted of murdering six people and wounding seven in 1977, said it was hard for him to accept the idea God could forgive him.
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___bluebull Illinois court rules against Scouts. An Illinois court Aug. 14 upheld a fine and sanctions against the Boy Scouts of America in Chicago for discouraging a job application from a gay man. This was the second time in two weeks the Boy Scout policy banning gays from the movement has been rejected in the courts. On Aug. 4, the New Jersey Supreme Court said the Scouts violated the state's anti-bias laws by expelling a gay Eagle Scout in 1990.
___bluebull School prevents wearing Star of David. A Mississippi school board has told a Jewish 11th grader he cannot display his Star of David pendant because it could be mistaken for a gang symbol. Harrison Central High School administrators ordered Ryan Green to wear the pendant under his shirt or not at all. On Aug. 16, the local school board in Gulfport, Miss., backed the decision. "I don't appreciate calling the Star of David a gang symbol," said Ryan's father, Tom Green. The six-pointed Star of David has been associated with Jews and Judaism since biblical times.
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___bluebull Robertson calls assassination "practical." Christian Coalition President Pat Robertson said it might be "practical" foreign policy to assassinate some international leaders. Speaking Aug. 9 on "The 700 Club," Robertson said: "I know it sounds somewhat Machiavellian and evil, to think that you could send a squad in to take out somebody like (terrorist) Osama bin Laden or to take out the head of North Korea. But isn't it better to do something like that, to take out (Serbian President Slobodan) Milosevic, to take out (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein, rather than to spend billions and billions of dollars on a war that harms innocent civilians and destroys the infrastructure of a country? It would just seem so much more practical to have that flexibility."

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