___ Judge maintains Lyons' sentence. Despite receiving scores of letters and pleas for mercy, a Florida judge Aug. 18 denied a motion to reduce the state prison sentence of the Henry Lyons, former president of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Lyons was sentenced to 5 years in state prison after he was convicted Feb. 27 of grand theft and racketeering charges. Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer determined the sentence was fair and took into consideration Lyons' good deeds.
___ Campaign touts biblical book covers. Heidi Johnson, a student at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., is urging teens to help "change our nation's direction" in a radio campaign sponsored by the Family Research Council. The radio spots, airing in 166 markets, began Aug. 21. Johnson is promoting book covers produced by the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative Christian public interest group. One book cover is a graphic depiction of the Ten Commandments. The second shows photos of teens from different racial and ethnic backgrounds with the quote, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
___ ELCA approves ties with Episcopalians. Delegates to the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in a major vote of confidence for the ecumenical movement, Aug. 19 agreed to a historic "full communion" proposal with the Episcopal Church. In a 716-317 vote, the voting members approved a plan that allows pastors and priests from the two denominations to be called by and serve congregations of the other body.
___ Officer says pants violate religious beliefs. A veteran detective fired by the Mobile (Ala.) County Sheriff's Office for refusing to wear uniform pants says the dress code requirement violates her Christian religious beliefs. Lark Huber wore skirts while a plainclothes detective, but earlier this year was moved to a patrol position that her bosses said required a uniform that included pants. The department's personnel board will hear an appeal of the dismissal Sept. 7.
___ School board reverses Star of David decision. A Mississippi school board has reversed its controversial decision that barred a Jewish student from openly displaying a Star of David necklace. On Aug. 23, the Harrison County School Board voted unanimously to exempt religious symbols from a policy that prohibits students from wearing items that could be considered gang symbols that might prompt violence.
___ Gideons aim for 1 billionth Bible. Gideons International is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a goal of giving away a total of 1 billion Bibles by 2002.
___ Graham aide dies. George Wilson, executive vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from its founding until 1987, died Aug. 24 at age 85.
___ Arizona court OKs abortion. The Arizona State Supreme Court, by a divided 3-2 vote, cleared the way for a 14-year-old girl to obtain a late-term abortion. In an Aug. 29 ruling, the court reversed a decision by an appeals judge that had temporarily blocked the girl--believed to be 24 weeks pregnant--from being taken to Kansas for the procedure. No Arizona clinics perform abortions after 20 weeks. A ward of the state since she was 5, the girl requested an abortion when she was 14 weeks pregnant, saying she had been raped. But she then ran away and returned only recently.
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