President Bush Signs Bill to Save Cross

WASHINGTON TIMES, Aug. 15 — A 17-year battle over a San Diego cross has come to a temporary halt. Using the principle of eminent domain, President Bush transferred ownership of the Mount Soledad war memorial from the city of San Diego to the federal government, said the Times.

The cross was installed as a Korean War memorial on the city’s skyline in 1954. Last year, 76% of San Diego voters approved a proposition that would allow the cross to be given to the federal government. Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett invalidated the vote, saying the proposition violated the state constitution by showing a preference for a religious symbol.

Congress drafted a bill to transfer the cross. The House passed the bill by a 349-74 vote. The Senate approved it unanimously.

Catholic League Sues City of San Francisco

THE EXAMINER, Aug. 15 — The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit in response to a resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, reported The Examiner.

In March, the board adopted a resolution criticizing Cardinal William Levada, former archbishop of San Francisco, for directing Catholic organizations not to support same-sex couples to adopt children.

The League maintains that the resolution violates the First Amendment. The resolution “gives Catholic citizens a sense of not being welcomed when the government is showing open opposition against them,” said Kiera McCaffrey, League spokeswoman.

City attorney Dennis Herrera filed a motion to dismiss the case.

“Church officials weighed in on a matter of public policy and they are certainly free to do that,” said city attorney’s office spokesman Matt Dorsey. “But the fact they are a religious institution doesn’t constitutionally shield them from being criticized.”

Mother Blocked From Seeing Brain-Injured Daughter

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug. 8 — The Massachusetts girl that state officials wanted to let die is still living — and is in rehabilitation at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston.

Allison Avrett gave her parental rights over Haleigh Poutre to her sister, Holli Strickland, in 2001 because she could not properly care for the girl. Police say that Strickland and her husband beat Haleigh so severely that she fell into a coma and sustained brain damage.

State officials sought to have the girl removed from life support, but following the legal battle, Haleigh started breathing on her own and responding to questions.

The Massachusetts Department of Social Services has allowed Avrett, who lives more than 90 miles away, to visit Haleigh for 15 minutes every other Tuesday.

“We postponed Allison’s visit last week,” said Mia Alvarado, spokeswoman for the DSS, in response to charges that the state is now forbidding Avrett to visit. Avrett, who last saw the girl July 25, said she is “doing well.”