This Week

"This Week" Continued...

Issue: "Rethinking divorce," June 13, 1998

"It's just lunacy"

Carl H. Silverman of Waynesboro, Pa., succeeded in removing Gideon Bibles from his local school district in 1996, and now he is trying to stop the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns minor league baseball club from giving ticket discounts to churchgoing families. Mr. Silverman, 42, recently filed a complaint with the Maryland Human Relations Commission challenging the Suns' practice of allowing families with as many as six members into general admission seats for $6.00-if they're carrying a church bulletin. The Suns, a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, have offered such a deal for five seasons. Neither Mr. Silverman nor the Maryland Human Relations Commission would offer any comment about the complaint, but some legal experts believe that Mr. Silverman has a good chance of winning against the Suns. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination at places of public accommodation based on race, color, national origin, or religion. Maryland state laws track the language of the federal act. If the Maryland Human Relations Commission cannot settle the case, then it will hold a public hearing before an administrative law judge. The Suns could be fined up to $500 if their church bulletin policy is found to be discriminatory in nature. Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey summarized community opinion about Mr. Silverman's complaint: "Most people I've talked to think it's just lunacy."

Chopping funding

Education Week reported on a recent meeting between school and local government officials in Reno, Nev., to discuss budget problems caused by recent victories by environmentalists. For the past decade, logging has been sharply limited in the country's national forests. In 1987, 12 million board feet of timber were harvested; 10 years later only 3.5 million board feet were harvested. Since one-fourth of the money raised from timber sales goes by law to schools and local governments in affected areas, the cost to schools has been high. In 1987 schools received $1 billion in timber money; in 1997, even though prices have increased, they received $500 million. Many angry education officials believe the logging ban is irrational. It leaves many forests with dying trees that could be harvested for money but instead eventually fall to the forest floor, providing tinder for fires rather than money for school books. Teachers' unions, however, have not attacked environmentalists for defunding public education.

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