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'Serious sin'

Human Race | Social conservative Vitter apologizes for call-service calls

Issue: "Big bucks ministries," July 28, 2007

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, a staunch supporter of biblical marriage, spent the past week apologizing for the unbiblical shortcomings of his own matrimonial union. The Republican lawmaker acknowledged his "serious sin" after his Washington number turned up five times on the D.C. Madam's phone records from 1999 through 2001.

Vitter said he plans to continue his political career and denied allegations that he had patronized another prostitution service in New Orleans. "I want to again offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with actions from my past," Vitter said. "I am completely responsible, and I am so very, very sorry."

His wife Wendy said her husband had confessed his infidelity privately years before and she had forgiven him: "To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me. David is my best friend."

O deity supreme

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Senate's guest chaplain, a Hindu, draws protests

Syncretism hit a new low in the United States Senate on July 12. That day guest chaplain Rajan Zed of Reno's Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada opened the Senate in prayer. "We meditate on the transcendental glory of the deity supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of the heaven," said the polytheistic cleric. "May he stimulate and illuminate our minds." Capitol Police arrested three protesters who interrupted the prayer with shouts from the public gallery, used Bible verses, and said they were Christians. Police charged them with unlawful conduct. Zed was invited to pray before the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a Mormon. "I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing the faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our heavenly Father regarding peace," Reid said.

- by Timothy Lamer

Close-ups

HOLLYWOOD: Actor Isaiah Washington has landed his first TV role after being fired from ABC's Grey's Anatomy. But don't assume the once-popular actor will be allowed a comeback. Producers fired Washington from the top-ranked Grey's earlier this year after he allegedly referred to co-star T.R. Knight backstage as "a faggot"-an epithet he denies using while admitting to and apologizing for an altercation. Knight later admitted he was a homosexual. Prodded by the studio to meet with homosexual activist leaders and to seek anger management counseling, Washington apparently is now rehabilitated sufficiently for Hollywood casting. With viewers it may be another matter. When NBC announced he will have a guest role in the upcoming Bionic Woman redux, a network blog item on Washington prompted an outpouring of plans to boycott the show.

CRIME: Convicted cop killer Troy Davis won an 11th-hour reprieve from execution after his lawyers convinced a review board that several witnesses had changed or recanted their testimony. Now Davis has 90 days to convince the Georgia pardons and patrol board he didn't do it, even though a judge and numerous appeals courts have found him guilty for the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer. Atlanta-area congressman and civil-rights icon John Lewis was among those who argued for review of Davis' case, saying it was based on a lack of evidence. But police officer widow Joan MacPhail called the stay "another sock in the stomach."

PUBLIC HEALTH: Andrew Speaker, 31, the tuberculosis patient who sparked an international health scare last spring, underwent surgery July 17 to remove the diseased portion of his right lung. The operation was expected to rid him of multidrug-resistant TB. Without surgery, he could face years of treatment and further isolation at the Denver hospital where he has been quarantined since May, when he became the focus of a federal investigation and worldwide uproar after he traveled to Europe against the advice of doctors.

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