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In passing

SUNDAY, NOV. 20, 2005

Adrian Rogers, 74; Baptist church leader

Memphis, Tenn. Adrian Rogers, a three-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention who helped religious conservatives take control of the 16 million-member denomination, died Tuesday at age 74.

Rogers was hospitalized this month after developing pneumonia during cancer treatment.

“A mighty oak has fallen in God’s forest,” said fellow Baptist leader Jerry Falwell.

Rogers was first elected president of the SBC in 1979 at the beginning of a long and sometimes bitter power struggle between religiously conservative pastors and their more moderate counterparts. He also was president in 1986 and 1987.

“He began the theological and spiritual renaissance that brought the largest Protestant denomination back to its original roots and commitment to the Bible,” Falwell said from Lynchburg, Va., where he directs Jerry Falwell Ministries.

Rogers was part of an “inerrancy movement,” which championed the belief that the Bible is free from error and literally accurate in all ways.

The conservative movement Rogers helped lead also pushed the denomination to stronger political opposition to abortion, homosexuality and the ordination of female pastors, said Bob Allen, a writer and commentator for the Baptist Center for Ethics, an independent Baptist organization headquartered in Nashville.

Henry Taube, 89; Nobel Prize winner

Palo Alto, Calif. Henry Taube, the self-proclaimed “farm boy from Saskatchewan” who won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his groundbreaking studies of how electrons are transferred among molecules during chemical reactions, died Wednesday at his home on the Stanford University campus. He was 89.

Although his research focused primarily on reactions among metal ions and had little immediate practical benefit, his studies provided crucial insight into the mechanism of respiration, the process by which the body uses oxygen in the air to power cells.

The Nobel award citation noted 18 specific instances where Taube had “been first with major discoveries in the entire field of chemistry,” calling him “one of the most creative research workers of our age.”

The movement of electrons between atoms plays a key role in all chemical reactions, such as the burning or oxidation of organic molecules (in which electrons are stripped away from an atom) and the reduction of molecules (in which electrons are added).

“Electron transfers are the guts of chemistry,” said California Institute of Technology chemist John Bercaw, and Taube was among the first to show how those transfers take place.

William B. Bryant, 94; groundbreaking jurist

Washington Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Bryant, whose love for the law and the Constitution became hallmarks of his long career as a groundbreaking lawyer, the first black federal prosecutor and later the first black chief judge of Washington’s federal court, died Nov. 13 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 94 and frail, said his daughter, who gave no exact cause of death.

Bryant achieved a remarkable legacy, overcoming years of segregation in the legal profession with a steady focus on the facts and the law. To him, the law and the court system offered the best hope for people to be treated fairly.

In one case early in his career as a lawyer, he won a landmark decision before the U.S. Supreme Court on defendants’ rights, arguing that a person must be brought promptly before a judicial officer for a hearing of the charges. He also oversaw one of the longest-running cases in the court’s history, involving overcrowded and inhumane conditions at the D.C. jail.

Bryant was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 12, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. He served as chief judge from 1977 to 1981, the first black chief judge of any federal District Court.

He assumed senior status in 1982 and continued to hear cases until a few days before his death.

Two years ago, his fellow judges unanimously requested that the new annex to the District’s federal courthouse be named for him. On Friday, President Bush signed the bill to do so.


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