Church is a Bank of Souls
Editor: I take grave offense to the Aug. 22 editorial, "Political Accident in the Fourth," which suggested that the ministry of New Shiloh Baptist Church is an example of a palatial complex having little, if any, impact on its surrounding communities.
L I would like to rehearse these facts for your consideration:
The 3,000 persons attending three services each Sunday across many years surely are not wasting their time.
The RAISE program began in New Shiloh as a vision to be a help ministry. Its impact has brought national note to Baltimore.
All of our high-school graduates are provided some scholarship aid to college and we continue to see our youth grow up resisting drugs, alcohol and crime.
A summer-long program has taught hundreds of youth, free of charge, academic and trade skills.
The employment of church workers provides economic livelihood for households.
The architectural beauty and services of our church in a community of great need that offers child development, Saturday church school and musical training in the arts without government funding cannot help but be a positive force.
Communicating the power of God to a people often burdened with life's oppressions must never be underestimated.
Nowhere in the sacred word was the church called upon to fix up all boarded houses. This is a economic problem due in large measure to white flight, resultant loss of jobs and America's little concern for the poor. It is a grave need in Baltimore and New Shiloh will do all it can to address this need. But we are not a bank of funds, we are a bank of souls.
!Rev. Harold A. Carter.
The writer is the pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church.
Together, Or Else
Editor: I take the work of Neal Peirce, Leneal Henderson and Curtis Johnson and their writing of May 5, "Baltimore and Beyond," and the Sept. 8 article, "Going Beyond Baltimore," very seriously. As far as I am concerned, they are very accurate in their assessments of Baltimore, the possible options available and the solutions they offer. We need to take a regional view, act and work at a regional level, if we are all to live prosperous lives in this region.
If Baltimore is allowed to become an urban wasteland, the people in the surrounding counties are only fooling themselves if they think the blight will stop at the county line. The point I most wholeheartedly agree with the authors on is that the people of the region will have to act and take matters into their own hands. Do not expect your elected politicians to offer any guidance or leadership. Politicians have their own vested interest at stake and needless to say, any thought of the local citizens working together on a regional level among themselves probably will give most politicians nightmares.
I feel we in the greater metro region have much to offer each other, but we need to start working with each other now. If we turn our backs on each other we all will suffer. To quote Benjamin Franklin, "Let us all hang together, lest we all hang separately."
A Nation of Men?
Editor: Separate school for girls is the answer offered by Lillian Broadous in the Detroit court ruling that an all-male school is illegal. Detroit proposed such a solution, but the opponents rejected it as "separate but equal."
Now it's too late. Judge George Woods' order states that the "exclusion and/or discouragement" of opposite sex violates the Fourteenth Amendment,
Unless reversed on appeal, the ruling could mean that all-girl Western High School is breaking the law by steering students to a single-sex program.
The Maryland attorney general and the U.S. attorney for Maryland have to make the City of Baltimore obey the law. Otherwise, we live in a nation of men instead of laws.
Kauko H. Kokkonen.
Editor: Jonathan Bor's Sept. 8 story concerning the debate over the care of the retarded in Maryland was written with sensitivity.
As a parent of a retarded adult daughter who is in a group home and one who has been an advocate for many years, I believe there are no absolutes in making a proper determination as to the best environment for persons with mental retardation. Maryland has made great strides in providing for their welfare and development and in appropriate placements in the community.
I wonder about the timing and content of the recent suit brought by the Maryland Disabilities Law Center, when state officials have been negotiating about the conditions at Great Oaks Center with the Department of Justice for months. Indeed Gov. William Donald Schaefer visited that center and reviewed the conditions there with federal representatives.
As your story indicated, the staff at Great Oaks is dedicated and indeed the lawyer for the Disabilities Law Center was quoted as saying this is the case, but there is an "institutional indifference."
I do not know what this term means, but I do believe there are some medically fragile and other individuals with retardation who should remain in state institutions where their families want them and where they will be well cared for in a secure environment.
Editor: I'm not certain whether Barry Rascovar (Perspective, Aug. 25) plays the Maryland lottery or not, but if he does, he would realize how relieved both players and agents (and I am both) are that Control Data did not receive the lottery contract from the state.
The new machines with which GTECH has provided the state are more compact, more efficient and more attractive than the out-dated Control Data models. After three months working with the new machines, I, as an agent, am thrilled with their speed and dependability. I would not want to even imagine the problems the recent $20 million Lotto jackpot would have caused for the old Control Data system.
And let's not forget what happened the last time Control Data low-balled a bid for the lottery contract: Maryland, its agents and players were subjected to archaic operations and equipment often discarded by other states as they went to expanded games and more modern machines.
Here's hoping no wrong-doing occurred in awarding the lottery contract to GTECH. And that the right decision was made for the right reasons.
Editor: I am offended by the headline of your Aug. 28 editorial, "The Rape of Baltimore County." Such casual, inaccurate use of the word "rape" desensitizes the reader to the horror that the word elicits when properly used, and demeans victims of rape by equating their real, physical and emotional violation with an abstract political concept.
Editor: As Ray Jenkins' column, "Surfeit of Lawyers," Aug. 28, indicates, when Vice President Dan Quayle informed the American Bar Association at its annual meeting in Atlanta that "there are too many lawyers," Mr. Quayle failed to mention that, even with this abundant supply, the legal needs of the poor across this country are not being met.
Mr. Jenkins estimates that the number of poor people who do not have access to legal services is in the tens of thousands. In reality, it is in the millions. In Maryland alone, there are over one million poor and lower-income families who do not have access to legal services.
A recent report issued by the ABA estimates that "80 percent of the poor in the U.S. who encounter problems with a legal dimension receive no assistance with those problems." They simply can't afford legal services.
While Mr. Quayle and his administration have turned their backs on this problem, the legal community has not. I attended the recent ABA Atlanta meeting and no topic received as much attention and time as improving the access to justice for the poor. National, state and local bar associations are trying to address the problem.
Maryland has become a national leader in helping the poor through pro bono (free) public service. The Maryland State Bar Association launched a very successful pro bono campaign in the fall of 1989 and most Maryland attorneys now volunteer to help the poor. More attorneys mean more volunteers and more service to the poor.
Still, more needs to be done because so many people need help. How about some support from Mr. Quayle and his administration to further the efforts of bar associations and volunteer attorneys?
Janet Stidman Eveleth.
The writer is director of communications of the Maryland State Bar Association.