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Catholic ChurchMy reaction to most letters to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Catholic Church

My reaction to most letters to the editor is to view with mirth the actions of a few people attempting to promote their own interests. However, James R. Moody's letter of Aug. 14, "Vatican vs. Gays," irresistibly cries for a defense of the Catholic Church.

I find it outrageous that The Sun would participate in such an affront to the religious freedom of Catholics by printing such a letter.

Mr. Moody in some distorted fashion views a letter from the Vatican to its bishops regarding homosexuality not as church business but interference in the American political process. I would remind people that true Catholics recognize the pre-eminence of the Vatican and the precepts of the Catholic Church.

I would also advise Mr. Moody to keep unenlightened comments, which constitute nothing more than promotion of his own political views, off of the Catholic Church, which is simply reinforcing a moral precept it has held for centuries.

The fundamental basis for the Catholic Church's rejection of homosexuality is only that heterosexuality inures to the preservation of the species. It would be interesting to hear the defense of homosexuality in that light.

I would welcome Mr. Moody practicing the one thing he said with which I agree, separating his concept of politics and morality from the teachings of the Catholic Church. The church has done very well for the last 20 centuries, thank you, without such "wisdom," and I am sure it will continue to do so.

William F. Peroutka

York

Ocean City's Eroding Charms

I can't resist responding to all of the hoopla about the "flat XTC growth" in Ocean City, resulting in fewer tax dollars for the state and lower income for the residents.

I have had such terrible traffic experiences and poor hospitality on the part of hotels and restaurants in recent years in Ocean City that I only go there for a brief period under duress because my children love it so.

I will only go on a Monday and return on a Friday morning. My husband hates the place so much because of our past experiences that he will only come for one day in the middle of the week because he misses us.

What about Maryland's "premier resort" could have caused this attitude, you ask?

Try going out in a car to a drugstore on a Saturday evening and getting caught in such gridlock that it takes you 3 hours to drive a mile to get Tylenol for a child with a fever. I've been in Manhattan at rush hour, and the traffic runs better.

Try getting to the boardwalk on any evening when the buses are already so loaded that you wait for an hour (at 67th Street, not really close in) before you finally realize that you will never be able to get on one. Of course, you can't drive there either, so you just don't go. Now explain that to the kids who wanted to go on the rides.

Try paying $154 per night for a really nice hotel on the boardwalk (so I never move the car all week) and with an indoor pool (for the children in case of rain) and having the maid leave the sheets in the middle of the bed for you to make the bed yourself. Funny, in most hotels, the maids do that for you.

Try getting back up to your room in that same hotel during the day so your child can use the toilet when the maids (who don't even make your bed) have all elevators but one shut down and you wait 15 minutes for one to come and pray that you can get on it or that the child can wait.

Try feeding your kids for less than it would cost at Disney World.

By the way, I wrote a (pretty nice) letter to the manager of that hotel about my concerns with how it was run and he never answered it, further indicating that he just doesn't care.

When I made another reservation there for this year (location wins all), they tried to get me to reserve the most expensive rooms by saying that their guests are often not too happy with the others-- what a thing to say to someone making a reservation!

Ocean City has become an overbuilt, traffic-clogged, surly place to spend a vacation. Its only advantages are that it is close and nostalgic. I guess I'm more stupid than most people: The kids and I (minus my better half) were there again for a week recently.

By the way, that week cost me almost as much as our family's June vacation in Disney World. How can anyone wonder why Ocean City is no longer a prime vacation destination for Marylanders?

Anita Heygster

Severn

Gay-bashing

To me there is something unreal about the way John Fairhall reported in The Sun of Aug. 19 on Pat Buchanan's speech to the Republican convention. The story treated Republican attacks on gays as just another kind of political strategy.

The media does not seem to realize that attacks on gays are not just political business as usual. Unlike Republican attacks on the Democratic stand on the principle of the death penalty (which Bill Clinton is for), these assaults are against people.

They not only strike fear into the hearts of many, but they embolden religious zealots to press for anti-gay legislation. This fall, Oregon may become the first state to pass Nuremberg-type laws against gays.

It's clear that Republicans are looking for a scapegoat to explain their failed policies. For strategy they are taking a page out of Goebbels' primer on propaganda.

Why don't the media report on the effect this is having in the gay community? I have to laugh when Barbara Bush accuses the media of a liberal bias.

James R. Conrad

Sparks

Keep O.C. Ban

The Ocean City officials who want to reverse the ban on boat and foot traffic near the two bird nesting areas in the bays of Ocean City are stereotypical bureaucrats.

Why can't our government leaders wake up and realize we must conserve and share our world with the wildlife of this planet?

Ocean City would not suffer any economic effects from the ban. The only effect they would get is hearing how the city cares about all the tourists who enjoy seeing the birds between Sinepuxent Bay and Assateague Island. It's sad to think that Ocean City officials would even bother to try to lift this ban.

Jeff Kauffman

Baltimore

Hopkins on the Bay

A few clarifications of fact are in order regarding Peter A. Jay's column Aug. 16 on Johns Hopkins University's interest in selling Swan Harbor Farm in Harford County. There are a number of points in his piece with which I disagree, but I will address here only a few of the most important. First, the rezoning for which the university applied in 1989 would have, as Mr. Jay states, theoretically allowed the construction of 1,700 homes on the 520-acre farm.

But, as then-President Steven Muller told Mr. Jay at the time, the university proposed to build a maximum of 600 individual homes on 262 acres.

Hopkins was fully prepared to accept a cap at that level if Harford County wished to impose one.

The university explicitly told Mr. Jay at that time that it recognized both the beauty and the environmental importance of Swan Harbor Farm and that it had shaped its plans with those in mind. The university's plan for the property would have left 184 acres -- more than one-third of the site -- for open space or related use.

Second, Mr. Jay asserts that W. John Kenney's gift of the farm was "essentially without strings." In fact, as Mr. Jay has been told before, the late Mr. Kenney intended that the university develop the property, sell it for the maximum realizable value, and use the proceeds to benefit the Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, of which Mr. Kenney was an ardent supporter.

The university has a responsibility to act in furtherance of Mr. Kenney's wishes, subject to the restraints imposed both by law and by responsible citizenship. That has always been, and remains, the university's intention.

Third, Mr. Jay suggests that Johns Hopkins consider working with county, state and federal officials and conservation organizations "to work out a plan for this unusual piece of bay-front property."

As recently as Aug. 10, the university told the Harford Land Trust, of which Mr. Jay is a vice president, that it remains interested in selling the property and would be very willing to participate in such conversations as Mr. Jay proposes.

Dennis O'Shea

Baltimore

The writer is director of news and information at the Johns Hopkins University.

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