David W. Cammack's desire (letter, April 17) to impart basic moral values in students can be done outside the framework of religion.
Howard County public schools have developed a list of "core values" for such a purpose. Values such as truthfulness, compassion and tolerance are among the common moral decencies of any civilized society. They transcend any particular religion.
The danger of instituting religious instruction in public schools is evident in Mr. Cammack's use of the term "responsible" religions, which implies that he does not view all religious beliefs as equally valid.
Is it his desire that the state decide which religions are responsible or true?
There is no basis for the assertion that the lack of religious instruction in schools contributes to social problems.
Perhaps Mr. Cammack should question why the countless hours of such instruction taking place in homes, churches and Sunday schools have been ineffective in eliminating these problems.
I'd like to thank John Steadman for his column (April 21) about Father Joseph Sellinger, friend and partner in ecclesiastical collar, and my father, Tommy Kendrick.
His column about my dad teaching Father Joe brought back a warm memory I had of the two of them.
You see, I live next door to my parents and, as Mr. Steadman said, my father had his golf equipment set up in his basement. But what he reminded me of was the laughter.
Yes, I'd visit my folks and 99 percent of the time my dad was in his "golf world," usually with a student. But I could always tell when it was Father Joe, for through the heating ducts you could hear muffled words and then this absolutely wonderful laughter.
These two men were made to spend their last days together. Even when my dad could no longer teach, Father Joe would visit (and his health was failing, too).
1! I remember being with my dad, who spent most of his time in bed, and he remarked that he wanted to be sitting in his chair when Father Sellinger visited.
The last time I saw Father Sellinger was when he spoke at my father's funeral. He made a great effort to attend, for by that time he was very ill.
I have no doubt that, as Mr. Steadman said, these two fine gentlemen are together playing on that perfectly heavenly golf course.
Wasted in Waco
As distressing and saddening as the loss of life has been in Waco, even more upsetting to me is the inordinate amount of my tax dollars that appears to have been wasted for the most part both before and after April 19.
Fifty-one days of FBI and ATF salaries seem an excessive amount to wait out the Branch Davidians.
More wasteful, because it seems to serve little purpose, is the expense of searching the compound in a probably futile attempt to identify corpses and to gather information.
Would not these tax dollars be more productive directed toward feeding a hungry child, sheltering a homeless or abused person, educating a disadvantaged youth, providing a job for an unemployed adult, providing medical care for the needy or reducing the national debt?
3' Waco is over; let's put it to rest.
Jane H. Bollman
Rich Get Richer
There have recently been two letters published in The Sun (March 29 and April 23) relating to the pension package and consultant's contract that Westinghouse gave Paul Lego on his retirement.
The theme of these letters is that the action was inappropriate.
While I personally am no admirer of Westinghouse's recent management decisions, I believe that the letter writers do not understand the responsibilities of the CEO of a corporation.
Basically, these are -- subject to the constraints of the law -- to carry out the wishes of the board of directors who in turn are responsible to the desires of the stockholders. The "stockholders" in this instance means the persons or organizations controlling sufficient stock to elect the board.
Different boards have different interests. In some companies -- Martin Marietta, for example -- the interests seem to be to create a company that will have continuous growth and profits. Such companies generally require stable and dedicated employee bases.
In the case of Westinghouse, the stated prime objective was "to increase shareholder value."
While the relatively low current value of Westinghouse stock (about $15 per share) might not seem to demonstrate meeting that objective, large stock holders who bought and sold stock appropriately have made out quite well over the last five to 10 years.
In fact, those who sold as the stock began to fall about a year ago and bought back in when the stock was at its low of about $10 per share have seen their investments increase over 50 percent in about the last six months.
Any questions now about why the board likes Lego?
As I see it, if employees want control of a company's policies and strategies, they have two choices: one, buy the company, as the employees of Avis did, or two, form a co-op as the orange growers who advertise on TV have done.
Otherwise, they "can watch the rich get richer and the rest of us
William F. List
Serbia and Western Misconceptions
William Pfaff is at it again, this time offering a eulogy-in-advance for the Serbs. As usual, his April 26 commentary is littered with false assumptions, errors and half-truths.
He gives the impression that the war in the former Yugoslavia was started and is sustained by ultra-nationalist Serbian propaganda, emanating from Belgrade. That is absolutely false and is an assessment that one might expect from Zagreb's own propaganda machine.
The war had its direct beginnings in Croatia, when Franjo Tudjman made Serb-bashing a major part of his electoral campaign. The Serbs in Croatia, recalling their own World War II holocaust at the hands of Croatian fascists, could not believe this was happening.
Once he was elected, however, Tudjman was true to his word, having begun a systematic campaign to deprive the ethnic Serbs in Croatia of their jobs, property and rights. Thus "ethnic cleansing" in Yugoslavia began even before the first shots were fired.
Pfaff goes on to cite the "irrational and extremist forces" among the Serb minorities in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since when does rationality govern a social order that collapses into civil war, particularly a communal war?
Do he and other misinformed Western moralists really expect the contending forces to behave along rigid lines, with discipline, when the entire situation is very close to general anarchy?
The West continues to blame Belgrade for the war, even though Belgrade's central authority collapsed two years ago to the great delight of states like Germany.
The West gave a virtual blank check to secessionism in the former Yugoslavia: it endorsed Slovenian nationalism, Croatian nationalism, "ethnic Muslim" nationalism, Macedonian nationalism and Albanian nationalism. But when it came to the Serbs, their nationalism was ruled invalid. It was automatically equated with Greater Serbian revisionism.
Western commentators and policymakers are under a spectacular illusion if they think that strangling and pummeling the Serbs will somehow bring peace to the Balkans.
Even if the Serbs were to disappear entirely from the equation, the violence would continue unabated. Having helped pry open the Pandora's box of secession, how will the West prevent the secession of Croats from Bosnia, Hungarians from Vojvodina, Albanians from Macedonia?
And if the West does succeed in its folly of engineering the collapse of Serbia, what is to prevent the entire Balkan peninsula from going to war, as the neighbors of the former Yugoslavia rush in to claim their part of the geo-political pie?