Gays and ParadesAnother Independence Day has come...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Gays and Parades

Another Independence Day has come and gone. Another Fourth of July parade, with the usual marching bands, floats and fire engines, has passed by without incident.

It led me to wonder how long it will be before my home town's parade committee will have to decide between doing what they believe is right or simply following the questionably broad road of political correctness.

Should gay and lesbian groups march in our parades carrying banners that promote their style of sexual activity?

Is it really those of us who believe that they should not be allowed to do so who don't understand what Independence Day is all about?

I can tell you what it is not about. It is not about sex.

But as long as homosexuals insist upon calling attention to what should be a private matter, there are going to be problems for them.

Whether or not they are born that way, they must realize that, once they step out of the closet and declare their homosexuality openly, their sex lives become their most significant characteristic.

Unlike heterosexuals, most of whom have never felt the need to identify themselves as such, gay and lesbian sex does not have the redeeming social value of children.

With such a result at least possible from the coupling of a man and a woman, the rightness of heterosexual union can never be questioned.

Please recognize the fact that most heterosexuals do not hate homosexuals and are, in fact, trying to understand them to the degree that they can and to accept that which is possible to accept.

Refusal to accept the homosexual lifestyle is not homophobia or bigotry. Christians and conservatives are not alone.

Many objections to the acceptance of homosexuality are not based on religious beliefs or political ideology.

Rather, they are based on common sense, reason and the principles that have governed human relationships since time began.

Edith Boggs

Bel Air

Hypocrisy

Sen. Paul Sarbanes seems to believe in the old expression -- don't do as I do, do as I say.

When the Republicans get political action committee money and hold fund-raisers, it is terrible and wrong, and he strongly believes in reform.

Shame on him -- how can he say one thing but act in the opposite way?

I believe it is called hypocrisy.

I hope the voters of our state wake up and see him for what he really is.

Vera Papa

Baltimore

Use Headlights

Many people turn on their parking/directional signal lights in late afternoon and continue on as it gets darker. Perhaps they do this to be "cool" or because it makes them feel safer.

It certainly isn't safer. Parking lights on most cars are small compared to headlights and cannot easily be seen.

To be safer, turning on headlights only takes a little more effort.

In some states it is illegal to drive with parking lights. The most important thing is that having headlights on may save your life or the life of someone else.

Albert M. Jackson

Phoenix

Family Values

I read with some amusement Dick Fairbanks' July 10 letter regarding Peter Jay's essay, "The Idea of Being a Republican."

Where was Mr. Fairbanks during the 12 years of Republican administrations? These were times that featured trickle-down economics, leveraged buyouts and the compromising of pension funds -- all implicitly endorsed by a top-down attitude that urged us to get it all while we can. ("Are you better off now than you were four years ago?")

To this dreary list I could add Iran-contra, "family values" (featuring an attack on a TV sitcom but no desire to support a family leave bill), and an ideological unwillingness to recognize truly important problems (recall Mr. Reagan's rebuff of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's recommendations on AIDS education).

Where in the world do Republicans have a corner on defending core values? The "family values" example says to me that Republicans are willing to defend an idea but do nothing of substance behind that idea, especially if it affects the bottom line.

Similarly, their unwillingness to seriously address the AIDS issue because of long-standing sexual taboos is alarming.

I agree with Mr. Fairbanks that we are long overdue for a social and political renaissance in this country. But let us be utterly clear-eyed in pursuing these goals and not automatically ascribe moral and ethical virtues to one political party.

Kurt R. Keydel Jr.

Severna Park

Pun in Poor Taste

I recognize and have an appreciation for the fact that your staff sometimes employs puns in headlines. In moderation, this is a fine practice that I'm sure most readers enjoy.

I take exception, however, to the manner in which that journalistic convention was used in the headline of Ken Rosenthal's column in the Sports section of The Sun June 26:

"Here's new twist: Jays flat, easy to roll over."

The use of drug humor is completely inappropriate in that context, particularly in a publication of your stature and presumed civic responsibility. Not only is it in poor taste, but it also sends the wrong message to your many impressionable young readers who are already confronted with conflicting attitudes regarding drug use.

R. L. Brown

Glen Burnie

Hate Is Corrosive

In response to Michael G. McFadden's letter of July 9:

Of course, Minister Louis Farrakhan has a right to criticize, but his followers are the ones most damaged by the way he does it. He is trying to build their self-esteem on a foundation of hate. Hate is corrosive, to the hater and to his society.

Minister Farrakhan has the brilliance and charisma to empower his followers in a positive and self-enhancing way, to their greater benefit. Then everybody would be singing his praises, as a minister who, in a very impressive way, was living up to the implications of his title. I pray he accepts this challenge.

Evelyn Dunn Koblentz

Baltimore

Denigrating Judges

The snide, inaccurate and misleading article of Marcia Myers of June 30 regarding the expense of the Fourth U.S. Judicial Circuit Conference demands a response.

It characterizes this important event as a boondoggle and a rip-off of taxpayers by the federal judges, which it certainly is not.

As background, the conference dates its origin back to 1931, when it was founded by then Chief Judge John J. Parker to bring federal judges together to confer about administrative and legal issues of mutual concern within the Fourth Circuit . . .

Now let's set the record straight:

Judges are allowed up to $250 per day toward room and meals and their actual travel expenses for the three-day meeting. They do not receive this allowance in addition to the cost of room and meals, as implied by the article.

In attendance are not only the district and bankruptcy judges and magistrates, but also the 15 judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals and usually the circuit justice of the Supreme Court.

Not stated in the article is the fact that there are 677 lawyer-members of the conference, a large number of whom attend and pay their own way. Their annual dues help defray the costs of the conference.

As a retired lawyer member of the conference, I can attest to the fact that it provides an excellent means for judges and lawyers to discuss and share mutual legal interests and issues in both formal meetings and informal gatherings.

Ms. Myers refers to the latter as "schmoozing," whatever that is.

It is unfortunate that The Sun sanctions this type of reporting, which trivializes and denigrates the respected federal judiciary, which is overworked, understaffed and constantly being given increased duties by the Congress.

Whether or not the conference should be held less frequently, in a shorter time or at a different location may be subject to fair debate.

This article, however, is cheap journalism with no redeeming value or purpose, apparently designed to degrade the judges of the Fourth Circuit.

If The Sun is truly interested in government waste of taxpayer money, I suggest that its energies be directed to investigating and exposing the millions of dollars in pork barrel spending by Congress.

George D. Solter

Baltimore

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