In their article voicing opposition against active euthanasia by the medical profession, Drs. Karen Korzick and Peter Terry use two arguments to support their conclusion.
The first involves the deontological principle that killing is always a wrong-making element of behavior.
The second argument appeals to the "slippery-slope" concern that any law allowing active euthanasia would fail to protect the autonomous choices of vulnerable groups of patients.
The validity of both of these arguments, however, has been disputed by other philosophers and physicians. Thus, whether active euthanasia should be proscribed remains controversial.
Drs. Korzick and Terry do, however, make an unarguable claim that a "thorough public discussion" on the issue of euthanasia has not occurred.
To help remedy this situation, I would like to invite these physicians, as well as the public, to the next Medical Humanities Hour at the University of Maryland Medical System Thursday at 4:30 p.m., where Dr. Franklin Miller, a philosopher at the University of Virginia, will make a presentation on "Regulating Physician-Assisted Death: Oregon and Beyond."
Henry Silverman, M.D.
The writer is associate professor and medical ethicist, University of Maryland Medical System.
The May 21 letter to the editor, "Brotherly Love and the Christian Right" from Pastor Joan I. Senyk, was meant to rebut Cal Thomas' critique of the "religious left," but instead only confirmed it.
In defending against the "vicious attack" on the president's pastor, Philip Wogaman, the writer attempts to prove Thomas' "Biblical and theological errors."
Her examples include such scriptural contradictions as the differing accounts found in Chronicles and the Gospels. "Different points of view" are found throughout history (also in modern courtroom proceedings). They do not necessarily negate the truthfulness of an event -- as only a true literalist would assert.
In fact, neatly harmonized stories are always more suspect. Not only were these arguments completely irrelevant to Thomas' topic of religious ethics and politics, but they've been long discredited by other authorities.
Her vague defense of Wogaman's "Biblical values" includes an observation of "very little . . . brotherly love" at the 104th Congress. Politics has always been a worldly, if not corrupting, affair.
It would be very interesting to ask when Congress has ever displayed this too-malleable idea of "brotherly love." If the answer includes their three decades of self-defeating, multi-trillion dollar social programs, then it's time for Congress to consider some other Biblical virtues: justice, wisdom and stewardship.
Wogaman is undoubtedly a man of conviction and integrity. But this doesn't guarantee good judgment in a public figure.
If Thomas is correct, the minister's more controversial policies are not only out of step with widely held religious, historical and political beliefs, but also with his own denomination and its history.
Moreover, they appear to reflect the beliefs of some of his congregants, namely, the Clintons. If publishing some of these ideas amounts to a "vicious attack," than the endless scrutiny given to religious conservatives must amount to all-out warfare.
L. Smart III
Ignore at Peril
This letter is in response to the article "Shoot for the head remark earns Liddy an award" that appeared May 18 in the Today section of The Sun.
It addressed the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) giving its 1995 Freedom of Speech Award to Gordon Liddy.
Carole Nashes, a spokesperson for NARTSH, defended the award by saying that "if you don't like what he says, turn the radio off or change the dial."
It was people who did just that with regard to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s that helped create the Third Reich.
It was Americans who felt that way about political speeches and ads over the last 30 years who not only "changed the channel" but also didn't vote that helped create our god-awful national deficit.
It is one thing to "just tune out" opinions you disagree with and quite another to ignore calls for murder, riots, bombings, etc. Would she feel the same way about an "exercise of free speech" that called for a bombing of the studio audience of a radio or TV talk show?
William F. List
As an investment professional and as an individual actively involved in Baltimore's philanthropic community, I am appalled at the recent revelations concerning the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy.
Numerous charitable organizations invested significant portions of their endowment with New Era, lured by the promise of doubling their money in six months through what is now thought to be a sort of philanthropic pyramid scheme.
By all reports, it is believed no Maryland charities were caught in the scam.
I have been a trustee of the Baltimore Community Foundation for 12 years, and currently serve as its treasurer and chairman of the investment committee.
The Community Foundation manages over 150 charitable funds, many of them endowed. Prudent investment of these funds in order to carry out their donors' intent in perpetuity is a solemn obligation.
An ongoing discussion of what constitutes "prudent investment" consumes a good portion of our investment committee's time, as well as receiving a lot of attention nationwide, in boardrooms and in the pages of philanthropy publications.
Conscious of the weight of our fiduciary responsibilities, when investment strategies are set my colleagues and I tend to err on the side of conservatism.
In addition, the Community Foundation goes to great lengths to meet high standards of accountability. Audited financial statements are published annually in the foundation's Report to the Community.
Each letter of acknowledgment for a contribution includes a disclosure statement, as mandated by Maryland law, telling how to obtain detailed financial information about the Community Foundation. An independent law firm is retained and regularly consulted on questions of accountability and propriety.
I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of nonprofit organizations take very seriously their obligations of prudent investment, responsible fund management and accountability.
I believe that when exercising their right to examine the organizations they support, contributors most often will meet with openness and honesty.
Eddie C. Brown
The writer is president, Brown Capital Management, Inc.
The letter from Keith Batcher (May 24) is truly shocking. He says that the seemingly mild-mannered Sarah Brady of Handgun Control Inc. has such a nasty mouth that she has forced the powerful National Rifle Association to reply in kind just to protect themselves.
Mr. Batcher reveals that Ms. Brady is one of "a small minority of hard-core anti-gun extremists" who are the "true masters in the realm of vicious slander and extremist rhetoric."
Her "unprincipled attacks," coming in an "endless barrage," have diverted these true blue, 100 percent red-blooded American patriotic citizens from their noble mission of conducting target shooting events into the distasteful realm of politics: writing letters about jack-booted thugs infesting police organizations, buying off the U.S. Senate, setting newspaper editors and their readers straight about the virtues of AK-47s and of arming every citizen and other activities they would prefer to avoid.
I wish to thank Mr. Batcher for alerting me to this nefarious plot, and to Ms. Brady's foul language. He does not provide any examples of her villainous slanders, but perhaps that is because he feels such words would be out of place in a family newspaper.
It's indeed strange, though; I have been a supporter of Handgun Control for 20 years, and I have not seen any instances of the vicious language he warns us about. The literature I receive doesn't talk about hunters or gun owners in general; certainly it does not "classify every gun owner in America as latent murderers."
It mostly talks about the more than 20,000 deaths from handguns every year, and how we have far more murders in this country than all the other "civilized" countries in the world combined, even though we also have far more prisons than the other countries.
I have never seen the literature that advocates "eliminating our right to bear arms altogether," though they have recommended such far-out proposals as licensing and the five-day waiting period.
I got the idea from the Brady speeches I have heard that she is more concerned about stopping the murders than about taking guns away from gun owners.
I kind of thought she was motivated by seeing her husband Jim, who took a bullet intended for President Ronald Reagan, confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life.
The would-be assassin, John Hinckley, was a mental patient who, thanks to the diligence of the leaders of the NRA and their congressional lackeys, was able to pick up a gun with no questions asked.
Just think, if the devious Sarah has her way, murderers and assassins such as Hinckley and Sirhan Sirhan and others will lose their Second Amendment rights. Obviously, she has to be stopped.