This letter is in response to the editorial of May 28 concerning the bust of Spiro T. Agnew at the Capitol.
I completely disagree with the editors' belief that Agnew deserved the bust. Agnew should not be recognized for his convictions for income tax evasion which forced him to resign from the vice presidency.
Our country does not need more corrupt individuals as role models. Although we need to remember men like Agnew, we should not reflect proudly or fondly on their past.
However, that is exactly what we are doing by putting a bust of him in the Capitol building. The people are praising Agnew for the job he could have done, but they are forgetting about the job he actually did.
We cannot rewrite history and change the course of events that Agnew had developed through his own poor choices. Our
country will never know whether or not he could have been a successful leader of the country, because he ruined his own career by taking part in criminal actions.
Even though other vice presidents who have committed horrendous crimes have had busts placed in the Capitol, Agnew should have been the start of a change.
Those people who have taken part in corruption should not have been recognized for their position, just as Agnew should not be rewarded for his crimes. We should have honored only those people who actually contributed something beneficial to our nation.
Omitting the bust of Agnew could have been the start in presenting decent role models for the citizens of the United States.
Perhaps it is possible to forgive Agnew for the mistakes he made, but he definitely should not be rewarded by the honor of having his bust in the Capitol. His bust simply does not belong with the truly respectable leaders of our country.
Pastor Jane Senyk is appalled at "the vicious attack" on Rev. J. Philip Wogaman by Cal Thomas and writes (letter, May 21) to correct his errors opining about the political compatibility between President and Mrs. Clinton and their Washington pastor.
Her view of the 104th Congress marks her as just another partisan liberal Democrat who regards Republicans as having no moral compass.
Cal Thomas and members of the Christian right don't "seem to understand . . . Holy Scripture" she writes.
No one, surely not Cal Thomas, would disagree that "God has a preferential option for the poor and oppressed." We, however, do disagree with her belief: "It's government's business to insure a decent healthful living for all citizens."
Her belief of federal responsibility is at odds with the Constitution, particularly regarding power "reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
Does the Bible command government, or us as individuals, to be compassionate and caring? What merit is there for us when the (( government, through taxation, forces us to give to their choice of worthy charities?
Are the Bible and the Constitution at odds, one with the other? Do Christian ethics demand that congressmen ignore their oath "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution"?
I think not. Then why demonize those devoted to the God of the Bible and the Constitution?
Too many pastors, not merely Methodist, overlook the Constitution. The Bible advises that we render to "Caesar the things that are Caesar's."
Japan Far Safer
Your editorial, "Japan Confronts a Cult" (May 17), especially the concluding sentence, makes it sound like the United States and Japan are quite similar, as far as internal security is concerned.
We have David Koresh, they have Shoko Asahara. We have the Oklahoma City bombing, they have the Tokyo subway gassing.
To draw a conclusion based on this kind of comparison is actually not only misleading, it is dead wrong.
The Oklahoma City bombing took more than 160 lives, while the Tokyo subway incident killed only a dozen. Granted that both incidents are a first of their kind in the countries concerned, let's not forget that here in the U.S., random killings that take half a dozen or more lives happen occasionally, while they almost never occur in Japan.
Most of us dare not walk on city streets after dark, not for fear of injury, but for fear of our lives.
We lock ourselves in our fortified homes, while criminals roam the streets. We worry constantly about when we will become the next victims of crime. This kind of mentality does not exist in
In the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake, all we heard and read was how people tried to help each other. No looting was ever reported.
There was no merchant trying to make a fast buck out of other people's misery by price-gouging. This is the kind of behavior one would expect from normal, decent human beings. The fact that they are news to us is an indication of the sad state of our decaying morale.
Yes, they do have cults. Yes, they do have violent crimes (which occur infrequently). But, no, we are not comparable. Japanese society is far safer than ours.
After reading your May 25 article "Balto. Co. summer school goes in new directions," I have the following comments.
One, I do not feel that students attending summer school out of educational need (remedial courses for slower learners) should pay the same fee as those using summer school as a baby-sitting service.
Traditionally, summer school cost approximately $50. Baltimore County's inclusion of "day camp" will raise this price to $150 to $300.
Those struggling from paycheck to paycheck may not be able to afford the help their children need. Wouldn't it be fairer to have the payments worked out differently?
Two, transporting full-day students by school bus will make it a lot easier for working and one-car families. Unfortunately, if your child is there for the traditional half-day summer school, you'll have to figure out how to get him or her home yourself.
According to the Baltimore County school system, there is not enough money in the budget for this. I think the school system has enough money to keep the traditional summer school price down and to provide them with the transportation they are providing the enrichment program.
If they did not spend millions of dollars creating magnet schools, we could well afford the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
For example, over $1 million is being spent to convert Patapsco High School into a "performing arts" school.
Coming from a blue-collar neighborhood, most graduates go to work at Bethlehem Steel or General Motors. What are they going to do, sing and dance down the production line?
Frances E. Broomall
Need More Heroes
I was saddened to learn of the recent suicide of Robert O'Donnell, one of the rescuers of Baby Jessica in 1987. This event brought him fame as a national hero, but also brought him great emotional troubles.
After this heroic rescue, the media swarmed around him, never leaving him alone. The reporters, however, moved on, but his family said that O'Donnell never did. His emotional troubles were probably aggravated by the attention of the media.
Whenever a great tragedy or success occurs, the media immediately zoom in for the scoop. Survivors, or anyone else involved, are questioned within an inch of their lives and are not permitted to deal privately with their emotions. Cameras are shoved into their faces as the networks try to improve their ratings through "human interest" stories.
Stories such as Baby Jessica's fill a vacuum in American society - a vacuum created by a lack of prominent heroes or role models.
The media sensed that O'Donnell would fill this space and
focused all of their attention on him. Unfortunately, he was not able to deal with the resulting pressures of such responsibility.
Robert O'Donnell's suicide should sound a warning. Is American society really so devoid of heroes that the media should feverishly focus all their attention on one person during such a short period of time? It certainly is something to think about.