Because of a typographical error, a letter to the editor published yesterday contained an incorrect quotation from a homily at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen. It should have read, "the disciples gathered in a locked room 'for fear of the Jews.' "
And once again we have yet another letter (July 4) on "Lessons Still To Be Learned" (editorial, June 25).
I think the point that is being missed here is that the audience whom the Baltimore priest was addressing in his homily on Pentecost Sunday, in part, "the disciples gathered in a locked room 'for year of the Jews' " is not just the adult audience of the parish of the Cathedral of Mary our Queen, whose writers appear to be so up in arms in defending their priest, but rather a first communion class of 7-year-olds.
What does a 7-year-old know, when hearing these words perhaps for the first time, of the intended historical explanation of the disciples' fear, and not a general denunciation of the Jews?
I can only speak for myself, many years ago when hearing this gospel as a 7-year-old.
The Jewish people in my neighborhood were the good people who had positive influences on my life, our doctor, the librarian, the ballet teacher and that wonderful dedicated lady at the South Baltimore Recreation Center who traveled from Park Heights Avenue by streetcar to teach us arts and crafts, sewing, musical culture and all the other lovely things I have carried through my adult years.
These words conjured up different images of the people I respected and loved.
It would be most satisfying if the church hierarchy, including the parishioners of the Cathedral of Mary our Queen, took some responsibility for recognizing the negative images that these and other homilies have on the sensibilities of the Jewish people.
It has been many years since I attended what was then Towson State Teachers College, but one of my fond memories is of Charley Eckman.
Sorry to say, I knew little about the rules of basketball, but Charley Eckman added greatly to the excitement of the game. I (( can still see him bounding down the court, heels hitting the floor first in his own inimitable half-walk, half-run, shouting the number of points just made.
We all looked forward to his referee style. I'm sure many others join me in being grateful for a most pleasant recollection.
Congratulations on your four-part series on human rights in Honduras during the early 1980s. The Sun has done a great service by recounting the tragedy of a country caught in the ideological battles of the Cold War and in the grip of a repressive military.
Unfortunately the story has not ended. Members of the death squad described in your series are still active members of the military today, including the current head of the armed forces, Gen. Luis Alonso Discua.
As you reported, the human rights ombudsman in Honduras has issued a report on 184 cases of disappearance during the early 1980s, yet none of these cases has been taken to court by the attorney general.
Active and former members of the armed forces implicated in these cases remain free, untouched by a weak judicial system.
If Honduras is to overcome this legacy and democracy take root, it must find the means to put an end to impunity and hold people accountable.
While some important steps have been taken to increase civilian control over the military in Honduras, the task remains largely incomplete.
Prior to 1994, all Honduran police were under the command of the military. In the last year, several units have been transferred to civilian control.
The investigation unit, previously known as the Direccion Nacional de Investigaciones, was notorious for human rights abuses. It was disbanded, and a new civilian investigative police unit, Departmento de Investigaciones Criminologicas, was created under the control of the attorney general.
In theory, this should have solved the problem of military abuses in criminal investigations. In practice, however, members of the old DNI were merely absorbed by other police units still under military control.
These notorious former DNI members continue to linger in the shadow and in the halls of the civilian DIC.
Despite the good intentions of the new police force and the careful training and screening that went into its creation, the DIC has been severely constrained by a military that is unwilling to accept limits to its traditional role, the creation of civilian institutions and the investigating of abuses involving military personnel.
Honduran civil society has made valiant efforts to reform its institutions and strengthen democracy. The U.S., having assisted the military that remains the main obstacle to democratization, has the responsibility to support these efforts.
The U.S. should move expeditiously to declassify information that may shed further light on past abuses by both the Honduran military and the CIA and should stress the importance of ending military impunity by pushing for human rights abusers to be brought to justice.
The writer represents Washington Office on Latin America.
Those who think that burning the U.S. flag in public is OK should first go to a foreign country and try burning its flag in public.
The Elite versus the Voters
We have been under the impression that our nation is governed by the will of the people. However, recent events make this impression erroneous, or perhaps even treasonable.
At least four times the citizens of Talbot County voted to place a cap on property taxes. These votes met with the disapproval of a group of self-proclaimed intellectual elites, locally led by the League of Women Voters and the Talbot Chamber of Commerce, who knew what was best for Talbot voters.
They sought out a judge and a court to declare the voters of Talbot County to be imbeciles. Thus the vote of Talbot citizens was declared to be meaningless. Property taxes were imposed over the express will of the people.
Bear in mind that this was done in the name of democracy. Pray tell, what can be more democratic than voting? Isn't this the very crux of democracy? But apparently in Talbot County, the desires of the intellectual elite take precedence over naive voters.
California citizens overwhelmingly voted to put a stop to using their taxes to pay for welfare, education and free medical benefits for illegal aliens.
Once more the "we-know-what-is-best-for-you!" crowd stepped forth to protect the voters of California from their own ignorance. The victorious referendum cannot go into effect.
The courts, prodded by the self-styled elite, are invalidating the will of the people.
The will of the people rules in California? Only if voting has "politically correct" results. Voters in California know that their trip to the ballot box was an utter waste of time.
Then came the ultimate. Twenty-three states of the Union voted decisively to place in effect term limits for their congressional representatives. National polls show that 80 percent of Americans favor term limits.
But five Supreme Court judges, yes five individuals, have over-ruled the decision of tens of thousands. The votes of the citizens of those states, massively supporting term limits, mean absolutely nothing, other than to exhibit just how stupid the national elite thinks they area.
Is it any wonder that we do not have very good turnouts for our elections? Haven't we learned yet that our lives should be ruled by the self-elected elite of the nation, the League of Women Voters, the Chamber of Commerce, the American Civil Liberties Union, etc., and, yes, the Clinton Justice Department, who cancel our votes and our will while getting courts to do things the way in which they want them done?
Perhaps eventually this enlightened elite will manage to declare all elections unnecessary, and they will decide what is best for we simpleton citizens. Incidentally, Hitler's consolidation of power in Germany moved very rapidly once he was able to control the courts and enforce his will through them.