Quoting Bible, knowing its meaning are different"Let...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Quoting Bible, knowing its meaning are different

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Lately, I have heard this statement used many times to justify the actions of the president of the United States.

Not one time did I hear this quote in its proper context and completion. Yes, Jesus did say, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." He also said to the woman in question, "Go and sin no more."

Apparently, the president and a substantial number of people feel that no matter how many times a person commits a sin or crime all is forgiven by mere admission or confession.

When a sin is committed, it could be absolved, but absolved only if an effort is made not to sin more. It seems reasonable to conclude that the sin-confess routine over and over again is not valid. According to reports, the president hasn't learned this yet. Therefore, he must pay the consequence for his acts.

David A. Dilegge, Ellicott City

Re: Editorial of Dec. 20, "Democracy is weaker."

As you aptly point out, voters will have the opportunity to judge the various House members' votes and in the next election either support their decision or vote them out of office.

I'm very concerned relative to the argument that the impeachment decision should be based on public polls. That certainly was not the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

Tom Grimes, West Friendship

The Sun in recent years has gone downhill with its editorial cartoons and lack of support of strong character in government affairs. It is not impeachment that hurts the presidency. It is weak character that injures us at all levels of government.

For the next two years and then into the next century, character and integrity are key. We must integrate these elements into our school system, our family-building skills, our government officials and our corporate leaders. We can start at the top by finding a person of character for president.

Let's give Vice President Al Gore an opportunity to work his skills for two years.

James M. Holway, Ellicott City

The U.S. House of Representatives has presented us with a confusing and stressful situation. The president has been impeached because he engaged in adultery and extra-marital sexual activity.

These sins were brought to a level of Constitutional crisis by, among others, two critics of the president in the House who have committed adultery; sent to the House by a Judiciary Committee presided over by a chair who committed adultery; and confirmed by a Republican majority who elected as Speaker a person who committed adultery.

The implications are serious. Recently, it has been confirmed by DNA tests that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one child by a slave outside the bonds of marriage. Do we begin to dismantle the Jefferson Memorial and remove his image from our money and Mount Rushmore? Further, do we engage in a debate as to whether extramarital sexual activity is more serious than owning slaves? That brings us two counts against Jefferson and adds George Washington. Do we also begin to dismantle the Washington monuments in D.C., Baltimore and across the country?

Admittedly, the current Republican majority in Congress would probably have no problem retroactively adding John Kennedy to its list, but Washington and Jefferson would be a bit much.

Consistency, however, requires we act on principle and let the chips fall where they may, even if the Constitution, Congress and the presidency are destroyed in the process.

Hypocrisy must do its thing.

David H. Pardoe, Columbia

In reference to your Dec. 29, 1998 issue: I was surprised to read Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott refer to the "loony left" when discussing the possibility of censure ("Go slow on censure, Lott tells Democrats.")

Then I read on the editorial page how Mr. Lott was a keynote speaker for the KKK-affiliated Council for Conservative Citizens (and then played dumb when caught)!

Can anyone tell me why this "rabid righter" is leading our nation's Senate?

Jeff Kostos, West Friendship

Guess what? Most of the people of our nation now live in towns that look more like Potterville than Bedford Falls. Just look around. Hollywood no longer has a moral compass, and the wholesome Capra-esque movies of yore have evolved to the nude and the lewd. Shallow actors have replaced those symbolizing honor and virtue such as John Wayne.

The current movie monarchs, such as Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Barbara Streisand, are so outraged that Bill Clinton is being held to any character standard they are willing to bankroll his censure fine, if any.

We can beat this fate, but we have to start somewhere and soon. Begin by writing your senators and insist that the Constitution be followed rather than a back-room censure deal cut.

Jan M. Hollis, Ellicott City

What's wrong with a feel-good love story?

Film critic Ann Hornaday needs to "lighten up." I can only explain her junking "You've Got Mail" because she saw it at a private screening. Had she had the opportunity to observe regular people (18.5 million in the first week) leaving the movie teary-eyed and feeling good, she might have came to another conclusion.

Sure it's predictible, corny and schmaltzy -- and it may not be as good as the original -- but come on, one star? Give me a break.

Ms. Hornaday called this movie "the most egregious cinematic travesty of the year." Most other critics seem to like the movie or at least accept it for what it is. We should never get so cynical that we can't see the virtue or redeeming value in something that makes us feel good (assuming, of course, that it's not illegal).

We say "hooray" for boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl and happy endings.

Larry M. Wolf, Columbia

Different view on B-1 bomber

I have to correct some of the assertions Greg Schneider made in an article on the B-1 bomber, which was used for the first time last week.

Of course, the radar system for this bomber is made at Northrop Grumman in Linthicum. This is the "sophisticated electronics system that was supposed to allow the supersonic jet to fly low and hidden from [enemy] radar," to which Mr. Schneider refers. This radar system, contrary to his assertion, works well and has done so for years.

The flawed system is, of course, the defensive system or jammer. This system has failed consistently and is slated to be replaced. It is for this reason, and not because of the radar, that the B-1 needed to be "escorted" by other planes with working jammers. This jammer, or Electronic Counter Measures, system has nothing to do with flying high or low, though of course it does help in staying hidden from enemy radar.

One other thing. The B-2 bomber has been in development for 20 years, as has the B-1. The B-1 jammer problem could not have led to the development of the B-2, as Mr. Schneider asserts, because both initiated production within months of one another in the early 1980s. In fact, production of the B-2 was actually cut back over the course of the decade, as the Soviet Union declined and the cost of that system rose.

John Heasley, Ellicott City

Diversity's many colors

In addition to the "turmoil" going on within the higher education system in Maryland, The Sun occasionally has found time to dwell upon diversity. Unfortunately, in The Sun's eyes, the problem is only a black and white one (Aug. 9).

Yet in an article (Outlook, May 8, 1995) concerning a task force's look at minorities, the emphasis was broader. One task force member noted that "at Maryland, minority groups still compete for resources, stimulated by the fact that the university previously only acknowledged the existence of one minority, African Americans." The Sun seems to hold that view.

Suggested was the creation of a "multicultural center for Asian, Hispanic and Native American faculty, students and staff." Isn't this what we are trying to overcome, more segregation?

The task force found that Hispanic and Native American students were underrepresented, while Asians were doing quite well. Also, the lack of courses aimed at the cultural backgrounds of these three minorities was considered a negative. The task force recommended "recruiting of more Hispanic and Native Americans" and "encouraging Asians to enter majors in which they are under-represented." What gall.

R. D. Bush, Columbia

Why the concerns over Freedom House?

You have reported much lately on the divestment of properties from our state mental hospitals. Juxtaposed is a report by Mary Gail Hare ("Closing of home for mentally ill criticized," Dec. 1), informing your readers of a decision by the state to close Freedom House, a community of 40 chronic, mentally ill citizens at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

Clinical and cost justifications for this dispersion seem very questionable, and the views of the residents and staff, including front-line doctors, count for little. Rather, a need to move residents into "the least restrictive environment" is cited repeatedly by administrators. Whence the pressure? What is so restrictive about Freedom House? Is it because it is located on state property, perhaps inconveniently so?

As a relative of a resident, a question rises in my mind: Might the notorious enclosures in Britain beginning in the 15th and 16th centuries afford an analogy? Then, the price of wool rose, the people were evicted from the land with Parliament's blessing, and sheep were brought in. Suffering was great and widespread.

Now, the price and attractiveness of prime state land rises, the vulnerable proposed abolition of Freedom House and the state's drive for deinstitutionalization make me wonder.

Lucille C. Schilling,Columbia

Pub Date: 1/03/99

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