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Prayer not abhorrent, practiced by many of...


Prayer not abhorrent, practiced by many of various religions

Your editorial "Ruling for religious freedom" (June 21) is wrong in stating that the Supreme Court acted wisely in preventing student-led prayer prior to sports contests.

The Founding Fathers' intentions regarding the church-state separation issue obviously escaped the writer.

Sadder still is the deference paid by the writer to those who might find the idea of religious activity "abhorrent."

Finding prayer abhorrent? How many people could possibly fall into that category? Even most of the non-Christian population in this country, through their own faiths, look to some greater power or deity for spiritual guidance and communicate through prayer.

It would be an angry and mean-spirited person, like a Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who consciously "abhorred" such activity.

The rights of this minuscule minority are apparently of more concern to the author of your editorial than those of everyone else.

Charles H. Thornton


Police officers defended in shooting of suspect

I would like to commend Gregory Kane on his column "Denunciations in shootings by police are short on logic," (June 24) especially when the overwhelming majority of people are constantly jumping on the "police are always guilty" bandwagon.

To add more fuel to the fire we have men who have supposedly taken an oath to practice law ethically, crawling out of the woodwork with dollar signs tattooed on their foreheads to exploit an already tragic situation.

I had the sincere pleasure to work with Officers Barry Hamilton and Robert Quick when I was assigned to the Eastern District. In my opinion, they are two of this city police department's finest.

They both came to work each and every day with the intention of ridding the streets of its guns and drugs to make this city a little safer. Their demeanor and temperament was always one of respect and fairness to everyone.

To believe that these officers would chance throwing away their careers and destroying the lives of their families by standing on a public street in plain view and executing Larry Hubbard while he was screaming at the top of his lungs for mercy, doesn't make a bit of sense.

Neither does it make sense that the citizens of this city, who now more then ever are crying out for the assistance of the police, are some of the same ones who are first in line to condemn them.

I do not claim that everything we do as police is without fault. We are not a profession of angels. All we would like is the same benefit of doubt afforded everyone else and a chance to make a difference to the people of this city.

Sgt. John Paradise


Ukrainians share grave at Babi Yar

Was it not callous and unstudied of The Sun in three articles last week not to have mentioned that thousands of Ukrainians share a common grave with Jews at Babi Yar?

Yevgeny Yevtushenko writes poetry well, but John Steinbeck should be alive to correct his history again. In a letter to Mr. Yevtushenko, a charge by the poet that the United States was promoting the war in Vietnam was pointedly refuted by Steinbeck stating that the planes supplying the North Vietnamese bore Cyrillic identification on their wings.

Mr. Yevtushenko's history over the years has been that of a Soviet sycophant, not of an unimpassioned reviewer.

At the time of his writing "Babi Yar," Soviet nationalities problems were sufficiently advanced that Mr. Yevtushenko would not have dared to mention anti-Ukrainian policies in play then and which continue to this day.

Paul Fenchak


The writer is president of the Ukrainian Education Association of Maryland Inc.

Classroom in the sky taught Gettysburg history

As the person who coined the phrase "classroom in the sky" when the Gettysburg Tower was in its very early planning stage, I want to offer some perspective to the story.

When Silver Spring lawyer Tom Ottenstein came to our small (now long gone) Harrisburg-area marketing firm to describe his idea for an innovative way for people to gain a much broader sense of the Battle of Gettysburg, we knew that it was as much a commercial venture as it was educational.

However, Tom's idea was so bold and so imaginative that I recognized it to be one of those inspirations that deserved attention and realization.

We began to work toward that end, aware there was a lot of objection to the project. But when the national press picked up the story, the only thing it seemed my mother was proud of concerning her son was that his "classroom" phrase was used over and over.

So the tower had a quarter-century run and now it's gone.

Although the sanctity of all battlefields demands respect, the part of me that thought "classroom" still believes that one of the most effective ways to teach why a battlefield is sacred is to provide the broadest exposure to the greatest number of people.

Yes, it made money for its owners, but it gave hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world a great venue to learn about one of the most wrenching but noble events in U.S. history. That can't be all bad. Thank you, Tom Ottenstein.

Don Struke


Internet sales tax matter of fairness

Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's June 30 commentary ("State must levy tax on web sales") was right on the mark.

When you cut through all the high-tech mumbo jumbo, it all comes back to basic fairness, fairness to Maryland storefront merchants and their customers.

Why should customers of local merchants pay the sales tax, and not customers of, when all use the same schools, police and other community services?

Tom S. Saquella


The writer is president of the Maryland Retailers Association.

Take a closer look at Essex redevelopment

Del. James F. Ports of Perry Hall has apparently taken control of the "bait the county executive into a hostile forum" game.

Del. Diane DeCarlo has evidently passed the baton to someone who lives farther from the affected areas. Perry Hall is a long way from Essex. Mr. Ports, why the concern for an area that you live so far away from and don't have to see every day?

Ever spent a night in the Village of Tall Trees? If it is such a wonderful area, worthy of salvation from those mean old developers, why did your supporters hold their rally in Parkville? Why not "The Village"?

And where was this concern for the little guy when the government turned this area into a Section 8 ghetto? Everybody stood by quietly while that was happening. Crime rates soared, surrounding property values plummeted and nary a peep was heard from the local politicos. To anybody who thinks that the redevelopment of this blighted area is a bad idea, I ask you to do one simple thing: Ride down Old Eastern Avenue past the decrepit buildings. Turn at Josenhans Corner onto Back River Neck Road and just check it out for yourselves.

Take a leisurely drive through The Village and take a good look at what you are voting for. Just don't do it at night, since it could be dangerous.

If after this adventure you still believe that the status quo is preferable to marinas, shops, hotels and new houses, then vote it down. Just keep in mind that the redevelopment train may never pass this way again.

David Rupkey


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