Boy Scout standards voluntary agreement, not case...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Boy Scout standards voluntary agreement, not case of tolerance

The recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Boy Scouts of America has created numerous protests, letters, articles and TV sound bites from both sides of the issue.

Virtually nowhere is the real issue being properly addressed. That is the blurring of the concepts of tolerance and acceptance. The United States was founded upon the principles of individual rights and tolerance for each other's ideas, beliefs and customs.

Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance. I tolerate homosexual individuals in society, as long as they do not attempt to force their lifestyle upon me. But I do not accept their lifestyle, and will not teach my children that it is normal, moral or in any way agreeable to me.

When my sons and I stand with the troop at the beginning of each meeting and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, we are affirming our willingness to comply with the standards of the Boy Scouts of America.

These are standards that we voluntarily agreed to accept and live by when we signed our names on our applications to join the B.S.A.

Those individuals who do not agree with these standards can find other organizations to join.

I find it remarkable that a number of youth and adult former scouts who went through various levels of the Boy Scouts organization were quite willing to lie while concealing the fact that they did not meet its standards.

If you can't abide by the standards of an organization, then you shouldn't be surprised when they eject you.

Robert N. Cadwalader

Linthicum

Organ donors needed to give the gift of life

According to the Transplant Resource Center (TRC) of Maryland, across the country 11 people die each day waiting for organs.

Locally, there are 2,400 people waiting for organs in Maryland. Of those 2,400, some 444 people are waiting for livers.

Nationally, more than 69,000 people are waiting for organs. Of those 69,000, 15,407 people are waiting for livers.

The only way this organ shortage can be rectified is for people to become organ donors.

Many people refrain from being donors because they feel attempts to save their life will be lessened. This is not true. Even though an individual has elected to be an organ donor, family members must give final approval before that person's organs are donated.

When you go to the Motor Vehicle Administration offices, please fill out an organ donation card. You can also receive additional information on organ donation by contacting the Transplant Resource Center (TRC) of Maryland (1-800-641-HERO) or at the Web site, www.mdtransplant.org.

Michele Stomps Hauser

Elkridge

C&D; Canal not cheaper or quicker than bay

Barry Rascovar's July 16 column "Sharpening knives for GOP Rep. Gilchrest" contains much inaccuracy. He obviously knows nothing about the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and its configurations.

His statement that "it's cheaper and quicker" to use the C&D; Canal is, using his own words, "flat-out wrong."

The canal is so narrow that two ships can't pass each other. Before a tanker enters from either end, the captain has to radio ahead and make sure no one else has started from the other end.

If one has, even by just a minute or two, that second ship has a wait which reaches hours. Why hours? Because the ships have to go so slowly through the canal.

Then, of course, the ships can't just plunge ahead even if the canal is empty at the time. They have to wait until a C&D-certified; pilot arrives to take the ship through. The tanker captains aren't allowed to do so. Again, another delay if one is not immediately available.

Now, is it so difficult to understand why the route through the Delaware Bay and around the Virginia cape is so appealing to the shippers?

Marty Morrison

Chestertown

Smaller seat space responsible for air rage

As a frequent business flier, I sympathize with airline employee concerns about air rage. But blaming it on alcohol consumption provides an overly convenient scapegoat ("Flight attendants worldwide protest 'air rage'," July 7).

I think that the airlines' profit-driven downsizing of the seat space allocated to passengers is far more responsible for air rage than alcohol consumption. The airline industry conveniently ignores the correlation between decreased passenger space and increase in air rage.

Try seeing how calm you feel when the steward announces "push back your seat and enjoy your flight" when the back of the chair in front of you ends up a few inches from your face.

John Cullen

Baltimore

NAACP, teacher unions thwart education vouchers

Gregory Kane's column on vouchers and the rather confusing stand the NAACP takes on vouchers for education illustrates the tragedy that is politics in America ("The speech that Bush should have delivered," July 12).

Mr. Kane noted two things about the voucher issue: Many black people tend to support it but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, like the Democratic Party, is strongly opposed to it.

Why? The logical answer is that the Democratic Party is in the hip pocket of the teachers unions, which oppose the voucher system because it would force them to compete like all other professionals.

The real tragedy here is that the alternative to the Democratic Party is even worse: The Republican Party is in the hip pocket of the gun lobby.

Dennis Olver

Baltimore

Conservation bill opens coast to offshore drilling

The July 17 op-ed article "Senate must vote to save open land," reminds me of my grandmother's caution that whenever something seems too good to be true it probably is. To which I might add, especially when it is the work of Congress.

What we have is a serious distortion of the stated intent of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA).

Title I of this much-touted deal would inevitably lead to the sacrifice of some of Alaska's most sensitive coastal waters to new offshore drilling and set the stage for lifting the annual congressional moratorium on leasing the Outer Continental Shelf, including the Mid-Atlantic.

I doubt that Maryland voters would be so enthusiastic about authorizing diversion of large chunks of federal revenue to facilitate the work of Big Oil in coastal waters. What are provisions like that doing in "the most significant piece of environmental legislation to move through Congress since the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts" anyway?

CARA could, and should, realize its promises of enabling parkland acquisition, preservation of wildlife habitat and efforts to restore the damage already done to coastal resources by offshore drilling. CARA could readily fulfill these promises without sacrificing new coastal waters to even more drilling.

The ultimate irony of CARA is that so many of those who claim to value parks and wildlife, such as the writers of the op-ed piece, are now apparently willing to accept the sacrifice of our marine environment as a precondition for obtaining the funding which the legislation promises.

Unless CARA is repaired, this bill will exchange money for the unacceptable sacrifice of the health and productivity of our coastal ecosystems, obviously not a viable tradeoff.

Vivian Newman

Marriottsville

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