ACLU offered alternatives to monument suit

The ACLU of Maryland recently filed a lawsuit seeking to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a public park in Frederick, because its location represents a government endorsement of religion in violation of the First Amendment.

In a Sun article about the suit, Frederick County Commissioner John L. Thompson Jr. said he wants the lawsuit to be resolved "on the merits" ("ACLU seeks removal of stone," Aug. 24). We agree.

That's why we were disappointed Mr. Thompson told a Sun reporter that the ACLU threatened to make the Frederick government "give in" by costing it "a lot of money."

The ACLU never said anything of the sort. In fact, after we were contacted by a Frederick resident troubled by the monument's location, the ACLU suggested several viable alternatives to avoid a lawsuit.

We hope that Mr. Thompson will let the case be resolved on its merits and will refrain from making further inaccurate accusations.

Susan Goering


The writer is executive director of the ACLU of Maryland.

Defending symbols of religion is right

I would like Baltimore attorney Dwight H. Sullivan to let the people of Frederick, as well as everyone else in Maryland, know what exactly are the "innumerable places in the city where the Ten Commandments could be erected that would spark no constitutional concern at all" ("ACLU seeks removal of stone," Aug. 24).

I am not a religious person but I have no problem walking by a memorial that carries words from the Bible, the Quran or any other religious book. I can walk right by and carry on with my day and not be offended in the slightest.

Yet people such as Mr. Sullivan and those in the ACLU decide just now that the stone is a violation of the separation of church and state. Why have they waited so long to make this an issue?

They need to lighten up and realize that this is a memorial erected almost a half-century ago that has lasted all that time without offending the First Amendment.

Bravo to County Commissioner John L. Thompson Jr. for standing up for one of our religious symbols.

Michael Ray Mason

Glen Burnie

Consult the people before attacking Iraq

The Bush administration, drumming up support for a war in Iraq, claims the evidence of Saddam Hussein's menace is beyond question. So why not share this evidence with congressional leaders?

Last week we were told Mr. Bush would listen to critics, consult with allies and inform the American people before any attack. Now we are assured White House lawyers see no constitutional problems with launching a pre-emptive invasion without congressional approval ("Cheney argues for war on Iraq," Aug. 27).

We should, I suppose, ignore for the moment that the administration's judgment on constitutional issues has been somewhat tarnished of late.

With each new appearance, Mr. Bush pushes us closer to war. If he pledges America's blood to what may be a decades-long commitment, he owes us not just an explanation, but a voice in the matter.

And, as the leader of a global superpower, Mr. Bush bears a responsibility to the world as well.

Timothy C. Rule


Don't blame Bush for oil dependency

I respect Thomas Friedman's commentaries on the Mideast. However, the suggestion in "Addiction to oil staves off democracy in the Arab world" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 27) that the "Bush-Cheney team has not lifted a finger to make us, or the Arab-Islamic world, less dependent on oil" is just not fair.

The administration's push to drill for oil in Alaska seeks to make us less dependent on oil from the Middle East.

And it isn't President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney buying all those SUVs.

Bill Voss


Donating embryos to couple is best

I was outraged after reading the article "Grants to support 'embryo adoption' " (Aug. 21).

The article states that officials from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are considering applying for a grant but "fear it will suggest that donating embryos to another couple is preferable to donating them for research or discarding them altogether."

How in the world could donating the embryos to an infertile couple not be preferable?

We are so worried about protecting our so-called "rights" that we don't even know what the true rights and wrongs are any more.

Sharon Mager


'Little girl' can be a term of respect

Call me "little girl," but treat me with respect. That's what state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has done for years, and I think I'm in a better position to know what he means than the current governor, who has accused Mr. Schaefer of being insensitive to women by calling them "little girls" ("Governor endorses Willis over Schaefer," Aug. 24).

I've worked for Mr. Schaefer for eight years and have been called "little girl" more than once. I know it's a sign of his respect, because you have to earn being called "little girl."

My work is as a speechwriter for Mr. Schaefer, a title that people have called an oxymoron. However, I've always felt this job is a partnership in which my ideas are listened to and treated as worthy.

And in fact Mr. Schaefer's cabinets have always had a large number of women and he has never stopped looking to us to participate in tough decisions - sometimes expecting us to accomplish what seems to be way over our heads.

Vicki Lathom


Why can't we control clouds?

Flooded cities, drought-stricken farms and flaming forests.

We can split the atom and fly to the moon. Why can't we move clouds and make them drop rain where we need it?

Henry Harlan


Thanks for the visit to children's ward

I am a middle-aged, working-class, white, male, labor union officer, conservative Republican, flag-waving American who emphasizes "under God" when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance; in short, I do not fit The Sun's target demographic.

While a typical letter from me might be politically motivated or defend my union and those who have chosen to serve the public safety, I write today in gratitude because The Sun's editorial page included "In the children's ward" (Aug. 24).

I will be humbly thanking God today (once again) for my own apparently healthy children and praying for those suffering injury, illness and disease. And, believe it or not, for the true gem in the pages of The Sun. Thank you.

Stephan G. Fugate


The writer is president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association.

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