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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Fundamentalists strive to impose sectarian beliefs

The growing danger from religious fundamentalists in this country is truly terrifying and should be obvious to all ("For Christian right, rallying cry rises from Ten Commandments," Aug. 24).

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If a non-Christian group were as intent on imposing its beliefs on society as the Christian right is, there would be an enormous hue and cry.

We are a society of many beliefs, including those who believe in humankind but not a supernatural creator.

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It is imperative that all these beliefs be respected, and that the government not be seen as endorsing any of these beliefs as superior, lest we eventually turn into a country such as Afghanistan under the Taliban or the Middle Eastern countries whose theocratic rulers are our sworn enemies.

Sue Feder

Towson

I am sickened at the intolerant and persistent efforts of some narrow-minded religious zealots to use government or public facilities to push their religious beliefs down the throats of the rest of us.

No, not all of us regard any version of the Ten Commandments as holy or worthy of emulation in its entirety. And certainly many of us are not so brazen as to insist that public buildings contain monument to our specific religious beliefs (or, in my case, to atheism).

Obviously, these zealots would not be content with having a permanent monuments to themselves and their beliefs in any particular government building. Those who are so certain of what's good for us would want such monuments everywhere. Next for them would come the required parroting of their religion by all children in our public schools.

I'm sure they are looking forward to the day when they get a Supreme Court that would permit it and turn us into a theocracy. And sadly, we're probably just a few Supreme Court appointments away from them getting their way.

Kenneth A. Stevens

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Savage

Christian principles ground legal system

The Sun accuses Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore of being "small-minded" ("Monumental demagoguery," editorial, Aug. 22). But The Sun doesn't seem to recognize that the foundations of our government and legal system are firmly rooted in Christian doctrine.

The debate is not whether America today is a "multicultural, multiethnic society [where] there is a great variety if religious traditions." That is self-evident. The debate is about the recognition of the source of our founding principles and laws. And it is the Ten Commandments and other Judeo-Christian standards that are those founding principles.

America may be a melting pot of races and religions, but its founders were adherents to Christian ideals.

Scott Appelbaum

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Catonsville

Let's thank Alabama Judge Roy Moore for exposing the virtual atheism of revisionist American jurisprudence. Now everyone can see the ugliness of arbitrary court judgments that lack any transcendent rationale for compliance.

With the God-based law of such "relics" as the Declaration and the Constitution (as traditionally interpreted) out of the way, we will be free to bestow divinity upon any object of our choosing, use language without regard to reality, take innocent life, destroy others' marriages, steal others' property, commit perjury and enjoy imagining unlawful acts.

Charles Clough

Bel Air

Basilica project also violates Constitution

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The Sun's editorial on a Denver ballot question was absolutely correct in stating, "Let's not ask taxpayers anywhere to pay for it [transcendental meditation]" ("Meditate - or else," Aug. 25).

Perhaps The Sun could now write a similar editorial stating that no taxpayers anywhere should pay for repairs to the basilica, a Baltimore Roman Catholic church ("Basilica finds itself at center of constitutional quandary," Aug. 24).

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted to avoid such nonsense.

Luther B. Miller Jr.

Timonium

California no model for tax structure

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Former basketball coach Lefty Driesell once challenged the University of Maryland to become the "UCLA of the East." The editorial "Cracking the shells" (Aug. 21) called on Maryland to become the California of the East on business taxes. Frankly, Mr. Driesell's idea was better.

California is an economic basket case. Thousands of jobs, businesses and citizens are tax refugees of the former Golden State.

Maryland families can't afford for Annapolis to emulate a California-style tax structure that kills jobs and deters investment.

Joseph R. Crosby

Washington

The writer is legislative director of the Council on State Taxation (COST).

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Follow the example of low-tax Delaware

The Sun's editorial "Cracking the shells" (Aug. 21) calls companies diverting Maryland-made profits to Delaware to avoid taxation a problem and suggests that this practice significantly worsens Maryland's deficit. But in calling for stricter profit taxation, The Sun suggests a step in the wrong direction that would exacerbate the problem. What we need is not more requirements on business but fewer.

The question is one of incentives. And the problem is a confusion between tax rates and tax revenue.

Much evidence supports theories that lower tax rates actually yield more total tax revenue because when companies lose less of their profit in taxes, they tend to produce more at lower cost. And such changes have positive implications for economic growth.

If Marylanders want to solve the deficit problem, we should follow Delaware's example of lower taxes that produce more tax revenue.

Tim Stonesifer

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Westminster

Voting machines need clear audit trail

"A Vote of No Confidence" (Aug. 25) describes the valuable effort by a group of Johns Hopkins computer scientists to evaluate the software security coding in the Diebold Election Systems voting machines. But it should be made clear that even if Avi Rubin and his team themselves rewrote the security code, it would still be vulnerable to change by another group of scientists.

Without a voter-verified audit trail that allows quick re-verification upon demand, direct-recording election hardware cannot be secured and can never be reliable.

Richard Tatlow

Marriottsville

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Feature all soldiers who are killed in Iraq

Thank you for printing information about the Maryland reservist killed in Iraq ("Reservist from Md. is killed in Iraq," Aug. 23). But it seems to me each American soldier killed in Iraq should be on the front page of all papers to show our support for our soldiers.

I think there should be a full page with photos of all of the soldiers killed, along with their names, where they are from, other details and where people can send cards and gifts to show their sympathy and support.

B. A. Zalesky

Columbia


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