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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Holiday adapts to meet the needs of diverse society

I feel sorry for Cal Thomas, and anyone who sees himself as among the "us" mentioned in his column "Let's take back Christmas" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 15).

During my childhood in a small community where I never met a non-Christian, it did not seem strange that the Christmas program at school shared many of the elements of the one at church.

But now that I live in a more diverse community, where my children's schoolmates come from several different religious backgrounds, I would be surprised to see Jesus override Santa Claus at a school's Christmas presentation.

Instead of having a state church, America has freedom of religion.

Christmas has not been taken away from "us"; it's just that the "us" has become larger.

Perhaps Mr. Thomas and folks who share his feelings should forget about what has been "taken," and instead join their fellow Christians in celebrating what their Bible says has been given to them.

And certainly the rest of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, can still unite in the hope of peace on Earth, good will toward men.

Jeffry D. Mueller

Eldersburg

Putting the Christ back in Christmas

Thank you for having the guts to print Cal Thomas' column "Let's take back Christmas" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 15).

It's so rare for anyone nowadays in the regular media to talk about the fact that God actually exists, much less the related beliefs Mr. Thomas so articulately spells out.

I suspect - I hope - that this column will go down in history as one that dared to speak of these things in atheistic times, and the one that rallied believing people to take actions to put Christ back in the sacred holiday season.

Stephanie Panos Link

Hampstead

'Merry Christmas' can be exclusionary

I write to those who feel "Happy Holidays" is a watered-down, unacceptable replacement for "Merry Christmas," particularly to those threatening a boycott of retailers who will not follow the new political correctness ("Conservatives campaign for religious meaning of Christmas," Dec. 19).

I am Jewish. When people wish me a "Merry Christmas," I smile and return the wish, knowing and sharing their good intentions.

When I see a business wishing customers a "Merry Christmas," several possibilities go through my mind.

Perhaps the business affirmatively does not want to wish me a "Happy Hanukkah," which seems pretty unlikely.

Or more likely, the owner is merely expressing his or her joy for this wonderful holiday - which is great - but hasn't given a thought to potential customers who are not Christmas celebrants.

I'm sure there are other possibilities but, I confess, I can't imagine any that would make me feel welcomed by the store.

I respect the right to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas."

But sometimes, despite good intentions, the "Merry Christmas" wish makes some non-Christians feel excluded and uncomfortable.

Dan Shemer

Lutherville

Protecting profits at public's expense

President Bush should concentrate on making the Food and Drug Administration the consumer protection regulatory agency it was intended to be, rather than the marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry it has become.

But alas, Mr. Bush, at the behest of his good friends in that industry, is intent on denying us the ability to import drugs from overseas because, he says, their safety can not be guaranteed ("Importing drugs safely is too costly, panel says," Dec. 22).

We all know the real reason is that the pharmaceutical giants don't want their obscene profits compromised by pesky seniors daring to purchase drugs elsewhere because they can't afford the price-gouging in their own country.

The hypocrisy and double-dealing of this administration is breathtaking.

Maria Allwine

Baltimore

Ruining a section and Sunday's comics

Why did you have to ruin The Sun's Today section? And ruin the Sunday comics by removing "Mark Trail" and "Prince Valiant"?

The "Prince Valiant" strip is one I had read since I was a child, and I will be 80 at the end of the year.

There were a lot of junk comics that The Sun could have removed. But I guess it doesn't mind losing another customer.

Jerome Foracappo

Baltimore

Cost-cutting changes cost Sun its stature

As a long-time Sun subscriber, I appreciate public editor Paul Moore's honesty in acknowledging The Sun's failure to level with readers about the extent of recent cutbacks ("Readers deserved better account of changes," Dec. 19). Clearly, as Mr. Moore notes, the driving force behind these changes (euphemistically called a "revamping") was simple - cost-cutting.

I agree completely with other Sun readers who believe these draconian cuts would never have occurred were the paper still locally owned, or if it still had to compete with another local daily.

I haven't decided yet about canceling my subscription. But I can tell you that The Sun's once-great reputation has been sullied by these crass, money-driven cuts, and it will be a long time, if ever, before it regains the stature and trust it once deserved.

In the meantime, these cost-cutting moves need to be reconsidered - and soon.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Sun's puzzle kept aging brain nimble

I am 76 years old and need The Sun's crossword puzzle to keep my brain stretched.

The crossword puzzle was my main reason for subscribing to The Sun, because the news is so upsetting.

Harley Dishon

Essex

Normal birthing after a C-section

As a mother of two (my first delivery being a C-section delivery and my second a vaginal birth after Caesarean), I was happy to read The Sun's well-written and balanced article "After Caesarean, dangers of normal birth found low" (Dec. 15).

The recovery from the Caesarean of my first birth was traumatic, to say the least. It took me almost a year to heal.

This time, I was blessed to have another wonderful doctor who has a very low C-section rate and who was willing to work with me so that I could have every chance to have a vaginal birth.

Four weeks ago, I gave birth to a big, bouncy, 9-pound, 4-ounce boy - naturally. Today, I am almost completely back to myself.

More women need to know that they too have the option of such a birth.

Danielle S. Storch

Baltimore

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