LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Miller puts politics above proper policy

It's sad when, on the eve of the 2006 legislative session, the president of Maryland's Senate announces to members that GOP leaders are "going to be flying high, but we're going to get together and we're going to shoot them down. We're going to put them in the ground, and it'll be 10 years before they crawl out again" ("Veto battles point toward tough session," Jan. 11).

Call me crazy, but aren't our representatives in the Assembly supposed to be working on good policy for Maryland?

I see this statement as confirmation by Thomas V. Mike Miller that this is not the priority in Annapolis.

His comments are another example of how some of our elected officials waste our money and play ugly games instead of doing right by the people who have elected them.

The 2006 session will be tough. But I think it's important to remind those legislators who want to play games in spite of what they were elected to do that November might be even tougher for them.

Patt Parker

Dunkirk

The writer is president of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women.

Conservative clergy attack civil rights

As a Lutheran pastor, I was amused to learn that, according to Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr., I may be counted among the "evil enemies" seeking to take over our country ("Praying for legislators, the decisions they face," Jan. 9).

Why? Apparently because I do not walk lockstep with the agenda of some conservative Christians who seek an amendment to the state constitution excluding same-sex couples from the rights and responsibilities of civil unions or marriage.

To the contrary, I am one of more than 100 Christian and Jewish religious leaders in Maryland who signed a letter stating our strong opposition to Mr. Dwyer's legislation.

We recognize that protection of our constitutional rights is the domain of the judiciary, and that our rights should not be subject to popular vote.

Unfortunately, some Christian conservatives, clergy included, have learned that it's easy to raise money and secure votes by demonizing their opponents and fomenting a firestorm over issues like the "War on Christmas" and gay marriage.

For progressive-minded people of faith, however, the real work of God's kingdom is less glamorous, but more glorious: preaching good news for the poor and release for the prisoners, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, promoting peace rather than waging war and loving one another rather than casting stones in judgment.

The Rev. Gregg Knepp

Baltimore

The writer is pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Using city police as spies is foolish

As a Baltimore taxpayer, I question why our police officers were conscripted by the National Security Agency to track anti-war groups ("NSA used city police as trackers," Jan 13).

It's bad enough the NSA is wasting effort on folks such as the members of the American Friends Service Committee, as I don't believe they're engaged in terrorist activities.

It's time for the so-called Baltimore Intel Unit to be identified, investigated and disciplined for such an egregious violation of our rights.

We have plenty of real crime in this city. It's pathetic that resources were squandered on surveillance of peace activists.

As we face a real enemy dedicated to our destruction, it is reckless to waste energy monitoring "family day" picnics of Baltimore Pledge of Resistance.

R. N. Ellis

Baltimore

Debating the war a responsible act

In "Bush scolds critics of war" (Jan. 11), reporter James Gerstenzang describes President Bush criticizing "irresponsible debate" about the war in Iraq, then calling on critics to "stop questioning the motives that led him to invade Iraq in March 2003."

Mr. Bush could not be more wrong. In a free society, there is no such thing as irresponsible debate.

This unnecessary invasion and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq was based on lies from the beginning.

The war cries out for more debate, not less.

Ray Gordon

Baltimore

Reasonable exercise of executive power

I must take issue with the writer of the letter "No poll can cancel the right to privacy" (Jan. 10).

The conservatives of the United States are not simple-minded children who need to be told what to think. Neither do they need this letter writer's civics lesson.

The AP-Ipsos poll should be viewed for exactly what it is - a measure of how many Americans believe the use of warrantless domestic spying is an appropriate measure under these circumstances ("Domestic spying divides U.S.," Jan. 8).

That means that we who agree with the current policies of the president believe that it is not an attack on the Constitution but a reasonable exercise of executive authority under the circumstances of a war, the likes of which has never before been fought, against a type of enemy that has never before been encountered.

We are fighting an enemy who, to quote Gregory Kane's recent remarks, doesn't "give a tinker's damn about our civil liberties" ("Bush order to spy must be seen in perspective," Jan. 7). This enemy just wants to kill us.

I am much more concerned about that enemy's zeal to attack us than about the attack on our Constitution by the president that the liberals perceive.

William L. Opfer Jr.

Forest Hill

Even the president must obey the laws

I can't understand why or how so many people seem to miss the point regarding the wiretapping without a warrant authorized by the president ("Wiretaps block further attacks," letters, Jan. 10).

The issue, at least for me, is not that the wiretaps were conducted on U.S. citizens in an effort to thwart terrorists' efforts to attack our country, but the fact that the president apparently did not go through the proper process to accomplish his objective.

Sure, wiretaps may help prevent future attacks, and I think they should be conducted to fight terrorism. But to do this, the president must follow the established, legal procedure.

The president is not above the law. That's the point.

David E. McDaniels

Baltimore

A failure to respect values of Christians

I disagree with the premise of Kevin Cowherd's column "Unholy 'Daniel' ridicules family, not God" (Jan. 12).

Mr. Cowherd states that the show "doesn't ridicule God or religion, it ridicules whacked-out families."

But why is it fair game to depict Christians, a Christian family and, worse, a Christian clergyman's family in such a disrespectful way?

I'd bet that if the story were about a Muslim clergyman, for instance, and his dysfunctional family, there would have been such an outcry that the program would not have aired.

Also, as a Christian, I am deeply offended by Mr. Cowherd's flippant portrayal of Jesus.

Elizabeth G. Brown

Woodstock

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