Letters to the editor - 3/4/03

March 04, 2003

We're protected from religion, too

To the editor:

I must refute the spirit of Ed James' letter of Feb. 23. State Sen. Grosfeld is not so much offended by Christian prayer as she is concerned that Christian clergy is violating procedures for public prayer set forth in "Guidelines for Civic Occasions."

Senate prayers are to be inclusive and non-sectarian. Having a captive audience, the clergy should be sensitive to the variety of beliefs and non-beliefs of those present. By proselytizing a personal religion, the clergy is promoting contention.

Religious tolerance means to have an objective and fair attitude toward religions that differ from one's own. Christians are the most tolerated public group in our country. One can be tolerant of Christians without having to participate in or be subjected to their practices, Yes, Americans continue to have free expression of religion. However, we do not have the right to exercise this religion on those who do not want to receive it.


The time has come for the Maryland Senate to stop the obligatory prayer to open sessions. Those Senators who need to communicate with the supernatural to guide them in their Senate activities should pray prior to the opening of the session. Perhaps the Senate should take heed from the House of Delegates and open sessions with a secular word of wisdom and encouragement.

If Christian clergy cannot separate faith-based callings from the honor of opening the Senate session with proper public prayer, the clergy should graciously decline the invitation. It is not a problem of intolerance, Mr. James. It is about doing the right thing.

Karlen Keto


One-track beast

To the editor:

It seems that Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Charley Reese were asked to write about elephants.

Jennings, being from Canada, wrote "Elephants, The Use of Them In The Arctic Circle."

Rather wrote about "Elephants and Their Use In War."

Brokaw wrote about "The Elephant In World War II."

Charley Reese wrote about "The Elephant And The Israeli Problem."

Laurence Sharpe


Meeting far from home

To the editor:

I read the interesting article about Speener Hose the other day and it brought back a few memories I have of him. I must say that if he was just a kid when he went into the Navy - I must have been an infant.

I was a not-too-bright 15-year-old when I landed in New Guinea. I was a land-based Navy guy who was helping build pontoon dry docks in Milne Bay. After a couple of months there, I was transferred to Buna, New Guinea, as a replacement on an LCT landing craft.

The first question always asked of new crew members was, "Where is home?" When I said I was from Hagerstown, Md., one of the crewmen, Bob Ward, said there was a guy on another boat from there. It was Speener Hose. We saw a lot of each other since the boats traveled in what was known as a flotilla, six or more at a time, escorted by a Navy submarine chaser.

Our range was something less than 1,000 miles before we needed to refuel. We covered a lot of the South Pacific before winding up in Ulithi Atoll servicing the 7th fleet. I, too, left the service in 1946.

I still see Speener occasionally and he always seems to be doing something for veterans and we usually get around to asking about our old buddy, Bob Ward, who was from Rochester, N.Y. We lost track of him years ago, but the memories of the war and old shipmates remain. Keep up the good work, Speener, there are fewer of us left every year.

Lindy McNamee


Webmaster's Note: The following letter was inadvertantly omitted from our web edition on 2/23/2003. We apologize for the omission.:

How can inmates pay anyone anything?

To the editor:

This is in response to Randy Turner's letter. "Inmates should pay their

support." I am an inmate, and a subscriber to The Herald-Mail. I read

this letter of his with a different view.

Inmates already have enough problems. We lose everything we owned on the

streets - clothes, electronics, furniture, vehicles. Our credit is

immediately ruined, with added late fees and interest.

Most of us receive our divorce papers shortly after getting here. We get

jobs here. My job that I work five days a week pays me 90 cents a day. A

bar of soap here is 80 cents. I work hard all day for a bar of soap.

When they tell you, "Don't drop the soap in the shower," it's because of

the cost.

So 90 cents, 20 days a month comes to $18. Oh, you say the state gives

you free soap here. No such luck. Yes they give you one free bar when

you get here. And that's the last free one you will ever see. Everything

you get in your initial welcome package here must be replaced by buying

it at the commissary.

And I mean everything - from socks and underwear to soap powder. Where

in my portfolio do I have room for child support? After several years in

here, nothing can be saved. How can you? Every time you turn around a

shoelace breaks, and they are $1 a pair.

When it comes time to leave here, the state takes $6 every month from

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