Why we have the First AmendmentThe Founding Fathers were...

the Forum

January 18, 1991

Why we have the First Amendment

The Founding Fathers were responding to the imposition of state religion in Europe when they provided in the Bill of Rights that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

To quote Justice Hugo Black, the religion clause "reflected in the minds of early Americans a vivid mental picture of conditions and practices which they fervently wished to stamp out in order to preserve liberty."

Several of the colonies were founded as havens for religious groups that had been persecuted. Maryland, of course, was settled by Catholics for this very reason.

John Lofton's crude attempt to rewrite history and relegate to second-class status those who do not practice the majority religion (Forum, Jan. 8) would be summarily rejected by those who wrote and approved the First Amendment.

Samuel I. Rosenberg

The writer represents the 42nd District in the Maryland House of Delegates.


In your "On people" section of Jan. 3, you lead with a story on XTC the election of Shoshana Cardin to the presidency of a major Jewish organization. After extolling Mrs. Cardin's virtues of which there are many you end the article by pointing out that her husband was convicted of stealing in the savings and loan scandal.

I cannot understand the relevancy of the latter statement or why you chose to add that information in the article unless it was an attempt to demean Mrs. Cardin's accomplishment.

Pacy Oletsky



In a 1989 poll, Marylanders said that they would support, in the following order, new taxes to fund: feeding and medical care for poor children, housing for Maryland's homeless, public schools in poor communities, fighting the war on drugs, building and upgrading prisons and public transportation.

Yet the Schaefer administration, in this sad season of recession, is proposing just the opposite order of priorities. It is cutting programs devoted to medical care, homelessness, schools and drugs while continuing unabated in its transportation plans.

The citizens have their priorities straight. New, glitzy transportation programs which may one day benefit a few, but on which the citizens are not already dependent, must be the first to feel the belt tightening, not the last.

If Marylanders are to feel the bite of increased taxes, they should not be gasoline taxes to keep light rail going at any cost. New taxes should be directed toward the humanitarian needs that citizens recognize as being the first order of government.

Amy Macht


TM in jail

Regarding Raymond Sanchez' and John Fairhall's Dec. 28 article about the drug-crime connection, 90 percent of all felony prosecutions are drug-related, including 55 percent of Baltimore's murders.

A study of recidivism reported in the Journal of Criminal Justice in 1987 showed that 30 percent fewer male prisoners in the California Department of Corrections returned to prison after taking a course in Transcendental Meditation.

The TM program resulted in a savings of 60 man-years in prison, with each man-year worth about $20,000 in incarceration costs. In addition to the actual dollars saved was the reduction in human suffering by the victims of crime.

Mary Ellen Graybill


Get a transplant!

Your Jan. 9 editorial page depiction of President Bush sank to new depths. The time is ripe for your editorialists and Mike Lane, the creator of this tripe, to have a complete brain transplant.

William C. Mank

Glen Arm

Blame the liberals

What planet is Wiley Hall living on? In his Jan. 1 column, "Bleeding heart liberals offer sanity desperately needed in 1991," Mr. Hall blames "the crazed conservatives" for the increase in murders and other crimes during the last 15 years.

Maybe before Mr. Hall spews his political rhetoric and mistakes the truth, he should check his facts. For more than 15 years, a liberal Supreme Court has presided over the land. Congress has been predominantly liberal. Maryland, as a state, has some of the most liberal elected officials, both nationally and locally. Where are your "crazed conservatives," Mr. Hall? Blame the liberals for the problems, not the conservatives. I hope that in the future Mr. Hall's column is printed on softer paper, so us "crazed conservatives" can use it in a proper manner.

Ronald M. Szozybor


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