Redefined FamilyEditor: The Memorial Day issue of The Sun...


June 08, 1991

Redefined Family

Editor: The Memorial Day issue of The Sun featured two connected commentaries. The matter at hand dealt not with remembering the war dead but with accounting for the peace-time casualties.

"Post-Marital Families," an editorial, and "Neighborhood Watches Children Slip Out of Control" by S.M. Khalid, focused on the reverberating aftershocks of the redefined family. "Family" translates to young women who continue to carelessly conceive, fathers in seed only and children who act out the results of an environment without boundaries and a home without a core. Baltimore, "The City That Reads," could now be known as "The City That Breeds."

We, the non-breeders, continue to passively sit on the taxpayer sidelines either "tish-tishing" or erroneously believing that all this does not really penetrate across the borders of our suburban enclaves. How wrong we are. In the interim, the educational system is in shambles, the prison system has become the next step after eighth grade and Baltimore City is becoming a battleground. The warriors get younger every year, as do the mothers.

We are stuck with myths about the sanctity of motherhood that no longer exist. What does exist is a problem long overdue for addressing. May I suggest that the education system, in conjunction with the hospital system, unite and use the school setting to teach young people the consequences of sexual carelessness. Birth control as a way of life is a far better alternative than birth as a way of death.

Clinics established in every middle and high school in the city are a positive and practical way to bring information and protective devices to children at risk of the perils of parenting. When the home relinquishes responsibility, outside agencies must assume the burden. Better this "burden" than the death of society as we think of it.

Betty Corwell.


No Muzzles

Editor: On May 31, you printed on the Opinion * Commentary page an article by a Sun writer -- Jerry Bembry -- which had absolutely terrifying implications.

Mr. Bembry was rebutting a previous article by Ken Hamblin, a Denver radio talk-show host who happens to be black, and who had the temerity to suggest that perhaps the social and economic evils that beset blacks today may not be solely the result of white racism.

What terrifies me, however, is Mr. Bembry's statement that newspapers should refuse to print articles like Ken Hamblin's, since they do not reinforce the black self-image as the historical victim.

The social problems afflicting this country today are enormous and deserve open and critical discussion. Muzzling opinion which does not support that held by the majority in the black community is not the answer.

George Deller.


Deer Creek

Editor: Thanks for mentioning the upcoming July 9 Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention in your recent May 24 editorial. Only, it's Deer Creek, not Deep Creek as reported.

Our old-time and bluegrass music festivals began 20 years ago on the shores of Deer Creek in Harford County. Through the years the conventions have been held in six different area locations. Today they are hosted at the lovely Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.

Walter Shook.

Baltimore. Editor: Your front-page article on the provocative Presbyterian sexuality report (June 2) is itself provocative, for it misrepresents the nature and intention of the report.

Your writer has culled from the 200-page document a handful of sensational statements, which are then listed completely out of context (e.g., that adolescent sexuality be determined ''on the basis of mutuality and consent'').

A careful reading of the Presbyterian report, ''Keeping Body and Soul Together,'' will show that it does not ''toss out'' traditional norms, as your article suggests. Instead, the report uncovers and critiques the patriarchal structures of American culture in order that the church might hear the voices of the disenfranchised.

It is worth noting that the voices we hear in this report are broadly based in American society, and that critical questions are raised. Why is it, for example, that male competitiveness and violence have kept men from the friendship and intimacy they so desperately need? Why is it that gays and lesbians are closeted by the church, when gay and lesbian relationships can be as loving, just and enduring as the best of heterosexual relationships?

The Presbyterian report addresses these questions (and many more) in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. The writers of this document do not ask that we accept their conclusions. In fact, the 203rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will not be voting on any of the report's more specific recommendations, as your article suggest, until the church has studied the document for a two-year period.

The writers of the document ask simply that members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) engage in a careful study of issues of sexuality over the next two years. It seems a modest request for so pressing a topic.

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