Young LifeEditor: I am responding to a letter to the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 23, 1992

Young Life

Editor: I am responding to a letter to the editor in the Feb. 14 headlined, ''Sex, Drugs and Religion,'' by Marilyn Pauline Robbins of Baltimore.

Ms. Robbins expressed a sincere concern for the children in our middle and high schools that I deeply share. She also, however, expressed certain things about the organization Young Life that she claimed to ''know'' to be the truth. Unfortunately, Ms. Robbins must be the victim of some misinformation.

In her letter, Ms. Robbins stated, ''I know that in Baltimore County public schools, Young Life, Campus Crusade and prayer groups meet in the middle and high schools and that they are initiated and led by teachers and staff.'' She also concluded that this places pressure on students of these teachers to become involved in such activities.

To set the record straight: (1) No Young Life meetings are held in any middle or high schools in Baltimore, and (2) no teachers are involved with their students as leaders of any Young Life group.

More troubling were Ms. Robbins' charges that Young Life had )) ''fundamentalist'' and ''right-wing'' religious and political agendas which it ''subtly fed'' to young people. Nothing could be further from the truth. The leadership and support base of Young Life represents a broad diversity of Christian traditions and political values, Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Democrat.

The principles that bring unity to Young Life are a deep belief in basic Christian values and a deep care and concern for young people and the enormous problems they face.

There are two places in our society where traditional values have been taught and re-enforced, the family and the church. Today, less than 23 percent of all young people nationwide are involved in any church. Young Life seeks to help fill this void.

Finally, Ms. Robbins' main concern seemed to center on the middle-school-aged children. Although we are involved with a large number of high school students in many different communities throughout Baltimore County and Baltimore City, the only work in which we are currently engaged with middle school children is a partnership between Young Life and St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic church in Patterson Park.

I think that it would be less than accurate to characterize St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church or Young Life as ''fundamentalist'' or ''right wing.''

aniel O'Brien.

Timonium.

The writer is area director of Young Life Baltimore.

Irish Benefits

Editor: The characterization of Irish immigrants to the U.S. as mere "economic immigrants," as implied by your Feb. 4 editorial cartoon, does no justice to the conditions in either country at the time of massive Irish immigration. First, many Irish came to America well before the infamous famine of the 1860s. Distinguished early Irish-Americans ranged from John Barry to Daniel Boone.

Second, for centuries the Irish in Ireland endured political persecution and genocidal policies unparalleled in human history. At various times they were forbidden to vote, to hold property, to speak their native language, to worship in their own way, even to be taught to read and write. True, millions left during the great famine. However, the great famine would not have occurred had the Irish been allowed to consume food raised in their own land and sold at a big profit as exports. It matters little whether an oppressive government kills you quickly with a bullet or slowly with starvation, you are still fleeing to save your life.

Sadly, political, economic and social oppression of a religious minority continues in the six Irish counties still under foreign control.

Finally, and perhaps most pertinently, the Irish immigration of the 1860s came at a time when America needed workers. The Irish came not to occupy slots on the welfare rolls but to build the railroads, dig in the mines, settle the West and fight and die for the Union in the Irish Brigade. They were treated with contempt in many cases, but allowed to come because their labor was needed. If we needed workers today, and the immigrants came prepared to work, then they would be welcomed also.

What was the name of the ship in your anti-Irish cartoon this morning? Was it perhaps "The Four Sullivans?"

John R. Culleton Jr.

Sykesville.

Without Marines

Editor: In his Feb. 13 column, Jeffrey Record argues that amphibious capability is still important militarily and hence that continued existence of the Marine Corps is essential. This is a non sequitur.

The U.S. Army has conducted the greatest amphibious operations in all history -- almost always without the help of a single amphibious Marine. In World War II, the Army used assault Marines only in the invasion of Okinawa. On the other hand, relatively small operations conducted by the Navy have often included Army troops, as well as sailors fighting ashore.

The Marine Corps specialty is propaganda -- the telling of lies tending to injure national defense by belittling Army soldiers and sailors.

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