From: Lloyd Westbrook
First Assembly of God
The recent articles printed concerning the assemblies with Herman Weaver seemed to bill those assemblies as "religious talks."
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but the bulk of Herman Weaver's talk was about drug and alcohol awarenessand the dangers of peer pressure.
He talked about his faith in God and how that had affected his life, but he clarified those words very clearly by saying, "You may not agree with what I say, or you might get offended and that's not my intent. But I need to tell you what happened in my life."
At the end, the students were clearly told that they did not have to fill out a card, but they could give any comments they wanted to.
Out of nearly 2,500 cards returned, probably85 percent to 90 percent of the comments were positive. Very, very few had anything to say about religion.
From East Middle, the ones that did ranged from "great! I love football and I love God and hate drugs" to "OK, not great. I didn't like the gospel junk."
We got comments that ranged from "totally cool" to "it was boring." The majority of students said they liked it, some said they didn't, but a number of comments are as follows: "It was important to come and explain your life and drugs to us."
Another student said, "I thought it was very convincing and I don't want to use alcohol and I never will."
Another said, "The assembly was great. I really liked it when he talked about drugs and drinking."
And another said, "It really mademe think about the choices in drugs and alcohol."
Christianity was not offered as the religion of the state, and the kids weren't preached to. Herman Weaver shared what happened to him, but all the preaching was against drugs, alcohol and peer pressure.
And the students picked up that message.
There are those of us in the community that believe Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and we say that without apology.
But we are also concerned about the hazards in the lives of young people and hope that sports heroes continue to rise up and address them.
READ THE CONSTITUTION
From: Richard Loper
Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are "endowedby our creator" with "certain inalienable rights."
Mr. Jefferson's contemporary and friend, George Washington, said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillarsof human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens."
If Jefferson and Washington were alive today and made suchstatements in a public school assembly they would, no doubt, be attacked by Jeff Griffith for violating the Constitution they helped frame.
In fact, if Mr. Griffith would take the time to read the Constitution he claims to uphold, he will discover that the First Amendmentmakes no mention of "the separation of church and state." That is a phrase that has come into use as a result of recent court rulings.
COUNTY POLICE COVERAGE
From: Gail Reilly Cross
I read with interest the article by Brian Sullam ("County urged to ask state for commitment on troopers," The Carroll County Sun, March 29) regarding Tom Hickman's statement that we should maintain the resident trooper program and Mr. (Morris L.) Krome's (chairman of the task force) statement that the county should make up its mind.
I agree with Mr. Krome, but I would like to add: Let the county make up its mindwith knowledge of the facts.
The crime rate, which is an annual figure published by the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit of the Maryland State Police states that crime has continued to increase in Carroll County.
And it has been told to me by law enforcement officials thatit will continue because of the easy access to Carroll County from the inner city, and our lack of nighttime coverage.
In the early 1980s, the resident trooper program in Carroll County served very well.The troopers patrolled the neighborhoods and were very active in thecommunity. Many residents and shopkeepers knew the resident troopersby name; they waved when they passed on the streets.
When you needed help, they responded quickly. The program worked well. Something changed, and I can only put my finger on one reason -- philosophy.
During Sam Sensabaugh's tenure as sheriff, there was a report done (I do not remember by whom), and the report recommended that Carroll County increase the number of police.
Sam Sensabaugh asked the commissioners to allow the Sheriff's Department to work as police in the communities to help the situation. The county commissioners said no, that the Sheriff's Department was to work in the courthouse, and thatwas its primary duty.
At the same time, the pressure for additional police prompted the Westminster State Police barracks commander tosay that all of the state police at the barracks would from that point on act as resident troopers.