Abortion ConcernsI found the Aug. 12 letter of Charles C...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 03, 1992

Abortion Concerns

I found the Aug. 12 letter of Charles C. Worthington on abortion inaccurate, especially in his statement that "the Catholic Church was not concerned about abortion until around 1869. It would seem that abortion as murder was not revealed as part of God's law until relatively recently."

Evidence to the contrary is abundant. For example, as early as 80 A.D., before the death of St. John the Apostle, an early church handbook entitled "The Didache or The Instruction of the Apostles" admonished: "You shall not procure an abortion; you shall not destroy unborn human life."

"Do not murder a child by abortion or commit infanticide," warned Barnabas, an early bishop and traveling companion of St. Paul, in 130 A.D.

Forty years later, the Christian apologist Athenagoras wrote, in a letter to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius: "All will account to God for their abortions, as for the killing of men."

Similar admonitions were given in the early centuries of the church by such church fathers as Tertullian, Hyppolytus, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine.

Throughout the intervening centuries to the present, the church's position on this subject has been repeatedly stated and clarified. Evidence is available for any historian who honestly searches for it.

Charles J. Scheve

Towson

Changed Navy

In her Aug. 27 Opinion * Commentary article, "The Navy's Problem With Wine and Women," Mary Wertsch was wrong to say that the Navy's training on sexual harassment does not include the subject of alcohol abuse.

This is not yesterday's Navy or Marine Corps. What has struck me over the last few years is how little people in the naval services drink compared to their contemporaries in college.

I have completed the first phase of the naval services sexual harassment training, the mandatory standdown for all sailors and Marines. In point of fact, alcohol abuse received prominent attention in the standdown training.

Ms. Wertsch is like the sailor who, confronted by his chief with a discrepancy, said, "Chief, it's always been that way."

If she had bothered to ask about alcohol abuse training in today's naval services, she would have gotten this answer, "Until now, Ms. Wertsch!"

N. French Caldwell Jr.

Washington

The writer is a commander in the U.S. Navy. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Navy.

Assault Weapons

Your editorial of Aug. 18 supporting the efforts of Gov. William Donald Schaefer to ban assault weapons reflects a lack of knowledge of the subject on both your and Governor Schaefer's part.

A ban of assault weapons is not necessary. Fully-automatic weapons are now controlled by federal law requiring a license to purchase or own.

And it is already a federal felony to convert semi-automatic weapons to fully-automatic fire (i.e., to an assault weapon), punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Many normally rational citizens have been misled by the latest emotional ploy of anti-firearms activists in their efforts to gain an ultimate ban of all firearms, by combining semi-automatic weapons with full-automatic weapons in the category they call assault weapons.

Assault weapons are designed to be carried and used by troops in an assault charge to lay down rapid, fully-automatic fire on the enemy until they could close with the enemy.

Semi-automatic weapons are not satisfactory assault weapons since their rate of fire is insufficient to achieve the desired suppression of the enemy.

Semi-automatic weapons do not "spray" an area. Each round in a semi-automatic weapon must be squeezed off by a trigger pull, with a rate of fire only slightly greater than that of a bolt-action rifle.

We do not need more laws that harass and infringe on the freedoms of this nation. What we need is the enforcement of existing laws by our judicial system.

John Clark

Mt. Airy

Truman's Fight

Republicans at their recent convention repeatedly used Harry Truman's 1948 campaign against a "do-nothing 80th Congress" as a model for their efforts to get more sympathetic GOP candidates elected to the next Congress.

This year, however, speech writers for George Bush exhibited selective memories. The Congress against which Harry Truman campaigned had Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Edward F. Wilsey

Bel Air

Tax a la Russe

President Bush's idea to reduce the deficit by means of a tax return Chekhov is simply not Godunov.

M. Sigmund Shapiro

Baltimore

Smokers' Rights

I feel my rights have been violated.

On Aug. 20, my daughter's family and I went to my first ballgame at Camden Yards. We had nice lower box seats.

We were enjoying the game when the young lady sitting beside me got up and excused herself to get out. Next thing I know, the gentleman who seated us was telling me that I could not smoke there. If I wanted to smoke, I would have to get up and stand behind the alcove.

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