Prayer Isn't Proper In The Public SchoolsI found David...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 30, 1993

Prayer Isn't Proper In The Public Schools

I found David Raupp's column on Pat Robertson (The Evening Sun, May 13) to be alarming. Pat Robertson certainly has twisted the Supreme Court's ruling on prayer at graduation ceremonies to fit his own purposes.

Don't people realize that prayer is a form of worship? Since when do we knowingly provide public support for religious worship? The answer is when we want to proselytize.

We were doing something wrong, it was brought to our attention and now we should accept that fact and go on. No one should be forced to participate in or listen to forms of worship (nor be subjected to religious proselytizing) without his or her informed consent.

It is doubtful that public school students can give informed consent considering the maturity level and the coercive environment of public schools. . . . Not only are students legally required to attend school until age 16, but also there are significant societal pressures to obtain a high school diploma as a minimal requirement for employment. . . .

Additionally, a typical student body is made up of individuals who are less able to deal with emotional and peer pressures than more mature individuals. In fact, peer pressure is accentuated in such a captive audience. . . .

Pat Robertson is dead wrong about this issue, and I am glad that Farmer City residents wouldn't be "slickered," as they might still say in that neck of the woods.

Dan Bridgewater

Westminster

Davis' Sentence

As a libertarian, I believe in the rights of the individual to live in whatever manner they choose as long as they do not forcibly interfere with the rights of another individual.

I also believe that individuals must accept responsibility for their actions. Which brings me to Pamela Snowhite Davis receiving a two-year sentence for possessing about an ounce of marijuana.

The Sun's account has the prosecutor saying that the sentence was appropriate because Ms. Davis had to be held accountable for her actions.

I would agree with the prosecutor completely if I had seen any evidence in the newspaper accounts of this story that Ms. Davis' actions had had any effect on anyone other than herself. Since they did not, the sentence is preposterous. The fact that she had her home raided and then was tried at all is preposterous.

If there was ever a case that showed the fallacy of the "war on drugs," this must be it. Everyone should think of Ms. Davis sitting in a jail cell at the taxpayers' expense the next time a convicted murderer or rapist is paroled early due to prison overcrowding. . . .

Kevin Schaefer

Ellicott City

Arbor Month

Over the past few years, Arbor Day has virtually evolved into Arbor Month throughout the county and its eight municipalities. In the flurry of activities, thank you's too often are forgotten and, in this case, remembered belatedly.

The Carroll County Division of Landscape and Forest Conservation would like to formally thank The Sun for its extensive written and photographic coverage of the many ceremonies and activities which occurred county-wide. There are far too many individuals to attempt mentioning their names. . . . Special recognition must be given to the Manchester Volunteer Fire Company for allowing the county to use its activities center for its countywide ceremony, and to the chairpersons of the tree commissions, Mr. Leo Hastings in Hampstead, Mr. Bob Flickinger in Taneytown, Ms. Linda Donaldson in New Windsor, Mr. Joe Barley in Westminster and Mr. Emile Deckert in Manchester. Maryland Arborist's Association members donated serval trees and pruning services around the county.

Arbor Month activities could not be possible without the assistance of four very special individuals in Carroll County: Ms. Rebecca Orenstein, Ms. Jackie Hyatt, Ms. Charlotte Collette and Ms. Donna Baker. Their profound leadership and planning throughout the year provide the basis for the many planned tree plantings and management plans which occur year-round. . . .

There continues to be many arbor-related activities happening in Carroll communities. My hope is that the spirit of environmental concern and volunteer efforts, the basis for these successes, will continue for many years to come. To quote an anonymous forester: "The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the next best time is to plant one today."

Neil Ridgley

Westminster

The writer is program manager for the Division of Landscape and Forest Conservation of the Carroll County Office of Environmental Services.

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