Religious RightIronically, Wayne Liberati's June 30 letter...


July 17, 1994

Religious Right

Ironically, Wayne Liberati's June 30 letter castigating Jack Germond and Jules Witcover for "missing the point" is a perfect illustration of precisely the point your columnists were trying to // make in their June 23 commentary.

In coining the phrase "irreligious left," Mr. Liberati would have us believe that anyone who disagrees with his conservative Christian viewpoint is not only wrong, but ungodly. That has become an all-too-common message from the religious right. Therein lies the danger.

There are plenty of people holding views that range from moderate to liberal who would be surprised to learn that their faith isn't every bit as strong as Mr. Liberati's.

There are good Christians -- and the faithful of other religions as well -- who support President Clinton, who are pro-choice, who believe in gay rights and who vote for Democratic candidates.

Many of us who have been railing against the religious right do not begrudge our conservative neighbors their beliefs. We do, however, vigorously oppose having exclusivity foisted upon us by groups that would use the political process to codify their religious beliefs.

There is danger in blurring the line that separates church and state. Mr. Germond and Mr. Witcover spoke truthfully and eloquently of that danger.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young once wisely noted that America isn't a melting pot after all, it is a kettle of stew.

Our nation draws strength from its diversity, not in spite of it. We will never find ourselves, as a society, of one mind.

But we can learn to disagree with those whose beliefs differ from our own without disrespecting them or their beliefs. That is the point.

James R. Moody


Episcopal Renewal

Frank P. L. Somerville's timely and thorough account (Religion Notes, July 7) of the Vestry of Saint Paul's resolution to seek rapprochement with our extended ecclesiastical family, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, is much appreciated.

Having been established as a Church of England Parish in 1692, Old Saint Paul's -- the so-called Mother Church of Baltimore, the oldest religious institution in the city -- is one of 30 Episcopal parishes that pre-date the diocese of Maryland by almost 100 years.

Our vestry resolution of June 19 seeks to reassure our Episcopalian brothers and sisters in Maryland of this vestry's desire to work within diocesan structures for change in the way ** in which the Episcopal Church represents itself.

We espouse the Christian doctrine and discipline of our Anglican heritage, not any secular social ideology.

In recent years, members of Saint Paul's have protested the latter in a variety of ways. Our vestry has also exercised "civil disobedience" by declining to conform to diocesan assessment procedures.

Like virtually all denominations, the Episcopal Church at the close of the second millennium is experiencing a shaking of theological and organizational foundations. In the coming years, orthodox Christianity may face widespread institutional realignment.

In this period of transition prior to electing the next Bishop of Maryland, Saint Paul's calls on its members, corporately and individually, to make constructive if sometimes necessarily critical witness within the present diocesan system.

Our hope and prayer are that the Episcopal Church at the diocesan and national levels will prove open to intramural reform and renewal.

$Rev. William N. McKeachie


At Katyn

There is a big mistake in the article "Jewish gift monument to slain Polish Catholics" in the July 7 article by Frank P. L. Somerville.

Somebody didn't tell the Jewish donors that among the thousands of murdered Polish officers at Katyn and other sites in the former Soviet Union, there were at least some 700 Polish officers who were Jewish. Among them was the chief rabbi of the Polish army.

All those officers were what one could call the flower of Polish Jewry; they were reserve officers, teachers, physicians, bankers and so on. So in a way, the Baltimore Jewish community remembers them also, if unknowingly.

I hope Darrell D. Friedman, president of the Associated Jewish Community Federation, will not mind my correction.

Eve Kristine Belfoure


Curran's Office

In response to a July 4 letter to the editor, I am writing in support of the efforts of Attorney General Joseph Curran and the A. G.'s Consumer Protection Division.

On a number of occasions, I have sought the assistance of the Consumer Protection Division (most recently when the ownership of my health club changed) and have always benefited from the legal advice received.

Once an auto repair shop recommended expensive, unnecessary repairs to my car; I called the attorney general's office to report the incident.

It used the information I provided as part of an investigation it was conducting. Several months later I read that a number of shops were prosecuted for such offenses.

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