IncredibleI read the story in The Sun Aug. 2, "Secondhand...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 14, 1994

Incredible

I read the story in The Sun Aug. 2, "Secondhand smoke will cause an estimated 47,000 deaths and about 150,000 non-fatal heart attacks . . ."

Truly incredible numbers! I am curious to know what are the indicators of secondhand-smoke death and heart attack.

How is this determined? Is there a doctor in the house? Truly incredible numbers!

Mike Eller

Baltimore

Moral Values

Is it any wonder that people seem so confused about "values" these days, when long and ponderous essays in newspapers express such views as found in "The Real Definition of Original Sin" by Ray Jenkins (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 2)?

He seems to say that since all human activity -- and especially commercial activity -- is fraught with some moral taint, why make any discriminations? And in "Technology and Judgment" on the same page the same day, Robert Burruss says that God and his moral judgment of man is a fiction for wimps, that no human impulses are capable of evaluation as "good" or "evil" -- they just exist, like the weather.

It seems that we have run hard and long away from the evils of moral absolutism, only to find ourselves mired in the quicksand of moral relativism.

To these authors I would answer that although it is difficult to make moral judgments, we must still try our best, with caution and humility.

In planning our pension fund investments, we can choose to avoid the most egregiously evil economic activities, such as providing a known poison (tobacco) to the public.

In deciding when to use weapons against other human beings, we can choose to employ them at least in resisting the most flagrant aggression, such as Saddam Hussein's incursion into Kuwait.

In making these moral judgments, we must be willing to incur some costs. But in refusing to make moral judgments, we lower ourselves to, as Mr. Burruss says, nothing more than forces of nature.

The making of ethical choices is what defines us as human beings. It would be well for our public education system to incorporate formal courses in ethics from the elementary years all through college.

We may not all come up with the same answers, but at least we will not be continuing to escape from the questions by asserting that there are no principles that human beings can follow.

Elizabeth A. Fixsen

Savage

No Gay Exemption

Edith Boggs' July 15 letter claims that objections to the acceptance of homosexuality "are not based on religious beliefs or political ideology, but on common sense, reason and the principles that have governed human relationships since time began."

The exact reverse is true. To judge a person just on his or her sexual preference defies common sense, reason and principle.

Religious beliefs and political ideology are in fact the major VTC roadblocks denying gays equal access, and they are contrary to all of the founding principles of our country.

Barry Goldwater put it well recently when he said "there was no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Fred Davis

Pasadena

Mr. Fortune

As with many others, I was both greatly warmed and saddened by the many fond memories left behind by the passing of Stu Kerr.

He and his many characters are a treasured part of my memory of growing up in the Baltimore area, memories which I will cherish always.

Notwithstanding these sentiments, his July 18 obituary might have left the impression among readers that he was the one and only host, Mr. Fortune, on the "Dialing for Dollars" program which ended in 1977 after a long stint on television.

In fact, Jack Wells was the original Mr. Fortune on television here in Baltimore at WMAR from circa 1952 to 1957.

Stu Kerr replaced Jack Wells when the latter began his very popular, as well as the first, Baltimore television morning show on WJZ-TV in 1957.

Jack Wells, a native Baltimorean, left this area in 1963 to work successfully in Hollywood, where he now resides.

To the best of my knowledge, Stu Kerr and Jack Wells were the only individuals to assume the role of Mr. Fortune during the entire history of television in this area.

James C. DeWald

Baltimore

Abortionists Are Like Hitler and Stalin

Sara Engram (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 7) would have us believe that something Pat Robertson said more than four years ago inspired the tragic abortion clinic slayings that look place in Pensacola less than two weeks ago.

Mr. Robertson's complaint at the time had to do with the fact that two "pro-choice" members of a congressional committee had acted to prevent pro-life witnesses from presenting their case to the committee.

Ms. Engram's complaint is that Mr. Robertson used the word "murder" to describe abortion and compared abortionists and their supporters to Stalin and Hitler. She calls this "inflammatory language."

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