Not the SameRichard Lelonek (letter to the editor, Sept...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 23, 1994

Not the Same

Richard Lelonek (letter to the editor, Sept. 8) writes as if learning about religion and praying are the same thing. They are not. In fact, ACLU would agree that education about religion is an important part of both history lessons and philosophical discussions.

What is wrong is when the public schools go beyond teaching about and begin praying or proselytizing. Truly, much good could be done if students truly understood the vast variety or religions, just as much good would be done if students understand the philosophies of Rousseau and other non-religious philosophers.

Manny Flecker

Columbia

Neighbor Schools

The juxtaposition of your two articles about the opening day of school in Baltimore County and Baltimore City was absolutely disgraceful.

Telling your readers that the city police are out to hunt students, while day one in the suburban schools was virtually problem-free, is not only narrowly misleading, nor only a further stigma for the city school system, which truly does need help in fostering a positive self-image: It is racist.

I am a second-year teacher at a city middle school and I was proud of our successful first day back at school.

Our classrooms were filled with eager and enthusiastic students. Our first day was also virtually problem-free.

Why can't The Sun give recognition to the 100,000 children of the city who were at school that first day?

Why not also give them words of encouragement?

David Nelson

Baltimore

Vital City

In the Sept. 8 Sun, Gary Gately's fine article asks us to think of Baltimore's 182 public schools as "enterprise schools."

''The city's unprecedented move,'' he states, transfers ''decision-making and staff from headquarters to all individual schools.''

The start of a new school year is a vivid reminder of the key role the schools play in the health of our city. Recent studies of Cleveland and other major cities confirm our experience in Baltimore: A major cause of flight to the suburbs has been parental desire to seek improved quality of education for their children.

As our Baltimore schools are being re-evaluated as a major resource, so also are the other center-city cultural institutions that serve the entire metropolitan area and beyond: churches, colleges, museums, hospitals and all health services.

During a recent visit to Tucson, we found that music lovers were well acquainted with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Peabody Institute. Sports fans followed the Orioles as closely as we do -- when they are playing.

There is no Mason-Dixon line in cultural resources.

It seems to me that the day will come when thoughtful parents will choose to bring up their children and enrich themselves by living in our vital city, which welcomes diversity and literally throbs with some of the finest human resources.

Robert L. Zoerheide

Baltimore

Rights and Smoke

I am absolutely appalled at what I read in The Sun of Sept. 10 concerning smoking on the school grounds at Dulaney High School in Baltimore County.

I fought the enemy at a distance of a two feet to two miles in two wars, so that the world would be free of such violation of people's rights under the guise of a better life for all at the sacrifice of a few.

Who, if not me, gives a damn if I smoke or not?

Who if not the parents is concerned if their child smokes or not?

When did the possession of tobacco products by anyone under 18 become the business of the state legislator and the police department?

When did the misguided bleeding hearts we call our legislature completely lose their minds and pass the law making it a crime for anyone under 18 to possess tobacco products?

Shades of a paper hanger named Adolf.

William L. Phillips

Hampstead

Classy Orioles

A young man out here in Montana once told us that he was an Orioles fan ''because they have class.'' He was right, and they still have class. God bless them.

Iain and Madeline Wilson

Bozeman, Mont.

Overpopulation

I was impressed with Richard Rodriguez's honesty, insight and social analysis of the Vatican's role at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 14). I, too, am Catholic, a member of a racially oppressed group, and, yes, I have certain issues with the magisterium's interpretation of human sexuality. However, I have the same amount of difficulty with unintelligent anger -- fostered by the media -- directed toward the Vatican for its outspoken opposition to abortion as a means and right to population control.

Overpopulation is a structural problem, involving complex economic, political and international issues of justice. Overpopulation is not a matter of reproductive rights of the poor and oppressed in developing countries! While women's health care needs ought to be discussed and improved, seemingly liberating one oppressed group (women) at the detriment of another (people of color) only perpetuates the denial and hypocrisy first-world Americans are known for. Many justice-minded Americans are authentically concerned about the world's natural resources.

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