EuthanasiaIn their article voicing opposition against...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 06, 1995

Euthanasia

In their article voicing opposition against active euthanasia by the medical profession, Drs. Karen Korzick and Peter Terry use two arguments to support their conclusion.

The first involves the deontological principle that killing is always a wrong-making element of behavior.

The second argument appeals to the "slippery-slope" concern that any law allowing active euthanasia would fail to protect the autonomous choices of vulnerable groups of patients.

The validity of both of these arguments, however, has been disputed by other philosophers and physicians. Thus, whether active euthanasia should be proscribed remains controversial.

Drs. Korzick and Terry do, however, make an unarguable claim that a "thorough public discussion" on the issue of euthanasia has not occurred.

To help remedy this situation, I would like to invite these physicians, as well as the public, to the next Medical Humanities Hour at the University of Maryland Medical System Thursday at 4:30 p.m., where Dr. Franklin Miller, a philosopher at the University of Virginia, will make a presentation on "Regulating Physician-Assisted Death: Oregon and Beyond."

Henry Silverman, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is associate professor and medical ethicist, University of Maryland Medical System.

'Vicious Attack'?

The May 21 letter to the editor, "Brotherly Love and the Christian Right" from Pastor Joan I. Senyk, was meant to rebut Cal Thomas' critique of the "religious left," but instead only confirmed it.

In defending against the "vicious attack" on the president's pastor, Philip Wogaman, the writer attempts to prove Thomas' "Biblical and theological errors."

Her examples include such scriptural contradictions as the differing accounts found in Chronicles and the Gospels. "Different points of view" are found throughout history (also in modern courtroom proceedings). They do not necessarily negate the truthfulness of an event -- as only a true literalist would assert.

In fact, neatly harmonized stories are always more suspect. Not only were these arguments completely irrelevant to Thomas' topic of religious ethics and politics, but they've been long discredited by other authorities.

Her vague defense of Wogaman's "Biblical values" includes an observation of "very little . . . brotherly love" at the 104th Congress. Politics has always been a worldly, if not corrupting, affair.

It would be very interesting to ask when Congress has ever displayed this too-malleable idea of "brotherly love." If the answer includes their three decades of self-defeating, multi-trillion dollar social programs, then it's time for Congress to consider some other Biblical virtues: justice, wisdom and stewardship.

Wogaman is undoubtedly a man of conviction and integrity. But this doesn't guarantee good judgment in a public figure.

If Thomas is correct, the minister's more controversial policies are not only out of step with widely held religious, historical and political beliefs, but also with his own denomination and its history.

Moreover, they appear to reflect the beliefs of some of his congregants, namely, the Clintons. If publishing some of these ideas amounts to a "vicious attack," than the endless scrutiny given to religious conservatives must amount to all-out warfare.

L. Smart III

Bel Air

Ignore at Peril

This letter is in response to the article "Shoot for the head remark earns Liddy an award" that appeared May 18 in the Today section of The Sun.

It addressed the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) giving its 1995 Freedom of Speech Award to Gordon Liddy.

Carole Nashes, a spokesperson for NARTSH, defended the award by saying that "if you don't like what he says, turn the radio off or change the dial."

It was people who did just that with regard to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s that helped create the Third Reich.

It was Americans who felt that way about political speeches and ads over the last 30 years who not only "changed the channel" but also didn't vote that helped create our god-awful national deficit.

It is one thing to "just tune out" opinions you disagree with and quite another to ignore calls for murder, riots, bombings, etc. Would she feel the same way about an "exercise of free speech" that called for a bombing of the studio audience of a radio or TV talk show?

William F. List

Linthicum

Charity Standards

As an investment professional and as an individual actively involved in Baltimore's philanthropic community, I am appalled at the recent revelations concerning the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy.

Numerous charitable organizations invested significant portions of their endowment with New Era, lured by the promise of doubling their money in six months through what is now thought to be a sort of philanthropic pyramid scheme.

By all reports, it is believed no Maryland charities were caught in the scam.

I have been a trustee of the Baltimore Community Foundation for 12 years, and currently serve as its treasurer and chairman of the investment committee.

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