Free speech in P.G. County?As a former teacher in the...


June 10, 1996

Free speech in P.G. County?

As a former teacher in the Prince George's County school system, I was absolutely appalled to read in The Sun that Kenneth Johnson, one of the members of the Prince George's County school board, took it upon himself to ''disinvite'' Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court from speaking at the Thomas G. Pullen Creative and Performing Arts School in Landover.

The explanation proffered by Mr. Johnson for this remarkable conduct -- ''There is nothing he has to say that I would want to hear'' -- is nothing short of chilling.

When I taught in the Prince George's County school system, we tried to encourage our students to open their minds, to listen to different points of view, to inform themselves and then to form their own judgments.

The different approach taken by Mr. Johnson -- intercepting and blocking the expression of views that deviate from his own -- sounds awfully close to brain-washing.

I began my teaching career in the Prince George's County school system at the Roger B. Taney Junior High School, named in honor of Maryland's only chief justice of the United States.

After the death of Thurgood Marshall, the school's name was changed to the Thurgood Marshall Junior High School, in honor of the nation's first black Supreme Court justice.

Justice Marshall was always a strong supporter of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

I wonder what Justice Marshall would say if he were alive today and learned that the management of the Prince George's County school system had intervened to prevent the nation's second black Supreme Court justice from speaking in one of the county's schools.

Mr. Johnson and the other members of the Prince George's County school board should be ashamed.

Joyce Lyons Terhes


The writer is chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

Can see why Peres lost election

In the May 30 article by Doug Struck, "Election in Israel dead heat," it was reported that "Leah Rabin, widow of Israel's slain premier, reacted angrily to the close results, which she called 'embarrassing and insulting' to the memory of her husband."

With all due respect to the memory of Mr. Rabin, I must say the reason Benjamin Netanyahu was leading and eventually won the election could be because Israelis aren't willing to accept present conditions in the name of peace.

Is Mrs. Rabin aware that under the Peres leadership Hamas not only has headquarters in Gaza, but there are now Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron? How can Mrs. Rabin and Shimon Peres ignore this and expect Israelis to accept these threats in the name of peace without any strong objections or demands for their removal by Yasser Arafat?

This is something that even Mr. Rabin would not tolerate. Don't blame Likud, Mrs. Rabin, blame Mr. Peres and his lack of HTC courage to address and confront Arabs when they violate the peace accords at the fatal expense of innocent Israeli citizens.

It is more embarrassing and insulting to Israel when its leaders ignore the security and safety of its citizens. Likud will not abandon its people and more importantly it will not abandon its God and nation to appease terrorists.

Also, Mrs. Rabin called Rabbi Binyamin Elon a racist for complaining about the Labor Party going after Arab votes. It is not racist to acknowledge that not all, but a large number of, Arab citizens in Israel support Hamas and have created a Fifth Column in Israel. They are indeed entitled to equal rights as citizens, but when they support Hamas they are not equal with other Israelis when it comes to being loyal citizens who promote peace.

Barbara Ann Bloom

Owings Mills

Why the fuss about same-sex marriage?

I read the Perspectve articles on June 2 concerning same-sex marriage. Other than the usual religious arguments, none of the writers even mentioned the financial benefits that same-sex union would provide.

This is the bottom line of the issue, and it seemed to be ignored.

The first that comes to mind is the right of insurance benefits. Next would be the right to inherit property as next of kin and joint ownership of real estate. The ability to act for an incapacitated ''spouse,'' to receive survivor's benefits from Social Security, not to be taxed on gift transfers between each other, being able to claim an unemployed ''spouse'' as a dependent for an income tax deduction and, in the event of a break-up, the right to alimony or child support, if applicable. I am sure that there are others that I have missed, and these all will vary slightly from state to state.

Most people will agree that these rights are pretty basic. My question is then, how can the government justify under the Constitution its denying to a group of Americans these very rights? I think that whether we like it or not, it is something that sooner or later will come to be.

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