Affirmative action in the Catholic Church?Is there...

LETTERS

February 09, 1997

Affirmative action in the Catholic Church?

Is there affirmative action in the Catholic Church? One would think so based on the recommendation by the National Black Catholic Congress that Cardinal William Keeler appoint a black priest/bishop to replace Bishop John Ricard, who is leaving for his new assignment in Florida (The Sun, Jan. 27).

According to the NBCC, "It's essential because of the concentration of African Americans in Baltimore and especially as a church as we try to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, we need leaders who look like the people we're talking to, who understand the people we're talking to."

Jesus Christ, himself a Jew, did not preach only to Jews. Jesus would not be described as a "leader who look[s] like the people we're talking to," since he preached to people of all races and nationalities. The NBCC's rationale is absurd and not at all Christ-like (Christian).

If we truly want someone to "spread the good news of Jesus Christ" to any community -- black, white, red or any color of the rainbow -- we need to begin with someone who is Christ-like. This person will be able to communicate Jesus' love and teachings to people of all races, etc., regardless of his own race or nationality.

Jesus did not call his apostles based on their color or nationality; Neither should Cardinal Keeler choose Bishop Ricard's replacement based on a person's color or nationality.

Mary R. Zaepfel

Eldersburg

Sen. Haines' marijuana focus

Let's see if I understand Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll County, and the Senate voting 24-20 to approve increased penalties for possession of marijuana.

The Senate cannot do one thing to reduce violent crime or keep guns off the street. Violent criminals are being released because the prisons are overcrowded and some are not even going to trial.

If a person is convicted of murder or rape, our failed justice system will allow them to plea bargain to a lesser charge.

As a citizen of this state, I urge the Senate as well as the House of Delegates to remove non-violent criminals from our prisons and replace them with violent ones.

Please use the prison space wisely. If the Senate were a business and its priorities were that backward, I would have them all fired. Please, if you are going to waste my tax dollars, waste them on keeping the repeat violent offenders in jail.

avid J. Jaffa

Columbia

The Maryland General Assembly is now considering a bill to toughen penalties for marijuana use and it is interesting to observe the hypocrisy on drugs being displayed. There is much huffing and puffing by several legislators to show who can be the toughest on drugs, yet when it comes to legislation on tobacco, the most deadly drug of all, many of these tough guys turn into pussycats.

In fact, some of them get angry when you give them the following facts:

The death rate in America from marijuana is so low that the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other federal and state health agencies do not maintain statistics on marijuana deaths. On the other hand, tobacco kills nearly 500,000 Americans every year. This greatly exceeds deaths caused by marijuana, crack, heroin, PCP, morphine, cocaine and all other drugs combined.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse classifies tobacco as a gateway drug to the use of illegal drugs. The tobacco industry hooks 3,000 new kids every day, thereby creating 3,000 potential illegal drug users.

I wonder why some of our legislators, many who hold key positions in the General Assembly, ignore these facts. Could it be because the tobacco lobbyists wine them, dine them, give them tickets to sporting and other events, buy massive numbers of tickets to their fund-raisers, take them on trips, etc.? Wouldn't it be great if these legislators would do what was right for our children and the state versus what was right for the tobacco industry?

Soon the assembly will be considering legislation to ban tobacco vending machines, to raise the tax on cigarettes and to impose a tax on smokeless tobacco. It will be interesting to see if the tough guys turn into pussy cats again.

ohn H. O'Hara

Bowie

Role model or roll model?

How do you spell success?

How inspiring to read about the success of Linda Fisher, Westminster's muffin lady.

She is praiseworthy because she was determined, when faced with the loss of her job, to make a better life for herself and her son by relying on her own resourcefulness, not the handouts of government. What a shining role model for all who know her.

Ms. Fisher exemplifies the true pioneer spirit which seems to be fading in modern America. Perhaps she should be in a leadership position for welfare reform.

Eve Lallas

Kingsville

Pub Date: 2/09/97

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