A letter to the editor on Tuesday incorrectly mentioned...

Letters to the Editor

July 28, 1998

A letter to the editor on Tuesday incorrectly mentioned the Falls Road SPCA when it should have said the Baltimore Animal Shelter.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Save a dog from euthanasia and find a good pet at SPCA

Three months ago we adopted Samantha, our dog, from the Falls Road Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When my mom picked her up, her hair was matted, and she was not very attractive. And because of her appearance, many people passed her by. She has turned out to be a sweet, affectionate and lovable family member.

While reading the paper I saw the article "New director delighted to be running city's troubled animal shelter" (July 21) about the Falls Road SPCA. I couldn't believe that only 2 percent of their dogs are adopted, and there were only 430 adoptions last year. It brings tears to my eyes when I think 98 of every 100 dogs that are turned in to the SPCA are put to sleep.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

It's a shame that wonderful family pets would be put to sleep just because they are not puppies or pedigrees. I hope people who are looking for a pet to love will consider adopting from the SPCA.

Jessica Spear

Westminster

Give American flag deserved protection it lost in recent years

I must take issue with a July 15 Opinion Commentary column "Constitutional ban on flag burning may pass Senate in this election year" by Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover in regard to a proposed flag-protection constitutional amendment.

The First Amendment stood unharmed as five Supreme Court rulings prior to 1968 upheld the people's protective right. Those rulings recognized the obvious distinction between free speech and reprehensible conduct that does not rise to the level of First Amendment protection. For more than 100 years, federal and state laws banned flag desecration before the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 1989. The court's 1989 and 1990 rulings mean flag-protection laws can be restored only by constitutional amendment.

Supporters of the amendment are acting within their constitutional rights. The First Amendment does not permit flag desecration -- that is open to interpretation. But the First Amendment protects the right of people to redress grievances for policies that undermine their values.

I was there when Tommy Lasorda and a host of others testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 8 in favor of the proposal. Their heartfelt sentiments reflected the will of the poll-validated 80 percent of the American people who say they support the amendment and the 40 state legislatures that registered their support by resolution. Most Americans support the amendment because they were raised to honor the flag. They realize that if we continue to allow the U.S. flag to be desecrated with impunity, the voters, parents and leaders of tomorrow will dishonor not only the flag but the values it represents -- principles sanctified by the blood of American patriots.

The scarcity of flag desecration has nothing to do with the evil of flag desecration. The law reflects our values with respect to infrequent acts such as the yelling of "Fire!" in a crowded theater and segregation in public accommodations. Flag desecration is in that category.

Anthony G. Jordan

Indianapolis

The writer is national commander of the American Legion.

'Basta' with stereotypes about Latin Americans

I am writing in regard to the July 18 editorial cartoon referring to U.S. efforts to combat drug suppliers in Latin America.

The cartoon trivialized a complex situation using hackneyed stereotypes. The heavily accented English and the Mexican sombrero and serape are inappropriate.

It is not necessary to look any farther than City Hall, Annapolis or Washington to view government corruption as portrayed in the cartoon. There will be no progress in any war against drugs until we look at the bottom line: The demand in the United States continues.

The media must do a crucial job in helping to inform the population on critical issues. This is not a case of Uncle Sam being right and Latin American nations being wrong. The Sun's recent cartoon harks back to the "Frito Bandito" days of Latino stereotypes. As a longtime resident of Venezuela, I say, "basta."

William Brown

Baltimore

Not everyone can change sexuality at will

Linda Chavez's Opinion Commentary column July 22, "Gays must be tolerant of conservatives' views," missed the point of those anti-gay ads.

For the few souls who manage to "change" their sexual orientation, there are those who pray to God to change, but they don't. Must they now feel guilty for not praying hard enough, like someone who prays for deliverance from cancer, only to succumb? Face it, who would choose to be attacked, discriminated against, even hated for their sexuality, if it were so easy to change?

Our sexuality, whether heterosexual, homosexual or somewhere in between, is rooted in the very basis of our being. Would Ms. Chavez or the Christian right activists for whom she apologizes expect a heterosexual to become gay simply by praying for it to happen?

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