Clinton was wrong, but Starr is marching toward police...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 20, 1998

Clinton was wrong, but Starr is marching toward police state

President Clinton's behavior was unbelievably gross and stupid. But Kenneth Starr is guilty of obstructing justice. He illegally leaked secret grand jury testimony; he proffered illegal tapes to expand of his jurisdictional authority to encompass Monica Lewinsky.

Mr. Starr is guilty of tampering with a witness. He tried to pressure Ms. Lewinsky, with a promise of immunity, to surreptitiously make her own tapes and refrain from consulting a lawyer.

And Mr. Starr is guilty of abuse of power. He violated the fundamental right to privacy by relentlessly digging into every salacious detail of sexual encounters between consenting adults and including them in his report, making the public a party to his voyeurism.

The spectacle of Congress releasing these tidbits on the Internet, so the whole world can join in, is mind boggling.

If government can storm closed doors and probe and publicize every detail of private sexuality activity, we have a police state, not a republic.

Rea Knisbacher

Baltimore

Luke's lost sheep story about healing, restoration

In your article on the impact of the Starr report on Sunday sermons ("Presidential sins, Starr report are grist for Sunday sermons," Sept. 14), your reporter offers a puzzling comment on my use of the biblical story of the shepherd who rejoices in finding one's lost sheep, a story found in the Gospel of Luke (15: 17).

She suggests that "the story represents God's joy when lost souls join the church."

I suspect God is pleased when someone joins the church, but the reach of Luke's story extends far beyond church membership. It seems to me that Luke's story is about God's movement in the world to repair social, political and economic disconnection.

Amid our debate as to whether President Clinton should resign, be censured or be impeached, Luke's story reminds us that the point of such action should be healing and restoration for one and all, rather than further fragmentation.

In the end, I fear that the real tragedy of the Clinton-Lewinsky matter lies not in its sordid details but in a lost opportunity for mending together our common life.

Roger J. Gench

Baltimore

The writer is pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Lewinsky willing partner, not victim, of flawed man

President Clinton is in need of counseling sessions as well as God's guidance.

He is troubled, an accident waiting to happen, surprised when the crash occurs. We have listened as he denied experimentation with marijuana and avoidance from the draft. This gave him the impression that we were fooled. We did not realize we were opening the floodgates to disaster.

When you consider that he continued to engage in inappropriate behavior, even when eyes were focused on him, something is amiss.

As for Monica Lewinsky, she ought to be viewed as an adult, although she is in her 20s. If it seems immature to keep a dress stained by a sexual encounter, what can one make of her mother, who stored the sordid memento?

Where is the value system in this family? We also should take into consideration that, even in this adulterous, immoral relationship, this woman was a willing participant, if not the instigator.

This in no way justifies or excuses Mr. Clinton's active participation, but let it be noted that, anything he did, he did with her and not to her.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Josh Gibson is baseball's greatest home run slugger

Josh Gibson of the Negro Baseball Leagues hit 85 home runs in one season. Why is he forgotten in all the hoopla over Mark McGwire?

Julia B. Rauch

Baltimore

Your editorials call for safeguards against misspending in campus foundations, especially here at Bowie State University. I am writing to assure our constituents and your readers that we have taken corrective actions and have made necessary changes to restore the integrity of our fund-raising program.

Certainly, no one is more outraged than I about the inappropriate expenditures made by foundation officials here at Bowie. My confidence in those I appointed to positions of authority and responsibility was betrayed. Nevertheless, I am the president of this university and I continue to take full responsibility for the institution as a whole.

Though no direct evidence of criminal conduct was found, the audit helped to pinpoint and document a gross lack of professionalism.

As I have said before, even in cases of human error and poor judgment, we must guard against such behavior with stringent oversight.

As soon as I suspected problems, I took aggressive and deliberate steps to correct the situation. Now, with the audit documentation in hand and the support of the Board of Regents and the chancellor's office, I am moving forward with rigorous internal controls.

I want to assure all potential supporters, especially our committed and valued alumni association members and corporate friends, that their contributions will be managed professionally.

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