Writer needs a further look at scripturesIn the typically...

Letters

January 17, 1999

Writer needs a further look at scriptures

In the typically morally superior and biblical proof-texting fashion of the religious right, letter writer David A. Dilegge ("Quoting Bible, knowing its meaning are different," Jan. 3, The Sun in Howard) demonstrates not only his nearsighted and selective reading of the scriptures, but also his limited understanding of God's forgiving grace as taught and demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the New Testament.

By apparently suggesting that forgiveness is not warranted for the president because the assumption cannot be made that he will sin no more, Mr. Dilegge ignores the admonition of Jesus, "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged" (Matthew 7: 1).

More serious, and more clearly demonstrating Mr. Dilegge's distortion of the Bible in support of his and his religious right mentors' political agenda, is his limitation of God's forgiveness which the Bible expects of we imperfect humans as well.

In this regard, I suggest he check out the answer of Jesus to Simon Peter (who later denied his Lord with an oath) who wanted to know if a sinner should be forgiven as many as seven times. The answer: "Not seven times, but, I tell you, 77 times."

Mr. Dilegge can read that for himself in Matthew 18: 21-22. Given this Gospel admonition and the number of the president's sins, would Mr. Dilegge grant forgiveness to Mr. Clinton, and himself, for 60 or so more?

Luther Starnes, Ellicott City

The writer is minister at Gary Memorial United Methodist Church.

Deciphering state's tax logic

I've lived in Maryland for about three years, and I think I'm beginning to understand the state's tax jargon. For the benefit of new arrivals to Maryland:

I have learned when a department (see Board of Education, Howard County) receives more tax money in a year than the previous year, that is not a budget increase. If it is less than the department wanted, it is characterized as a "budget cut."

When the state's tax coffers overflow with extra tax money, that is not considered "over budget" with the extra money returned to the payers of those taxes. Instead, it is "found money," to be spent by the state.

When the governor, to help himself get re-elected, says, "I am opposed to a gas tax increase," remember that he often chooses his words carefully. That means that after the election, he will propose a gas tax increase.

See, that's not so hard to understand.

Michael Simon, Columbia

Abortion solution is education

Speaker of the House Casper Taylor is on the right track. Abortion, like smoking, cannot be stopped by the passage of laws. Those with the desire and need will have abortions whether they are legal or not.

As with so many social problems, the solution lies with education. Education, as we all know, is expensive. Since the legislature has never seen a tax it didn't like, I would suggest a heavy tax on every abortion performed. The tax should be levied against the physician, hospital or clinic -- which may or may not pass it on to the patient. If the patient were indigent, and the physician were performing his/her services pro bono, the physician would be required to pay the tax, but he/she could then take the payment as a business expense. The abortion tax would only be a business expense where the physician received no payment of any sort for his/her services, including honorariums, salary or expense reimbursements.

All of the proceeds from the abortion tax should be placed in a trust fund and used exclusively for education programs directed at avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

Herbert K. Thompson, Ellicott City

Of impeachment pens, fly balls and the IRS

Just a short time ago, The Sun had articles on the tax results of catching home-run balls by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. The gist of the IRS case was that the lucky person faced some massive tax liability because the ball had a fair market value far in excess of the $20 cost to Major League Baseball.

Segue now to the U.S. Senate, enamored of its own historical importance, signing the impeachment oath with 100 pens. One could imagine, in a less celebrity-struck era, the Senate signing with one pen and sending it directly to the Smithsonian Institution. Instead, we have 100 taxable events to the senators (ditto all the pens Henry Hyde passed around during the House impeachment process). I will be amused, I assume, with the tact that the IRS will use with its new, reconstituted, user-friendly image, in sending the Senators their tax bills.

Of course, if the pens have a de minimus value, I hope the senators will send ME the pens. I can always use another cheap pen to keep company with my motel pens. Or perhaps it is wrongful appropriation of the federal government's property to dispose of the pens without following the appropriate property acquisition regulations. Perhaps even more, it would constitute grand theft by a senator to take the pen as personal property since it may be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Thomas Hartman, Columbia

Pub Date: 1/17/99

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