Ministers were wrong to sanction Rev. Reid for backing...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 26, 1999

Ministers were wrong to sanction Rev. Reid for backing O'Malley

I feel compelled to respond to The Sun's article about the Baptist ministers who had invited the Rev. Frank M. Reid III to preach at their annual revival next month, but rescinded that offer because Mr. Reid came out for Martin O'Malley for mayor, while their organization supported Carl Stokes ("Ministers withdraw invitation to Reid," Sept. 21).

The ministers' excuse for rescinding the invitation was that they felt betrayed.

Betrayed, because Mr. Reid made a prayerful decision and came out for what he thought in his heart was right?

How can these ministers call themselves Christians?

Elizabeth B. Brooks, Baltimore

I could not believe what I was reading -- ministers, representing God, banished one of their own for a political opinion.

Are these individuals preaching God's words or are they political workers?

Individuals have a right to express their views and opinions, but not in God's name or from His house? What a shame.

Maybe these ministers should be banished from their pulpit.

Dwain Wolf, Baltimore

The Baptist Ministers Conference (BMC) withdrew its invitation to the Rev. Frank M. Reid because he exercised freedom of choice and expression in endorsing Martin O'Malley for mayor. Am I missing something here?

Will any of the 70 Baltimore Baptist churches represented by the BMC now canvass their congregations to see who voted for Mr. O'Malley -- and ask those who did to worship elsewhere?

What we need to do is put aside our differences, work with one another and give our full support to whoever will be our next mayor.

Maria Robinson, Baltimore

U.S. disinformation about Iraqi diversions

I was glad The Sun's headline added "U.S. says" to the charges of Iraq's diverting funds intended to feed its hungry citizens ("Hussein spent for amusement park not food, U.S. says," Sept. 14).

These allegations contain many subtle misrepresentations and one simple falsehood.

All the money from the so-called "oil-for-food" deal for Iraq goes directly to the Bank of Paris in New York. When the government of Iraq wants to purchase something with that money, it must first arrange a contract with a foreign country.

Each of those contracts must then be reviewed and approved by Committee 661 -- a 15-member consortium of countries. The United States is a permanent member of that committee.

Every member of that committee has a veto over the contracts. If the committee approves the contracts, it authorizes the Bank of Paris to make payments directly to the country providing the material.

That means the Iraqi government is not diverting funds from the "oil-for-food" deal -- not because it is especially moral, but because they have no access to the money.

No one knows this better than the United States, since it has has vetoed hundreds and hundreds of contracts.

UNICEF has reported that the U.S. sanctions on Iraq have caused half a million deaths among children under 5-years old.

If we are to stop this modern genocide, we need to have what the "U.S. says," be more than disinformation.

The Rev. G. Simon Harak, Baltimore

Falling prey to landmines we ourselves have set down

One irony about American foreign policy is that our government refuses to sign the international treaty to ban anti-personnel mine treaty, but is being victimized by the political mines it has laid over the last several decades.

The United States is now sending troops to East Timor to restore order to a region devastated by the Indonesian government that we have supplied with arms and training.

Perhaps it's time we start to suffer the consequences we have heaped on people all over the world fighting for their own independence.

Our next generation of foreign policy leaders should begin supporting independence movements in allied countries -- and reap the benefits of worldwide admiration, rather than scorn.

Myles B. Hoenig, Baltimore

Utilities need to ensure that power isn't cut off

Two brothers, ages 10 and 5, died recently in a fire caused by burning candles ("2 boys die in Arundel blaze," Sept. 17).

It seems that Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. had disconnected their electricity. BGE said it was sorry to hear of the tragedy and that it has programs in place which could have prevented it.

The time has come for BGE (and all utility providers) to rethink their disconnection policies.

What if BGE automatically put their "programs" into effect before disconnecting people's power?

Then perhaps future tragedies could be prevented -- and BGE would not have to say, "We're sorry but . . . "

Dennis E. Ferguson, Easton

State should examine agency's link to watermen

Many recreational saltwater fishermen believe that Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has had a special relationship with commercial watermen and that the Maryland Watermen's Association has wielded greater influence on fisheries management decisions than other interested citizens.

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