True liberty allows people to express their faith in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 16, 2001

True liberty allows people to express their faith in public

What "liberty" exactly does the writer of the letter "Public prayers threaten liberty of non-Christians" (April 8) think are threatened: The liberty not to be subjected to ideas that do not fit his conscience? I don't believe that this is what the Founding Fathers intended in guaranteeing our religious freedom.

The writer seems to think that the Constitution grants freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.

Although I am rooted in a Roman Catholic background, I am able to see that our prayers reach God regardless of what we choose to call him.

I have attended services at mosques, at Hindu temples and at St. Peter's in Rome, and felt God's presence wherever people of faith gather in his name.

And, I did not feel that my "liberty was being threatened" because someone chose to call God by a different name than I do.

Prayer in public life does not threaten liberty, so long as a person is not compelled to act contrary to his or her conscience. True liberty embraces the universality of faith, respects other traditions and allows public expressions of faith.

Public expression of faith is an exercise of religious liberty; it does not trample on it.

Joseph Melchor-Heinlen

Catonsville

The letter ("Public prayers threaten liberty of non-Christians," April 8) suggests that no prayer at a public event can be said without being 100 percent sure that those in attendance are of like faith. Funny, that was exactly the oppressive logic our forefathers sought to escape.

The writer's "freedom of religion" sounds more like "freedom from religion."

Those who are secure in their own faith need not be threatened when opposing views are expressed. And isn't that the ultimate definition of religious tolerance?

Sophia Montgomery

Perry Hall

Policy tilt toward windmills lights the way to the future

The Sun's editorial on windmills ("Tilting toward windmills," April 4) and a recent letter on energy efficiency ("Bush energy policies damage environment and public interest," April 5) are on target: The United States badly needs to move toward modern energy sources and efficiency.

The coal industry worldwide is sick and hasn't grown in the last decade. Oil production worldwide grew less than 1 percent a year in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, wind energy is growing 30 percent a year worldwide, with Holland, Germany and Spain leading the way. Solar power production is also growing 30 percent a year. These new industries will be huge money-makers in the future.

We need to phase out large federal and state subsidies to the old and dirty coal and oil industries, which are the main factors in global climate change. These subsidies make as much sense as subsidizing the horse-and-buggy industry in 1900.

Let's invest in modern, clean and efficient energy soon. President Bush says we can't afford to. We can't afford not to.

Mason Olcott Jr.

Pikesville

Fossil fuels, nuclear power remain only energy options

The power storage in California is renewing the debate about alternative power sources and The Sun's editorial "Tilting toward windmills" (April 4) is an example of the renewed debate.

But people in a position to know should be honest with the public about what the country's options are.

In fact, there are only two viable options: fossil fuels and nuclear fission. All other proposed options won't even come close to supplying our energy needs for the future.

Thirty years from now fossil fuels and nuclear power will still be responsible for 90 percent of our power supply.

Eugene T. Rohe

Baltimore

Why note religious affiliation of Jews accused of fraud?

In the March 30 Sun there were article on topics ranging from President Bush and the economy, Sen. John McCain and campaign finances, death row inmates' use of computers, the Oklahoma City bomber; the suspect arrested in an abortion doctor's murder, to the deportation of a Lithuanian who aided Nazis in World War II. None of these articles mentioned the participants' religious affiliation.

So why was it necessary to identify the 14 people indicted for fraud in New York as members of the "ultra-Orthodox Jewish community" ("14 accused of defrauding companies, banks, people," March 30)?

Did it make the crime more sensational? Or was it designed to appeal to people's expectations of Jews?

I'm offended by The Sun's prejudicial reporting.

Tillie Lapidus

Baltimore

Shrinking city must provide services more efficiently

The 2000 Census has documented the facts. Baltimore has lost a significant portion of its population. Therefore, it is necessary to downsize and consolidate the city's activities and services.

The Fire Department accomplished this a few years ago. It is now appropriate for the library and school systems to do the same. And it is better to cut the city payroll to reduce the budget shortfall than to amend development plans.

It is also time to reduce the size of and the staff associated with the City Council.

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