Trashing the fish won't stop the effort to clean up the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 01, 2001

Trashing the fish won't stop the effort to clean up the city

Allison Klein's lament about the vandalism of Trash Fish was indeed a sad story but should not be considered a reflection on our neighborhood residents, many of whom are in fact our greatest allies ("Vandals trash Trash Fish displayed in South Baltimore," Aug. 23).

We placed Trash Fish in a heavily trafficked (but also highly vulnerable) position to attract attention, knowing full well that it would likely be vandalized.

Vandalism is often perpetrated by individuals who do not live in, or who otherwise feel disenfranchised from, the affected community. We are less concerned about acts of vandalism than about providing alternative constructive activities for would-be vandals to engage in.

Further, we think it's important to note that for every individual who tried to break Trash Fish down there were many, many more South Baltimore residents ready to prop it up again.

We are a resilient lot and we are determined that this story will have a happy ending. Soon our mended Trash Fish will be given a new address strategically selected to serve as a permanent reminder to empower the next generation of South Baltimore's anti-litter advocates.

Geoff Mumford

Baltimore

The writer is a team leader for Keep South Baltimore Beautiful Hon Inc.

Freedom of religion is no excuse for discrimination

Gregory Kane accuses gay rights supporters of using "that handy b-word" [bigot] to silence the opposition ("Opposition to gay rights is not evidence of bigotry," Aug. 25).

I'm curious as to how Mr. Kane reckons that the torrent of mistruths, half-truths and outright lies about homosexuals and homosexuality coming from Tres Kerns and his followers amounts to silence. But I'm even more curious to know why the man who could call slavery in Africa for what it was, can't call prejudice toward homosexuals in America for what it is.

Mr. Kane cites four cases where, as he puts it, "religious freedom has run smack-dab up against gay rights." Yet in two of those cases, the courts ruled in favor of the churches and the others involved arguably secular activities.

Surely there have been cases where religious freedom has run smack-dab up against the rights of racial minorities and women. Yet Mr. Kane regards laws that protect them as "notable exceptions."

Why? I'll hazard a guess: Because those laws protect Mr. Kane and his family. Is Mr. Kane's point that opponents of gay rights aren't bigots, but hypocrites?

"Just how long do we want this list [of protected groups] to become?" Mr. Kane asks, as if civil rights are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. The answer, of course, is: As long as it needs to be.

Bruce Garrett

Baltimore

Despite Gregory Kane's implication to the contrary, I have yet to hear a supporter of the gay rights law refer to jobs, homes, or access to public accommodations as "entitlements."

Those in favor of the law believe only that gays and lesbians should be on equal footing with other Marylanders in buying or renting a home, seeking employment, or using public accommodations.

It makes no difference if these are "civil rights"; the Constitution guarantees equal protection of the laws to all people.

As long as gays and lesbians suffer discrimination under the guise of religious freedom, they are denied their constitutional right to equal protection.

Jenny Gresock

Columbia

Bush tax cuts hurt families as they starve the treasury

President Bush has managed in only six months to drive our country to the brink of bankruptcy with his reckless tax cut ("U.S. may tap Social Security," Aug. 28). Ronald Reagan did the same thing in the 1980s, but it took him more than two years to do it.

If I, as a corporate chairman, had done the same to my company, I would have been unceremoniously dumped by my board of directors.

The tax cut is designed primarily to benefit the wealthiest families. It will hurt average families by depleting public funds from government programs devoted to improving the health and education of our children, providing prescription drug benefits for our elderly, protecting our natural resources, cleaning our air and water, furthering medical research and repairing our crumbling infrastructure.

Jack Kinstlinger

Baltimore

Can stem cells be used to improve humanity?

Stem cells, embryos, etc. mean nothing to me - a high school dropout.

My concern about them is simple: Will they be used to make better people?

B.J. Small

Baltimore

Don't alienate state's hunters in effort to save open space

I was glad to finally see some readers' opinions regarding the changing of the guard at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Gov. Parris N. Glendening's moves toward further limits on deer hunting ("Policy on hunting must be based on ecological principles," letters, Aug. 19).

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