Maryland is right to enforce the tax on boats using bay
I applaud the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' efforts to apprehend those who cheat on the "usage tax" for the purchase and permanent use of boats in Maryland ("State intensifies collection effort for boat-use tax," Sept. 30).
I think it is ludicrous to suggest, as boat owner Chris Washburn did in the article, that if the tax is vigorously enforced, "Maryland would become a dangerous place to cruise."
Mr. Washburn misses the point of the tax. It has nothing to do with cruising; it is directed at owners who use the bay almost exclusively and never pay the tax, thereby failing to contribute to its upkeep.
Having lived and purchased a boat in Massachusetts, I can attest to the rigorous enforcement of such taxes in other states. I paid the tax in Massachusetts and, when I moved to Maryland, the reciprocity agreement limited my additional tax.
The bay is a resource that all boat owners should contribute to. The cost of a usage sticker is a small price to pay.
And if one purchases and moors the vessel in Maryland, the usage tax should apply.
Charges against Columbus are a travesty of reason
What a travesty of reason, objectivity and fairness is the resolution blaming Christopher Columbus for genocide against American Indians ("Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs urges elimination of Columbus holiday," Oct. 2).
My dictionary defines genocide as the systematic measures for the extermination of a racial group.
The charges about events that took place more than 500 years ago are more ludicrous than arguments supporting the theory of macro-evolution.
Books betray bias against Catholics
John Rivera's article on two new books about the Catholic Church acknowledges that "anti-Catholic bigotry" was common in the U.S. experience and that some still consider it a bias ("The Vatican and the Jews: History gets even uglier," Sept. 30).
Anti-Catholicism is still very much with us, and it is a bias not found with regard to other religious or ethnic groups (everyone has seen something mocking the pope, how many things does one see mocking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?)
And, with regard to David I. Kertzer and John Cornwell's new books, it is disingenuous to suggest that these authors are neutral and examining the Catholic Church objectively.
Both have written books criticizing a pope and a specific historical period. Now both are publishing books that criticize the entire Catholic Church and air the authors' grievances.
They obviously have an agenda - and their works are products of it, not of objective scholarship.
Louis J. Giovino
The writer is assistant to the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Talk to our teen-agers about what really matters
Susan Reimer attacks one of her favorite topics when she suggests the "Message of `abstain' isn't enough" (Oct. 9).
She is right that it is not enough of a solution. The answer does not, however, become any clearer with her suggestion that "the church must also tell them what to do if they can't wait."
What Ms. Reimer and her friends at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy have failed to see is that the potential middle ground between churches, synagogues and mosques that preach abstinence and public-health educators who promote condoms could be found in a extensive cultural conversation with young people regarding intimacy.
It's time to discern what really makes relationships work, what is appropriate, what has consequences and greater implications for family, community and faith.
D. Scott Miller
Peacenik professor has forgotten history
Has Takoma Park become Berkeley east ("Conflict of feelings in Takoma Park," Oct. 9)? Heaven forbid.
One has to hope the college professor sporting "NOMOWAR" vanity tags on his convertible does not teach history to his students, especially with a name such as Levy. Has he forgotten Hitler?
Had we not intervened in World War II, he could be wearing a Star of David today and not be driving that car. And unless bin Laden and his crew are stopped now, who knows what could happen?
Richard L. Lelonek
Taking down `TERRORIST' is no offense against art
Edward Wortech writes that a disservice was done in taking down: "TER
IST" ("BMA mistaken in removing artwork," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 1).
The real mistake was putting the piece on display in the first place. To my mind, it is no more a work of art than the "EXIT" signs over the doors of the museum.
Robert M. Latane
Use law, righteousness to defeat terrorism
The war on Afghanistan is going to bring more pain and death to innocent people - through the bombing of the Afghan people and the death of soldiers, as well as possible retaliatory actions against the American people and our allies.