UM readings foster discourse on differences As a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 02, 2002

UM readings foster discourse on differences

As a student, it is with great pain and disgust that I read of the American Family Association's intent to sue the University of Maryland for distributing free copies of Moises Kaufman's play, The Laramie Project ("UM draws fire for requiring reading of play on gay man," Aug. 23).

Stephen M. Crampton, counsel for the conservative group, claims the play is "attempting to impose an orthodoxy of belief in favor of homosexuality."

Mr. Crampton is attempting to stifle debate on an issue prevalent on college campuses. And, in fact, the university is not endorsing any type of sexuality. It is fostering discourse on the topic, which is appropriate for an institution of higher education.

The pursuit of scholarship is about encountering uncomfortable ideas, agreeing and disagreeing, and challenging assumptions. But, sadly, the American Family Association is attempting to put an intellectual straightjacket on students.

Eric M. Swalwell

College Park

The writer is vice president of the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The fact that people such as Stephen M. Crampton are attempting to bar literary works such as The Laramie Project emphasizes the need for such works to be read, and I commend the University of Maryland, College Park for choosing that play as its first-year book selection.

The Laramie Project does not promote homosexuality. It is the story of how prejudice and intolerance caused the death of an innocent young man, ruined the lives of several other people and put a town and a country on trial.

As they prepare young people for careers and life in the "real world," it is among the jobs of our schools to expose students to ideas and beliefs that may differ from their own and to teach them that in life they will encounter people whose beliefs and lifestyles may differ from their own.

Tolerance is a virtue, not something subversive.

Jack Neville

Baltimore

Sexual preferences don't belong in class

I'll let others debate the pros and cons of the University of Maryland choosing The Laramie Project as its reading selection.

However, I do take issue with professor Linda K. Coleman's statement to a hypothetical conservative student that "now you'll have the opportunity of seeing what a gay student feels like when he walks into a classroom where his position is not represented" ("UM draws fire for requiring reading of play on gay man," Aug. 23).

No student's sexual position, gay or straight, should be represented in a classroom.

What is relevant is the subject matter to be studied by all the students, no matter what their sexual orientation.

Linda Johnson

Arnold

Gay Big Brothers send wrong signal

I was outraged to read "Small minds can't grasp gays' role as Big Brothers" (Opinion Commentary," Aug. 21)

The author claims that Big Brothers who share his deviant lifestyle are not a threat to youngsters. I beg to differ. Youngsters in the unfortunate situation of needing a Big Brother can be brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle, when anyone who is intellectually honest can see that it is not.

Teaching a child that this deviant lifestyle is acceptable is tantamount to teaching the child that it is acceptable to do the exact opposite of what God intended humans to do. And this is not acceptable.

C. Alan Feinstein

Baltimore

McKinney didn't lose touch with district

I am utterly amazed at Jewish leaders' arrogance in suggesting Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney was doomed because she had lost touch with her constituents ("Rift between blacks, Jews worries Democrats for fall," Aug. 26).

At minimum, this is an attempt to cover up Jewish efforts to oust Ms. McKinney for her very realistic views concerning the Middle East crisis.

The truth is that redistricting, which moved thousands of Ms. McKinney's supporters to other congressional districts, and campaign financing -- in addition to the large number of Republicans who voted in the Democratic primary -- caused Ms. McKinney's loss.

Jonathan R. Burrs

Baltimore

Black-Jewish split hits close to home

We don't have to look to the Middle East for a strain between blacks and Jews ("Rift between blacks, Jews worries Democrats for fall," Aug. 26) -- a quiet conflict is building in the 41st Legislative District race, where folks are walking around on eggshells, trying to ignore the obvious effect of colliding interests and ambitions.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Arrogance is typical of one-party rule

Given the one-party Democratic rule in Annapolis, it's little wonder that state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller would say he did nothing morally, ethically or legally wrong when he called judges concerning the redistricting process ("State ethics panel to rebuke Miller," Aug. 17).

Until Marylanders restore two-party representation to the state, we should expect nothing more from those who are firmly entrenched in power and expect to stay there.

Wallace C. Knapp

Ellicott City

Baltimore doctor works wonders

I have been a patient of Dr. Dror Paley's for four years ("No Summer Break," Aug. 24).

I was born with achondroplasia 16 years ago. When I found out about Dr. Paley, I knew he was my only hope. I have to admit the first consultation I had with Dr. Paley turned into a very long wait. But it was well worth it.

I began treatment with Dr. Paley in June 1998, and I am now finished with my lengthening surgeries. Before my surgeries I stood 3 feet 9 inches. Today I am 4 feet 10 1/2 inches tall.

Not only did I achieve added height but my lower limbs were straightened as well as my back. Dr. Paley is truly one in a million.

Kristen DeAndrade

Pembroke, Mass.

Officer's dedication will be sorely missed

Officer Crystal D. Sheffield was a friend and a colleague. We thank her for her dedication and hard work ("Officer is killed rushing to a call," Aug. 23).

She will be greatly missed. And she and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.

God bless you, Crystal.

Edward Gorwell

Baltimore

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