Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 30, 2003

`Thought police' right to be upset with Santorum

I suppose I am one of the "politically correct thought police" Gregory Kane feels is targeting Sen. Rick Santorum merely because he "stubbornly clings to the view that homosexuality is a sin" ("Privacy issue is at the center of Sen. Santorum comments," April 26).

We all have our own definition of sin. I happen to believe that voting for Republicans is a sin, but I don't think that people should go to jail for it.

And that's what's wrong with Mr. Santorum's views -- he doesn't merely think that gay sex is sinful or that, as a matter of constitutional law, the state has the right to pass laws outlawing certain private sexual behaviors, even if such laws are misguided.

No, Mr. Santorum actually thinks that these laws are a good idea -- that the state should be on record as reserving the right to arrest people for homosexual acts.

This is not a dry academic debate. This is not about someone's hurt feelings about being compared to a bigamist. The real question is, should we arrest people for having gay sex? And Mr. Santorum clearly thinks the answer is yes.

If being appalled by this makes me part of the "politically correct thought police," I will wear Gregory Kane's scorn as a badge of honor.

John Shea

Columbia

Senator shows limits of GOP's compassion

Why was anyone surprised by Sen. Rick Santorum's comments concerning homosexuality ("GOP largely quiet on Santorum's remarks," April 24)? You do not get to be the third-ranking Senate Republican unless you embrace the beliefs of the core of the party. And the core of the Republican Party believes that there is no right to privacy and that the government should enforce its religious beliefs.

The difference between the comments of Sen. Trent Lott and those of Mr. Santorum is that it is still acceptable to discriminate against gays and deny them the same rights each of us takes for granted.

And once again Republicans have demonstrated the principles of inclusion and "tolerance" implied by their "Big Tent" and "Compassionate Conservatism" are nothing more than campaign jargon intended to mislead voters and win elections.

Richard L. Ottenheimer

Pikesville

Santorum voiced his moral values

I am usually disgusted, although not surprised, at how members of the left like to rail against conservatives who dare to express a personal opinion unlike their own.

The American left has historically led the charge of the government's intrusion into our lives, especially our wallets, to carry out their own social agenda. And now, someone who lumps together incest, pedophilia and homosexual activity as morally wrong is labeled a bigot ("Homosexuality remark draws fire for senator," April 23)?

I don't agree with where that person draws the line about acceptable sexual activity. But I think his statement is an example of moral values.

Rick Burk

Columbia

Is city subsidizing county water rates?

Let me make sure I have a full understanding of Baltimore's recent 9 percent water rate hike: The city built, owns and maintains the water system and will charge its residents an average fee of $564 for water for a family of four. The city also sells water to some surrounding counties, whose residents pay average fees of $272 in Carroll County and $514 in Baltimore County -- fees that are lower than those charged city residents ("City planning 9% jump in water rates," April 23).

This enables those counties to build housing supplied by city water that has a lower tax and water rate, which then allows those counties to siphon off additional residents from the city.

Why is it that the residents of the jurisdiction that had the foresight to build the water system are essentially subsidizing the residents of counties that are buying the product of that foresight?

James F. Hejl Jr.

Baltimore

Disregard for art turns tragic in Iraq

The failure of American officials to protect the ancient treasures of Iraq, even after they were warned of the potential for mass looting, is a clear manifestation of one of the fundamental tenets of American culture: Life is life and art is art, and never the twain shall meet ("Stolen artifacts finding way into the world's art markets," April 22).

Founded on Puritan principles, the United States has always kept art in a side pocket of our society, as opposed to our neighbor to the South, for example, where Mexican citizens experience art and all its manifestations as an integral and vital part of their lives.

The way our attitude toward art played out in the battle for Baghdad was that priceless Iraqi artifacts were deemed simply not important enough to protect.

Ellen Baron Blaustein

Lutherville

Art isn't worth loss of one American life

I agree with Gary Vikan, the director of the Walters Art Museum ("Cultural leaders protest looting," April 18), and the writer of the letter "Vikan's resignation sends strong signal" (April 24) that museums are valuable to preserve our treasures, history and culture.

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