Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 13, 2006

Finding new ways to care for everyone

We at the Maryland Health Care for All Campaign join The Sun in praising the Massachusetts legislature for breaking new ground in expanding access to health care last week ("No free riders," editorial, April 6).

Like The Sun's editorial board, we agree that people who can afford to pay for health care insurance should be required to do so. Otherwise, they impose an unfair burden on those of us who pay for health care, and make it harder to achieve health care for all.

This, of course, is much the same reason that the General Assembly enacted the landmark Fair Share Health Care law this year to make sure that large employers also pay their fair share for health care.

Maryland and Massachusetts are leading the way in coming up with innovative ways to equitably share the burden of health care expansion.

For the future, our Health Care for All Plan seeks to ensure quality, affordable care for all Marylanders by increasing tobacco taxes to fund an expansion of Medicaid coverage, requiring upper-income uninsured people to purchase health insurance (as Massachusetts did) and requiring all companies that do not provide health care insurance to their employees to contribute to a state fund to expand coverage.

We believe that in 2007, there is a very good chance that two of these three key elements of our plan - increasing tobacco taxes to expand health care and requiring upper-income people to have health care - will become law.

Maryland voters can help make this happen by making sure that candidates for governor and the General Assembly in November's elections support these goals.

Vincent DeMarco

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Move deliberately on school takeover

One thing seems to have been missing in the debate over the takeover of certain Baltimore schools by the state: What will the state Department of Education, the state legislature and the city of Baltimore do during the year delay in the state takeover that the legislature has mandated ("Veto killed, takeover of schools halted," April 11)?

Two major areas of disagreement need to be examined.

First, have the schools in question made sufficient progress to forestall a takeover by the state, as Mayor Martin O'Malley would assert? Or are they truly underperforming to the extent the state claims?

And second, have school system takeovers by nonprofit or profit-making organizations in other cities and states brought about sufficient improvement to warrant such a drastic measure?

Recent articles in The Sun suggest that the answer to this question is not clear.

It would be in the best interests of the city, the state and the children of Baltimore to take sufficient time to examine these questions carefully before any state takeover occurs.

Albert J. Fowler

Timonium

Don't punish people for self-defense

After I read The Sun's article "Two killings test right to self-defense" (April 8), I couldn't help but feel that I was in some type of alternate universe where the criminals are the good guys and anyone who doesn't allow himself or herself to be victimized will be punished.

I can't think of a single reason why these two people, Karen L. Foxx and Mark A. Beckwith, should be made to suffer through the agony of wondering if they will be thrown into jail for the act of not allowing themselves to be killed.

It's bad enough that innocent people have to live in fear of crime.

We shouldn't compound that problem by not allowing people to protect the thing that is more valuable than all else - their lives.

Rick Proctor

Bel Air

Reasons to doubt `Gospel of Judas'

While the discovery of the "Gospel of Judas" may have some historical significance ("Gospel of Judas rattles beliefs" April 7), I don't see how it could possibly be a serious challenge to the Christian faith. Just a historic fact or two, a little math and a bit of common sense can show why this is the case.

According to history, the early Catholic Church rejected the "Gospel of Judas" in 180 A.D., which has caused modern scholars to speculate that the very earliest date of authorship could be about 130 A.D. with the latest possible date being the year it was rejected.

Now for the math: Since Judas Iscariot committed suicide at the time of Jesus' crucifixion (30 or 36 A.D.) that would mean the author of this "Gospel" was dead for 100 to 150 years before it was written. Obviously this casts serious doubts on the accuracy of the text's claim of authorship and content.

Compare this with the four Gospels of the New Testament, which were written while the authors and their disciples were still alive (perhaps between 68 and 110 A.D.).

They were also written much closer in time to the events that they relate.

With that in mind, it's easy to see why the early church rejected the "Gospel of Judas" and other Gnostic "Gospels" like it.

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