Saturday Mailbox


January 13, 2007

Draft could corrode our resolve to fight

What Lawrence J. Korb and others who advocate reinstating the draft fail to recognize is that emotions should have nothing to do with fighting wars ("Burden should be shared," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 9).

Mr. Korb suggests that forcing 18-year-olds into the armed forces will cause families and friends of those forced into service to be so "emotionally involved" that they would advocate for an immediate cessation of violence.

Mr. Korb paints this as a good thing. In fact, it seems to me that it is just the opposite.

People will never be OK with sending their sons and daughters off to war; many people would rather see a foreign enemy succeed than see their child sacrifice his or her life.

The decision to go to war cannot be informed by such emotions. It must be made in a rational way with as little emotional attachment as possible.

Yes, a commander in chief must consider the lives of the young men and women that might be sacrificed - to do otherwise would be inhumane callousness.

However, at the end of the day, the decision must be made based on the facts - and on whether war is necessary or not.

Reinstating the draft would greatly hamper the United States' ability to go to war when doing so is necessary.

Aaron Gavant


Confronting sin is a higher priority

The Rev. Jo Bailey Wells' column "The Virginia Episcopal schism: a wound in Christianity's heart" (Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 4) offered an informative and interesting perspective, to be sure.

Yet there is a perspective she did not address that should be considered by any professing Christian: What does God command?

Pastor Bailey emphasizes the communion of believers and rightly places a high value on maintaining that communion. But I wonder what God values more - maintaining communion at all costs, or being obedient to Him and refusing to compromise with sin?

When the Bible clearly says there should not be a hint of sexual immorality in our midst, do we dare, for the sake of fellowship or communion, close our eyes to God's obvious prohibition against homosexual acts or put ourselves under the authority of one who practices such sin without repentance?

This is not a contest about being right. It is a test of fidelity to God by submitting ourselves to the boundaries He has established for our sexuality. God equates obedience with love; if we love Him, we keep His commandments.

That same love confronts sin and refuses to embrace or ignore it.

David Gilmore

Glen Burnie

Razing city's past won't boost future

Every trip I make north on Charles Street toward the Washington Monument is accompanied by a timeworn mantra - shame.

Shame on the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which prevailed in its bid to raze the Rochambeau Apartments.

The same mantra accompanies my southbound journey on Cathedral Street: Shame on the University of Baltimore for sacrificing the quaint and historic Odorite Building.

These are but two examples of a trend that has accelerated as downtown Baltimore has experienced an increase in property values and desirability as a destination.

Development led by the moneyed interests who presently control large parcels of downtown real estate continues to make our downtown an exciting and vibrant place. It enhances the city's desirability for business people and pleasure seekers.

But it should not be forgotten that part of what makes the city's downtown an interesting place to visit is its unique appearance.

The visual pastiche of old and new fa?ades interspersed with busy thoroughfares and shadowy alleys makes the heart of our downtown appealing.

As Mercy Medical Center considers its expansion plans and the demands of preservationists, it should think very carefully about how it wants to be remembered ("Hospital might spare one house," Jan. 5).

Mercy can help to preserve a piece of city history, or it can join the pantheon of shame that includes the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the University of Baltimore and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr.

A. I. Schneiderman


Save lives and souls before old buildings

In his column "Year-end musings on candidates, killings, demolitions" (Dec. 28), Eric Siegel questioned whether there is a trend for nonprofit groups to undertake demolitions - citing the University of Baltimore's razing of the Odorite Building, the Archdiocese of Baltimore's demolition of the Rochambeau and Mercy Medical Center's possible razing of some rowhomes.

He quotes Johns Hopkins, the executive director of Baltimore Heritage, saying, "It's the nature of the institutions to think that their mission is so important that it overrides any other aspect of anything."

This is an ironic assertion by one who represents a group of preservationists that has sued Mercy Medical Center to prevent it from building its hospital tower - a project critical to Mercy and to the health of the city and its residents ("Hospital might spare one house," Jan. 5).

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