Death penalty ban exposes America's moral divide

Re: "Maryland death penalty ban heads to Martin O'Malley's desk," March 15

As expected, the Maryland legislature voted to abolish capital punishment. Leftism is now the most dynamic religion in the West today, replacing the Judeo-Christian value system in all areas of life -- from morals to education, economics and art.

Leftists believe it is just and compassionate to allow savage murderers to retain their most precious possession: their lives. They view their "progressive" dogma -- which they get from the op-ed pages of the Washington Post and New York Times, and which will allow the next sadists and murderers of kindergarteners to have lunch in prison, watch TV and write manifestos brandishing their twisted views -- as elevated modern thought.

Citing the only commandment mentioned in all five key books of the Old Testament, that a man who murders shall himself be killed, the conservative Right considers this ban degenerate, regressive, highly unjust, uncivilized and unkind to the victims and their families and friends. They argue that capital punishment elevates society by clearly and powerfully stating that life is the ultimate good, and whoever takes an innocent life should pay with their own.

Americans live in two different moral universes, and their two religions are irreconcilable.

Dr. Howard Sachs,

Chevy Chase

Climate change more important to Obama than jobs

Re: "Canada pushes Keystone pipeline in NYT ad," March 18

Environmental groups oppose the Keystone XL pipeline because of the feared impact of oil sands expansion on global climate. To effectively counter this concern, one must demonstrate that the science is too immature to know the future of climate, let alone that human activities have much influence on it.

Rather than make these important points in their pro-pipeline advertisement in the New York Times, the Alberta government concentrated on job and wealth creation benefits, asserting that the contribution of oil sands to climate change is small and that other steps are being taken to reduce emissions.

President Obama's focus on ending America's use of coal to generate electricity should serve as a warning to pipeline proponents. It demonstrates that climate change is more important to his administration than energy security, jobs or finance. Otherwise, Obama would be boosting coal, America's most plentiful and least expensive source of electric power, which is increasingly clean and still supplies half of all U.S. demand.

If pipeline supporters don't properly address the climate issue, we can expect Keystone XL will be rejected as well.

Tom Harris

Executive director,

International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario

Save the welcome mat for legal immigrants

Re: "Md. panel considers driver's licenses for illegal immigrants," March 14

An old Arab proverb warns:"Once a camel gets his nose in your tent, his body will soon follow." Michael McDermott has that notion in mind when he commented on the foolish idea of issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. But he appears confused when he adds: "I have a feeling that we're going to have people coming back and saying, 'Now I'm a second-tier citizen' because they don't have a real driver's license."

By definition, illegal immigrants are not American citizens at all, much less second-class. Treating them as such insults every legal immigrant who has proved worthy of citizenship by obeying our immigration laws.

Illegal immigrants are criminals. They are not entitled to any rights reserved for citizens. As an old Hungarian proverb says:"The place of an unbidden guest is outside the door."

Making life easy for illegal immigrants only encourages disrespect for our country, our society and our laws. We should reserve our welcome mat and open our arms for those who respect our house, not those who break in, piss in the teapot and make demands.

Laszlo Pentek