Proceed With Caution

John Cznadel's recent letter regarding proposed school start-time changes illustrates a critical point in planning schedules. The changes would create major hardships for middle school music programs and other programs, and for all who are involved in them: students, teachers and parents.

Care should be taken to assure that these activities do not run any later into the late-afternoon or evening than at present.

With all of the emphasis placed on addressing special needs throughout the system, this certainly is a very important one, and the School Board should take steps to keep these schedules in place.

Kevin M. Raymond

Dale City

'An Act of Bigotry'

The recently completed Virginia legislative session saw many things that should give Virginians pause. The budget impasse was one, but the most shameful bill that was passed and signed into law by Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) was a bill sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) of the 13th House District. I speak of HR-751 "Affirmation of Marriage Act for the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Far from being an affirmation of marriage, this bill is an act of bigotry and zealotry directed toward gays and lesbians. Worse yet, it is an act that attempts to disenfranchise innocent citizens by restricting their constitutional right to enter into contracts. It reminds me of the kind of treatment that was once meted out to the disabled. They were routinely labeled as "idiots" and confined to "mad houses" where they languished and died. It also is eerily reminiscent of the laws passed in Virginia that dehumanized slaves.

But there is a far more telling comparison. In 1939, in Nazi Germany, the legislature passed laws remarkably similar to HR-751, but which applied to the Jews. The immediate result was "Krystallnacht," followed in time by the horror of the Holocaust.

When we single out a group of people for unequal and restrictive treatment in this way, we betray the very principles that led to the formation of these United States. How is it possible to ignore so blatantly our founding precepts? It is an affront to the absolutely fundamental principal encapsulated in our Pledge of Allegiance: "with liberty and justice for all."

My own approach to life and society is strongly influenced by the tolerance that I saw in the life of Jesus. I am appalled and ashamed for those who voted to approve a bill such as HR-751, which incorporates such inexcusable intolerance. What a travesty it makes of the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I hope that some day our legislators realize that the words of our Declaration of Independence are the real ideals by which we should live and govern. When religious zealotry becomes enmeshed in government, and bigotry and intolerance stalk the land, tyranny is usually but a few strides behind.

Robert B. Moler

Catharpin

Foolhardy Choices

Evidence continues to mount as to the total Neanderthal and unsophisticated approach to government displayed by the Prince William delegation to the Virginia General Assembly. The Post made this very clear Friday when it quoted Moody's Investment Service as saying that Virginia's budget plan for next year "will restore the state's structural balance and illustrate the strength of the Commonwealth's long tradition of conservative financial management."

Isn't it interesting that the Prince William House delegates, under the banner of fiscal conservatism, voted no (with the exception of Manassas Delegate Harry J. Parrish) not only on the budget, but on the appropriations bill as well.

I wonder what would have happened if our state had lost its AAA bond rating as a result of such unconcerned and irresponsible behavior. Indeed, had this AAA rating been lowered, it would have cost the state untold dollars in increased bond finance charges. Yet Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who voted against the state budget, railed against the Moody statement, saying that "Virginia should be run by Virginians, not Wall Street." Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) aptly rejoined, "The absurdity of that statement ought to stand on its own."

All in all, Prince William House representatives have written a record of poor government, poor representation, poor fiscal sense and overall poor intelligence when it comes to representing the citizens of this county and the state as a whole.

William E. Henry

Bristow