Swirling swallows

In October two years ago, we visited the Myrtle Maze at Legare Farms. While there we were accidental witnesses to the mass migration of tree swallows.

For hours, thousands of the small birds swirled in the air just above our heads, swooped into the wax myrtle grove to seize berries on the fly, and dipped down to skim the surface of a freshwater pond for a drink. I was told that the swallows appear every year to provide the same awe-inspiring spectacle.

Scores of tourists used to visit San Juan Capistrano to view the annual return of the swallows there. This comparable event in the Lowcountry of South Carolina is no less worthy of acclaim.

Beyond the fact that the property is beautiful beyond description, the annual return of these swallows should in itself be reason enough to forever protect this land from development.

I urge members of Charleston County Council to approve the use of Greenbelt funds to place a conservation easement on Legare Farms. Then be sure to visit the property next October for a memorable sight that will mesmerize and fascinate you.

Grace Reed

Lenwood Boulevard

Charleston

Powerful imagery

It wouldn't be Christmas without an oh-so-reasonable humanist lightly reproving our distress over the banning of a nativity scene on federal, state, county or city property.

In this case, the controversy arose at Shaw Air Force Base. A Dec. 23 letter on your editorial page featured meandering paragraphs on that subject.

There is no court-ordered solution for the present holiday dilemma that well-meaning, intolerant folks have pushed on us.

Your writer stands his ground on military property, and as a former participant in that business, I feel compelled to raise objections.

I wonder if that writer has observed the military cemeteries in Normandy and the rest of Europe with rows of crosses and Stars of David. Has he ever seen old newsreels showing bodies of sailors being tipped over the side into an ocean far, far from home, accompanied by the scant religious trappings that a warship could carry?

Imagery is a powerful thing. This nation used religious images in the military for years without offense. Older generations included hard men who paid little attention to their souls but didn't hemorrhage over Nativity scenes.

The writer apparently thinks of the Air Force as just another "government agency." Will he send out the Department of Energy next time this country comes under attack?

Craig S. Faust

Church Creek Drive

Charleston

Try the slow lane

I would like to know if the designers of the intersection at Folly Road and Maybank Highway tried it out before they designed it. And now that it is designed have they ever tried to use it at 5:30 p.m. any weekday?

I'll look for them next time I'm waiting in the turn lane backed up to Wendy's.

Karen Holter

Stono Watch Drive

Johns Island

Christians elected

In a Dec. 19 letter, "Pray for nation," a woman writes about how troubled she and her friends at Jacksonboro Baptist Church are because Christians in this country are losing their rights and being persecuted.

Not surprisingly, she offered no examples.

Even stranger, she said that Christians did not vote in the last election. Since over 90 percent of those elected were Christians, with an overwhelming majority of voters identifying as Christian, I can't imagine what she has to complain about.

Although I'm an atheist, I almost always vote for a Christian, not because I'm impressed by their declared God beliefs, but because I usually have no other choice.

So I look for, but don't always find, Christians who support church-state separation, favor the teaching of evolution, oppose the use of public funds for religiously affiliated organizations, and back gay rights and abortion rights.

If Christians are being persecuted and, presumably, atheists are advantaged, why is it that atheists in all walks of life are afraid to come out of their non-religious closet and no acknowledged atheist serves in Congress?

Herb Silverman

George Street

Charleston

No surprise

Talk about a non-story. That teacher advocacy groups - a euphemism for unions - oppose the teacher evaluation system being tested in 14 Charleston County schools (Post and Courier, Dec. 11) is akin to reporting the sun rose in the east this morning.

Evaluation systems, by their very nature, are easy targets because they cannot be designed without a degree of subjectivity.

The only system a union will embrace is one that rarely, if ever, results in the discharge or demotion of someone they presume to represent.

The Charleston County School Board and Superintendent Nancy McGinley are to be commended for exploring ways to upgrade what historically has been a less than stellar school system.

A better teacher evaluation program is not a cure-all but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

N. John Garcia

Sea Grass Lane

Isle of Palms

Governor's gift

Thank you, Post and Courier, for printing a front-page story about Gov. Nikki Haley's Christmas gift.

I've been pointing out to my friends and family that the real "war against women" is from our liberal media.

Your coverage of our first female governor of South Carolina always helps my cause.

Alice Whitt

New Street

Charleston