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Mailbag

Issue: "Urban mission fundraising," Sept. 27, 1997

Beware of strings

As parents of four children in private Christian schools we would benefit greatly from tuition tax credits or vouchers ("Yes, sir, Mr. President," August 9/16).Yet we vehemently oppose them because we see the inevitability of governmental interference. Why would anyone think that Uncle Sam gives aid without strings attached? Each new governmental regulation advanced to define schools, or describe acceptable curriculum, or mandate hiring quotas in order to qualify for aid would cause arguments in the constituency. Soon incremental changes would make Christian schools fail, either through loss of finances or loss of character. - Randy and Marilyn Helmus, Highland, Ind.

A good beginning

Thanks for the article on the faith-based prison in Houston ("God and man behind bars," August 9/16). I hope and pray that this is just the beginning of many more of these. - Lucy M. Smith, Quitman, Miss.

Clearly evil

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Thanks to Joel Belz for his startlingly accurate "Second-hand steam" (August 23/30). We have been covering similar ground in discussions with our teenage children, and your word picture brings great clarity to the issue. I believe similar arguments can and should be applied to other aspects of electronic entertainment, such as profanity, violence, lawlessness, etc. - Keith Rosentrater, Salem, Ore.

Not so simple

Though I agree in principle with Joel Belz's article on viewing simulated sex, one has to extrapolate that same logic when the subject is simulated war, murder, violence or even toys my nine-year-old plays with. All of these things, when acted out in real life, are sins. So are they (we) equally sinful when we view them as entertainment? Without justifying setting our eyes on vile things, I think the subject is not that simple. I have to search deep and wide to find out if my love for Nebraska football is as evil as Teddy Roosevelt said it was back at the turn of the century. - Randy Rogers, Shenandoah, Iowa

Military blues

I was shocked and appalled when I read Gene Edward Veith's culture note: "Sissifying the military" (August 23/30). What in the world are they thinking? I seriously doubt that an enemy soldier (whose objective it is to kill U.S. soldiers) will care whether or not U.S. soldiers are feeling blue, or close to their fellow soldiers. - Joseph A. Thacker, Jackson, Miss.

Dimmed light

I fear that in a desire to preserve the integrity of the church, William Smith ("Learning to be quiet," August 23/30) has instead reduced her sphere of responsibility to that of a culturally irrelevant religious cloister. The inevitable implication is that our light is dimmed, our salt loses its savor, and a once-Christian culture sinks further into godless apostasy. Mr. Smith's position has been the dominant one in Christian circles for the past 70 years. Most evangelicals, unlike our Puritan and Presbyterian ancestors, agree with him and have built the modern church on his assumptions regarding the role of the church in society. And World magazine documents the fruits of that church in every issue. Maybe it's time to re-think this issue? - Brian M. Abshire, Glendale, Wis.

Gospel first

I read with appreciation William Smith's "Learning to be quiet." It is wrong to assume that proficiency in theology and Bible makes us experts in politics, government, city planning, plumbing, or whatever. America needs the church of Jesus Christ to proclaim and live out the implications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That should be our first priority. - Don Ward, Centerville, Ohio

Failure to prophesy

The PCA general assembly's decision not to advise (for the sake of conscience) or humbly petition the government to ban women from combat roles is a failure to prophesy righteously against the state for its perilous and foolish policies. If the defense of our country and its strategic interests and the moral welfare of our young women do not constitute "cases extraordinary," I'll boil and eat my copy of the Confession for dinner! As an officer in the Marine Corps, I can attest to the detrimental effect to combat readiness and the rampant moral turpitude that exists in today's force. - J. Darren Duke, Charlottesville, Va.

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