I was saddened to see the negative piece on mission fundraising ("But it's for a good cause," Sept. 27). If we dispense with Reid and his cookie-cutter fundraising letters, what then? It would be financially impossible for Reid to write individual letters for all of his clients for what he now charges. Thus his services would become beyond the reach of most missions. Shelters would be thrown back on their own resources for generating funds with possibly catastrophic results. Most directors of faith-based ministries don't have the time-and some don't have the education or writing ability-to generate the sort of letters that will motivate donors to give sufficient resources to keep mission doors open. - Jeremy Reynalds, Albuquerque, N.M.
Truth or fraud
In regard to your piece on truth in direct mail and the Russ Reid agency, it strikes me that fraud is fraud, no matter how you dress it up or rationalize the so-called "cost effectiveness" of producing a mailing piece. When I receive a direct-response mailing piece from a ministry, I expect the stories to be true and to be about real people. I want to donate to a real ministry helping real people, not composite "Johnnies" or "Janes." - Charles R. Welty, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am disappointed in your treatment of the rescue mission fundraising issue. You found one disgruntled employee and bit on his story. Why not tell us the results of the ECFA's investigation, and how many rescue missions are careful (most of them) to use authentic stories, while at the same time not violating the privacy rights of residents? - Bill Dodge, WEDodge@juno.com
Thank you for your story on the integrity of rescue mission fundraising. Please consider profiling some of the incredible people that work in rescue ministry. There are many heroes out there serving with integrity. I am a chaplain at the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle and I am blessed to say that all our stories are real. I am contacted regularly by our development department asking for stories to tell and I have plenty to give. - Larry Joslin, ActsMan319@aol.com
Standing on principle
You tackled the rescue mission issue with grace and truth. Thank you for such coverage. I also want to thank Richard Shannon for his ethics. He is willing to step aside from his ministry at the mission for a higher purpose and a biblical principle. With more men like Mr. Shannon, we would have fewer situations like the one in this article. I pray these missions, which are doing a great service to our communities, will correct their mistakes. God is able to supply without manipulation. - Denny Nissley, Manassas, Va.
I was rather surprised by Joel Belz's comment ("Making bureaucracy irrelevant," Sept. 27) that private- and homeschoolers are immune from things such as Goals 2000 and national tests. West Germany was immune from tanks in the East as long as those tanks stayed in the East. And it has been only with exerted effort that we have kept the Department of Education's tanks on the public side of the wall in the last few years. While the private- and homeschoolers have not yet been directly hurt by the feds, it was homeschoolers who were lobbying the Hill when Gorton and Goodling passed their amendments to effectively stop federal testing. As far as I can tell, in a dismal show of apathy, the broader conservative community has failed to follow the homeschoolers. - Steve Southwick, Standish, Maine
Pamela Johnson, in her article "Mr. Chips, join the NEA" (Sept. 27), describes a familiar pattern of Hollywood decline over the years, but she failed to mention at least three films where teaching and teachers are celebrated and Christians aren't put down: Stand and Deliver (about Jaime Escalante), Mr. Holland's Opus, and Renaissance Man. - Walt Sharp, Westminster, Colo.