I have grown tired of reading Christians editorialize about gambling ("All bets are off," Aug. 1). The arguments are more politically conservative than based on scriptural principles.
Albert Mohler avoids that pitfall but embraces another-using a hopelessly broad definition of gambling. As a result, his points about greed, work ethics, and stewardship leave unanswered the question about gambling for entertainment purposes. How is it evil to drop $40 at a horse track one day but appropriate to spend $40 that evening to see an opera? His point about "chance" leaves questions unanswered about games that involve skill and leaves questions unasked about the morality of purchasing stocks, futures, insurance, and so on. It is good to see Dr. Mohler sympathize with the poor, but frankly, gambling is not nearly as large a problem as welfare/charity dependency, the government's education monopoly, and our culture's rampant materialism. That said, Christians are well served to focus on other issues. - D. Eric Schansberg, Indiana University
Herb Strather, a trustee of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church and an investor with one of the casino groups, says the casinos "will create a minimum of 50 real, solid black millionaires." How sad to think that thousands of families and lifestyles will diminish in order to create these millionaires. - Richard Barth, Poulsbo, Wash.
The truly sad part is the casinos and lotteries don't even come close to giving the suckers an even break. If we flipped coins and you got 50 cents when you won, and lost a dollar when you didn't-those are the odds in the Florida lottery. One half of the money is removed before the pot is figured. Then you face odds of 1 in 13,000,000. If you got the first five numbers, you'd still have only one chance in 44 of hitting the last number. Our preachers could show their congregations how the investments and payrolls the casinos have could not be maintained if they offered an even bet. Simple probability theory is not rocket science and is easily comprehended (and taught). - Don Cain, Orlando, Fla.
UN contra Christianity
Thank you for having the courage to publish "The UN vs. Christianity?" (Aug. 1). The story of what the United Nations is doing in Sudan today has striking parallels to what it did in the Christian country of Katanga [a province of Congo that was independent from July 1960 to Jan. 1963] in 1961. In Sudan, the UN diverts food from Christians who are starving and sends it to where it is little needed; in Katanga, the UN did the same when it sent UN troops, not to the chaos-filled streets of the Congo where they were most needed, but to the peaceful streets of Katanga where they were not needed, and certainly not wanted. Thousands needlessly lost their lives when the UN invaded Katanga despite the UN's claim to be "acting in the best interests of all involved." There is no doubt in my mind that it is the UN vs. Christianity. It pains me that there are Christians who do not yet realize that. - David Eastman, Huntington Beach, Calif.
I agree that art forms mass-produced for commercial ends can lack creativity, but recycling the creativity of the past is certainly not new ("Retro-grade culture," Aug. 1). Shakespeare has been done for centuries, and many basic storylines have been around since Bible times. Just because we see recycling of past classics does not mean that creativity is lacking. Consider the sheer number of new works that are being produced daily. It is especially exciting to see what Christians are doing to keep our culture alive. - Patty D. Conrad, Norman, Okla.
I just discovered your magazine on the Internet. I can't believe how wonderful and well-written it is. I've searched for a Christian magazine not half-baked (The Door) or ecumenical (Christianity Today), but well-rounded, with an emphasis on the cultural issues affecting us. Many of the issues you cover are apparently not considered very important by the mainstream press, but each of your articles covers topics of great importance to me. - Harry Seabrook, Roswell, Ga.