Educating children is a religious endeavor ("What will it take to get School-to-Work?" Sept. 5). Moses said, "Teach your children these things," referring to the Ten Commandments' philosophical definition of truth and reality. There is a good creator who designed human life for meaning and purpose.
The false assumption that public education can be philosophically neutral leaves public education defenseless against special interests and disguised ideologies, many of which were included under the education umbrella called "Goals 2000/ School-to-Work." Here in Oregon the dishonest education "reform" agenda shows these results: Local media and business leaders uncritically parrot education department propaganda, test scores are stagnant, and teachers are afraid to speak up. Thanks for your comprehensive article. - Sharon Roy, Silverton, Ore.
Precious, but not an angel
I really appreciated the article "Entertaining angels" (Sept. 5). I think Barbara Curtis did an excellent job informing us of the struggles and the joys of a family with special-needs children. The church and Christian schools can learn a lot from this article. In fact, I plan to send out a number of copies to people I know.
I hope we remember there is a distinct difference between people and angels. With books on angels, angel gift items, and TV programs about angels, we need to remember that people do not become angels, as taught in It's a Wonderful Life and Touched by an Angel. Angels are created asexual beings to minister to those who are redeemed. People will never become angels and angels do not become people. Even though this child with Down Syndrome was a precious gift, he was not an angel. - Don Jabaay, Cedar, Iowa
They need Christ, too
As a mother of six children (four with Down Syndrome) I could understand the lack of love and compassion Mrs. Curtis had experienced within the church. That has, heartbreakingly, been our experience also. Once our boys were older than toddlers, there was no one in the church that wanted to take the time and effort to help them one-on-one in a Sunday school class. I've often been told that I could teach a class for special-needs kids. (I homeschool all week; that's all I needed.)
Children, teenagers, and adults with Down Syndrome need to be included in the body life of the church not because they are "angels unaware" but because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They need to be encouraged in the Word; they need to worship the Lord and fellowship with other believers. Please don't allow people to idealize the disabled. They are people who need Jesus, their family, and the church. - J.S., Valinda, Calif.
Compassion, but ...
My heart goes out to Barbara Curtis. I thank God that he blessed Jonathan with such a wonderful mother. Still, I feel the need to address some of the points she made. She said her church made her feel isolated, but she admits they "brought gifts and meals, entertained our kids, and spent hours in prayer." What more could they have done?
One of her statements floored me: "While public school kids have for years been learning to accept and feel comfortable with special-needs kids...." Would you please tell that to my son, whose public-school experience included being surrounded by taunt-chanting children, being poked with sticks, having his belongings destroyed, and having rocks thrown at him because of his speech difficulties. It wasn't until I transferred my son to a Christian school that he began to make friends and find acceptance from his peers.
Finally, she states, "Christian schools have refused to face their responsibilities to provide for the education of children like Jonathan." It would be lovely if more Christian schools were able to provide for children like Jonathan, but they have no responsibility to do so. I remember the day the principal of my son's Christian school and I realized together that they really didn't have the resources to help him properly. She was kind and warm, and she sincerely wanted to help me, but she couldn't. At that moment I realized the responsibility for my son's education and well-being was mine. It was a liberating realization, and with the help of God and the wonderful support of my Christian brothers and sisters, we began our homeschooling adventure. - Laura Bauman, Woodstock, Ill.
Thank you for "Entertaining angels." We too are parents of "special-needs" children. Ours are not physically handicapped. We received them through the foster care system. They have been removed from their birth parents and suffer some emotional damage. For over a year we struggled with one boy, who went back to his "state of origin" last week because he couldn't function in our family. The Christians in our church had no idea of what we continue to go through. We, like your author, found help outside the Christian community and are still being criticized for it. I would hope that pastors and Christian brothers and sisters would find a way to reach out to parents of special-needs children and their families. I thank God for our adopted children and that God has also adopted me. - William M. Betts, Oconto, Wis.
Please cancel because of your endorsement of Private Ryan. - C.J. Atwood, Madison, Ala.
Why do the wicked prosper?
Like G. E. Veith, I have been encouraged by the excellence of Christian education ("Educational victory," Sept. 5). His vision of Christians taking the cultural rudder may be a bit too optimistic, however. History has monotonously demonstrated that social chaos ends with power in the hands of the most ruthless, not the best qualified or most virtuous. We'd best pray that God hold our unravelling system of government together lest these capable young Christians become Daniels for some modern-day Nebuchadnezzar, or worse, be deemed enemies of the state. - Paula Grohman, Farmington Hills, Mich.
Don't want to see his face
If you can find nothing better to print in and on your magazine than pictures of Bill Clinton, you can cancel my subscription. I have better things to do with my time and my money than to stare at that depiction of vulgarity. - E.L. Potter, Lafayette, La.
Some are goats
Mr. Olasky's editorial very dramatically emphasized the differences between Bill Clinton's supposed confession and David's genuine confession and plea for forgiveness ("Poetry of anguish," Aug. 29). Mr. Clinton's was designed to appeal to man, and David's was to beg forgiveness of God. As much as I appreciated the article, I was surprised at one statement: "But the Bible notes that all of us are sheep in need of shepherds." Who is the "all of us"? Surely you do not think that your readers are all Christians? The Bible nowhere states that all (as in all of mankind) are sheep. The Bible teaches that there are sheep and there are goats. - Jacob Moseley, Frederick, Md.
Perfect agreement has to wait
I find it incredible that some of your readers cancel (or do not renew) because of one article or review they do not agree with. Do they expect to find greater affinity with the editorials in secular newspapers or with TV commentators? Only in heaven will there be perfect agreement among Christians. - Elsie Palmer, Wayne, N.J.
Strangers on a train
I recently took a 12-hour train trip from Chicago to western Minnesota. My seatmate was a woman from Grand Rapids, Mich. The two of us had a fascinating conversation about the governor's race in Michigan, Detroit's casino plans, and about gambling in general. She was quite surprised that a non-Michigander would know so much about these events in her state. Thanks, WORLD. - Carol Blair, Chicago, Ill.
I am all too often dismayed by the small-minded, narrow outlooks of my fellow Christians in regard to the arts. It seems that many evangelical Christians today are so sheltered, so frightened of "the world" that they virtually cut themselves off from experiences that can greatly enhance their lives. I was disgusted by the amount of negative letters in your Sept. 5 issue in regard to Chris Stamper's review of Saving Private Ryan. For Christians to denounce the film because of its foul language is nothing short of shameful. I for one was moved to my very soul by this film, and the language was such an unimportant factor that I barely even noticed it. I sat through the film alone, unable to control my tears, knowing that my grandfather fought on that beach at Normandy, that he personally witnessed much of the carnage Mr. Spielberg shows, and that since he died three years ago, I cannot do what I long to do: I cannot look him in the eye and thank him for helping to preserve my freedom. When you ignore films such as Saving Private Ryan because of your inability to handle a few bad words, you deprive your minds and hearts of history springing to life before your eyes. You lose. - Danielle Lee Aderholdt, Oxford, Miss.
In Quotables (Sept. 12) you quote pitchman William J. McCorkle as saying, "Money is not the root of all evil-not having money is" and then go on to say, "turns out the Bible had it right," implying that the Bible does say that money is the root of all evil. It does not! 1 Timothy 6:10 says that "the love of money" (greed) "is a root of all kinds of evil." - William H. Behrens Jr., Champaign, Ill.