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Mailbag

Issue: "Justice to the Chief," Jan. 23, 1999

Old news

The cover story, "Shouting down Christians?" (Dec. 19), was one of the most disturbing articles I have read in weeks. How was I to know that 26 years ago when I was challenged to consider the claims of Christ and his death for me, that I was going to become a member of a vast, right-wing political organization bent on destroying America. Every day I am struck by the aggressive, focused, and passionate vilification of Christians. I have just recently reread Foxe's Book of Martyrs and I am reminded that failure to read history is a failure to gain perspective. This really is old news. Christians today will ultimately go the way of Christians of the past if we truly understand our calling. Christians are light in the darkness and salt for our society. The gospel has the same life-changing power today as it did 2,000 years ago; we must be faithful witnesses. Paul challenged Timothy, "Be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." If Christians understand current events through the filter of God's Word and live our lives with integrity, Christ will be honored. - William F. Wood Jr., Berkeley Lake, Ga.

Systematic suppression

Thank you for your piece on the suppression of Christian free speech in America. I was pleased to see a major Christian source finally recognize what pro-lifers, street preachers, and other street-activist Christians have known for at least a decade-that the government is systematically suppressing any expression of truth. On Jan. 7, here in Portland, Ore., two national pro-life organizations and a dozen pro-life leaders go on trial in federal court on a $600 million lawsuit by Planned Parenthood. Their crime? They called abortionists murderers and published two posters saying they were "guilty of crimes against humanity." And don't think the American Civil Liberties Union is on the side of free speech. In a recent press release, the ACLU said that "when abortion is described as 'murder' and fetuses are characterized as 'babies,' the result is violence against [abortion] providers and clinics." For years, we've been too busy being pietistic to help believers who have been suppressed, but Christians have been in this First Amendment ghetto for years. Only now is the ghetto being shrunk and some of the "notables" among us are finally feeling the pinch. - Paul de Parrie, Life Advocate magazine

Ranting to applause

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How ironic that the same week I received the "Tolerance Police" issue of World magazine, Alec Baldwin was ranting on national television that people should "stone Henry Hyde" and kill the wives of Republican congressmen. What was most unsettling, though, was the studio audience's reaction to Mr. Baldwin's tirade: cheers and laughter. - Thaddeus Wert, Nashville, Tenn.

He never learned manners

I was appalled by actor Alec Baldwin's caustic remarks encouraging the president's supporters, supposedly in parody fashion, to murder Rep. Henry Hyde and his family. Can you imagine the street demonstrations and accusations of "hate speech" by the liberals if a pro-life individual or group had had the audacity to utter similar remarks? Mr. Baldwin has the God-given right to disagree with Rep. Hyde's politics, but it seems that Mr. Baldwin never heard Jack Kennedy's maxim that civility is not a sign of weakness. We have a right and a civic duty to debate the merits of our own political opinions, but no one has the right to make ad hominem attacks against his opponents, or make death threats against them or their families. - Steven A. Costello, Lake Jackson, Texas

Losing faith

As a Christian collegian who regularly experiences anti-Christian "hate speech" at a secular university, Bob Jones IV's article "Shouting down Christians?" struck a resounding chord with me. For instance, I have been told, among other things, that "Christians are psychologically damaged" and "it's those [deleted] Christians stopping progress." I have been marked down for expressing an "invalid" Christian viewpoint. An agnostic classmate of mine told me, "You're really smart, and have some good things to say, but no one takes you seriously because you're a Christian." Censorship of Christians is not coming. It is. At school, all things are accepted under the banner of tolerance except Christianity, and as it is not acceptable to criticize anything else, Christians get blamed for everything from the Matthew Shepard tragedy to the subjection of women. Only one thing is intolerable anymore and it is Jesus and those who wear His name. For all the ideals of free speech that many on campus claim to hold, I found out that tolerance, which they also profess to cherish, is simply, "Christians go away and be quiet." If you are a Christian, your voice does not count; you are crazy; you have no right to be heard. I have lost faith during my college tenure-faith that all people are capable of being reasonable and honest. - Sarah Hunt, Albuquerque, N.M.

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