Reading the review of Oprah Winfrey's new book, Oprah Winfrey Speaks, made me downright irate ("Oprahfication," Jan. 30). In true Stamper-like fashion, he once again chose to focus on the unfortunate things that have happened in Oprah's life and to totally ignore the hundreds of positive things Oprah is doing through her show. Never mind that Oprah has founded the "Angel Network" on her show that accepts donations and helps Habitat for Humanity build houses for families in need. Never mind that she has a recurring segment on her show called "Remembering Your Spirit" that is intended to build up the family unit and encourages parents to spend more time with their children. For a Christian magazine, sometimes I am very surprised at the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of the reviews printed in your magazine. - Baylee Johnson, Indianapolis, Ind.
Seduced and abandoned
Thank you for your cover story on statutory rape ("Lost innocence," Jan. 30). I have friends who work at crisis pregnancy centers, and they are daily in the trenches on this very issue. It is very difficult to persuade a 14-year-old girl that the flattering attentions of an older man are harming her and may change the course of her life for the worse. One of the most negative consequences of the abortion culture is the moral abandonment of our young women. - Esther Lerch, New York, N.Y.
The article "Not-so-private sins" (Jan. 30) was a very well-written perspective on the president. It is surprising that so few Democrats have been willing to admit the president was wrong. Even though they may feel anger toward him, they back him to "save face" because they believed him in the first place. They need to be willing to work through their own pride and come to an honest conclusion. - Hannah Helterbrand (15), Tulsa, Okla.
What Mr. Clinton and his minions practice on Mr. Starr and this nation started years ago with Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali, who would berate his opponents before any fight. Today, it is called talkin' trash. Sit close to a professional basketball court and you will get an earful. This White House has simply moved trash talk from sports and elections to a year-round event. Unlike the past, too many politicians now don't even feel the need to give the appearance of honor and integrity. We should not be surprised. Daniel 4:25 tells us that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men, gives them to anyone He wishes, and sets over them the lowliest of men. We keep your magazines for months, often rereading the essays, reviews, and the in-depth articles. - Nick Patapoff, Los Angeles, Calif.
Blame it on Virginia
I work as a first-grade teacher's aide in a Christian school. As an award for reading at home, one student chose a presidential poster. He pointed out President Clinton and commented that Bill Clinton was our president and that he was in court.Then he said, "Where was [Pres. Clinton's] mommy? His mommy should have taught him not to lie and should have given him more time outs." Out of the mouths of babes. - Sarah Davis, Dallas, Ore.
"Not-so-private sins" speaks well to the humiliation all Americans feel about the president. You might add one important point on which his personal failing has injured us all-it has heightened the enmity between conservatives and liberals a great deal, which can be both good and bad. However the Senate disposes of this impeachment, we are all warned by it. Recently I left home for a meeting knowing I would be gone several hours but telling my kids, "I'll be right back." As I crossed the street, I realized I had told a white lie. I could justify this with an argument that "right back" is a relative matter. But to my kids, I didn't come right back. Hopefully, they went to bed and didn't think about it. But if they did, their attitude toward telling the truth will be influenced. Thanks to this episode, perhaps our consciences are being rekindled-at least if we respond with repentance-and not merely compromised and numbed. Fortunately, for those who believe, "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). - Christopher Kelly, Evanston, Ill.
I was saddened at the negative comments launched at Group Publishing in Culture Beat's review of Spiritual Junk Food ("Stealth Sunday schools," Jan. 31). As a homeschool mom, a Christian committed to living and teaching God's Word, and one who has been involved in children's ministries for over 20 years, I want you to know that Group Publishing's ministry is a breath of fresh air when it comes to providing curriculum that is effective in teaching children the Bible in meaningful ways. The children made by our creative God are not made one dimensionally, and we dare not try and reach them with the precious truths of His Word that way if we hope to be effective. - Dawn Bouchard, Beavercreek, Ohio
Men at work
Your book review and accompanying picture on "humanistic Sunday schools" tell more about the real problem of Sunday school than the actual book does. Nowhere in the article is there a reference to a man being involved in teaching Sunday school. If men were taking their rightful places in teaching children the first steps of Christianity, the modern problems of Sunday school, and maybe even the necessity of Sunday school itself, would be eliminated. As a veteran Sunday school teacher, I can attest that nothing is better for kids to grow in Christ than to have a man lead the class in prayer on its knees; teach them the Apostles' Creed, Ten Commandments, etc.; read aloud from Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Voice of the Martyrs; have the kids read from the Bible and discuss what it means. I have done this with all grades, all levels of "learning disabilities," and have yet to experience student boredom or teacher burnout. Jump into Sunday school, men-you'll teach the most popular class. - George W. Harris, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Joined at our pockets
"Seducing the soccer moms" (Jan. 30) reflects vintage Clinton at his best. His promise to spend the billions of surplus on programs is designed to appeal to our belief that we need help from the Big He. What's more scary than Mr. Clinton is the unpredictability of the Republican leadership. Issues such as the handling of the last budget make me believe that Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich are two of Bill's best friends. One never knows when the Republicans will give the maniac what he wants. - Thomas Brown, Enon, Ohio
In "Seducing the soccer moms," you mention that Mr. Clinton's State of the Union message was the final one of the 20th century. I believe there will also be one in the year 2000, which is the last year of the 20th century. - Ken Barnes, Maryville, Tenn.
I read with interest "Seducing the soccer moms." I too was thoroughly sickened and disgusted with President Clinton's incredible aprés-Christmas gift to all his chosen constituencies. The entire speech was laced with massive giveaways straight from the producer class to the consumer class. Your article brought to mind a section of an article from syndicated columnist Charley Reese that I've kept in a prominent position on my refrigerator and in my Day-Timer. It always reminds me of our position as true Americans. The quote is as follows: "It's disgusting to see Americans crawl before the idol of government and beg: Give me a job, a house, medical care, safe streets, a clean environment and a pension. There's no dishonor in being forced by a superior power into slavery, but it is an eternal disgrace to voluntarily surrender one's liberty for a filthy bowl of oatmeal and a promise of security by liars." - Stephen R. Padgett, Mt. Clemons, Mich.
Excellent article on gambling ("Hitting the jackpot," Jan. 23). As a long-time resident of Nevada, where legalized gambling is all around us (even in the local grocery store), I have seen firsthand the devastation of gaming on society. Most Christians in our state have little problem with gambling, and many work in the gaming industry, as it is the number-one employer. However, we deal daily with broken families and devastated lives of those who are easily sucked into the web of gambling. I urge pastors and lay leaders around the country to lobby hard against any form of legalized gambling in their area. Gaming is a curse on our society. The only winners in legalized gaming are the casinos. They do not produce a product and they add little to the community. They do, however, make enough money to build billion-dollar buildings that continue to attract those who can least afford to gamble. - Rich Lammay, Gardnerville, Neb.
Suicide with honors?
A minor correction to "Saddam strikes back" (Jan. 30). Erwin Rommel was not executed following the failed attempt on Hitler's life. Although in the latter stages of the war Rommel was critical of Hitler's policies, he was not directly involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler on July 18, 1944. Because of his criticism of Hitler's policies, however, he was suspect. Rommel was one of Hitler's favorite generals and, as a result, Hitler gave him the choice of being put on trial for conspiracy in the assassination attempt or committing suicide. Rommel chose suicide and was given a burial with full military honors. - James Orr, Grove City, Pa.