Life imitates Huxley
It was a good decision to include Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in your list of top 20th-century books. The nightmare utopia of that world is increasingly similar to ours. The American Psychological Association's report on fatherhood ("The APA does it again," Aug. 21) mimicked the book's idea that "mother" and "father" would be arcane, even obscene, words. The eugenics news ("Eugenics: 1990s style, Aug. 21") mirrored the concept of Huxley's "Hatchery" where humans were bred and conditioned. Your report on Elizabeth Miles's current books touting music as narcotic ("Cultural commodities," Aug. 21) showed their chilling similarity to the drug-saturated "scent organ" music that was used to sedate and pacify the masses. - Drew Dernavich, Bedford, Mass.
I was shocked to read that presidential candidate Sen. John McCain compared the death penalty to the abortion issue ("Is McCain able?" Aug. 21). Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that every one of the over 567 prisoners executed in the United States since 1976 was innocent. As tragic as that would be, can we honestly compare this to the 38 million innocent children aborted since 1973 in this country? Please. - Mark Schulz, Elgin, Ill.
The price is right
The article "Burying pricey funerals" (Aug. 21) forever ruined my image of WORLD. Biased sensationalism of funeral-director-wannabes read more like a magazine interested in selling copy, than staying true to a conservative perspective. As a third-generation funeral director, responsible for the financial operation of a family-owned chain of funeral homes, I'm happy to report that pricing at most family-owned funeral homes is reasonable and easily justifiable. Mr. Sillars's article transcends endorsement of econo-deathcare-retailers, vilifying thousands of funeral-service professionals. - J. Todd Snyder, Mansfield, Ohio
A low-cost funeral is available
My husband and I read "Burying pricey funerals" with interest as my husband is a manager in a small-town funeral home owned by SCI. We both appreciated the balanced reporting and agree that funerals are pricey. You can purchase a very inexpensive funeral (less than $2,000) at most funeral homes, but because of guilt people do tend to go overboard. I recommend price comparison between local funeral homes and even those basement bargain shops. An informed consumer can find that low-cost funeral; competition is a definite bargaining tool. - Mary Baxter, Ringgold, Ga.
"Benefits" are irrelevant
Mr. Murray's point about "leaking results" to hide weak research methodology is well-taken, but not always correct ("Eugenics: 1990s style"). I'd guess that the results of this particular study are thorough, given the pedigree of the authors and my familiarity with some of the latter author's work. The results, suggesting that increased abortion is reducing crime rates, shouldn't be troubling in themselves. The existence of "benefits" to abortion is irrelevant to whether the practice is right. - D. Eric Schansberg, New Albany, Ind.
I was deeply convicted by your article "NIMBY" (Aug. 21) to remember that homosexuality is a thing but homosexuals are people who need our love and prayers. The next time I encounter someone like Doug and am tempted to turn away, I will remember what Barbara did and strive to "conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel." - Barbara Schmidt, Fairfield, Calif.
I was so heartened to read Barbara Curtis's compassionate and righteous response to homosexuality. One year in college my roommate-a baby Christian-turned from Jesus to lesbianism and I came to understand what an incredible balancing act it is to "love the sinner, hate the sin." My roommate rejected me because she couldn't allow that I could love her and oppose her choices. I still oppose her choices, but I have never stopped loving her or praying for her. - Shanti Dickson, Monterey, Calif.
Define your terms
If the issue was whether homosexuals should have the right to wear rainbow colored hot-pants at work while reading pornography and distributing pamphlets promoting a gay lifestyle, I would agree with Mr. Belz ("Two lines in the sand," Aug. 21). But the right not to hire someone purely on the basis of his private decisions (so long as they do not impinge on his ability to function at work) is a democratic abomination that legislation should combat. By the same reasoning, our secular society should have the right to deny employment to Christians for their decision to read the Bible at home. I have no problem with Mr. Belz's position if Christian employers can define what intrinsic liability homosexuality carries with it. - Matt Knox, Lake Zurich, Ill.
Your magazine has a great staff of writers but too great a diversity of advertisers. I think your ads should carry the disclaimer, "We at WORLD apply a biblical worldview to our articles but almost anyone can advertise in WORLD; be careful, some of the advertised books and services are simply stupid." - Raymond Briggs, Bradenton, Fla.
PBS unbiased. Not.
Your piece on public broadcasting was great ("Technical difficulties," Aug. 14). I used to work for a public radio outlet. You should have seen the celebration after Clinton won in '92. Yeah, they're unbiased. Not. - Colin Strombeck, Albuquerque, N.M.
Thank you for your comments on TV journalism ("JFK Jr. Coverage: TV grieve-a-thon an embarrassment," Aug. 7). I have yet to figure out why hours upon hours of speculative commentary became news. People like Princess Di and JFK, Jr. made poor decisions and faced the consequences. I can only hope that they met Christ before they died. But their lives do not influence mine to the extent that I am told they must by the "journalists" on TV. - Dorothy R. Haynes, Baltimore, Md.
In the "corrections and clarifications" (Aug. 28), you state, "The U.S. Supreme Court banned school prayer in 1962." It did nothing of the sort. In 1962 and 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for government-run schools to hold classroom devotional exercises, but prayer itself has not been banned. Teacher-led classroom prayers, yes, but not prayers by individual students, Bible clubs, and others who operate without government sponsorship. - Bradley P. Jacob, Purcellville, Va.
At my church this summer I have been co-leading a college-age Sunday school class in which WORLD's "Soul Food" commentaries provided the foundation for each week's subject. We always have a lively, interesting dialogue, even if there is sometimes disagreement with what has been written. Your magazine has been an excellent tool for an excellent summer class. Thank you. - Dave Cook, Waukegan, Ill.
I recently read your magazine for the first time and came across the article "Mrs. Clinton spins God" (Aug. 14). I spent 12 years of my life in Christian schools to become a minister because I thought that Christianity was a loving and forgiving way of life. Imagine my relief when I gave up that dream so that I don't have to sit on my pedestal, like you, judging the rest of the world for failing to live up to my standards. I assure you I will not avail myself of your publication again. - Richard H. Smith, Portland, Ore.
Cool as a mountain stream
Your magazine is like bathing in a mountain stream high in the Rockies after a long day on the trail. Today's news media is scary. No one wants to hear or speak the truth anymore. I know you must sometimes feel like you are up to your eyeballs in alligators, but to those of us who are in the profession and profess Christ, you are a lifeline. - Patricia J. Baldwin, Aztec, N.M.
Keep it clear
I like the new format for the movie reviews, especially the clear explanation of plot, message, and worldview. Keep up the good work. - Joan Elam, Brandon, Fla.
Your article "Assault and light" (July 31) reflects the church's traditional blind spot concerning much of its shameful and bloody history. Yes, thousands of Muslims were killed in the Crusades, but not mentioned were the thousands of Jews, also considered infidels, who were killed at the same time. Over the past thousand years, with so many Jews slaughtered, is it hard to understand why most Jews cannot accept Jesus as their Messiah? It is time for repentance and reconciliation with our brothers the Jews. - Julie Bridges, Auburn, Ga.