Rep. Dick Armey's article ("American bigotry," Oct. 16) is correct in pointing out the widespread public discrimination against people of faith in America today. Christians may justly claim their constitutional rights when public institutions prohibit lawful religious expression. But as a wise pastor once told me, "God gives Christians both the privilege of pursuing justice and the privilege of self-sacrifice." Given that the church's historic and current witness is far from spotless, we should remember how often Christ, who knew no sin, chose the latter option. He responded to insults with silence and to crucifixion with a prayer: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." - Walter Henegar, Glenside, Pa.
Great is your reward
Regarding the article that asks, "What's keeping us from being joyful people?" ("How dare I?" Oct. 16), the way to become joyful is not to "loosen up." Many of the New Testament scriptural references to joy do not fit with, "Let's turn up the music," but are better understood in the context of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you ... for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven." - Will Heikoop, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Regarding "shock art" ("Rudy's duty," Oct. 16), there can be positive shock as well. After all, many people are shocked when Jesus is mentioned. - Sarah Marie Grumbine, Jackson, Miss.
I was morally shaken by "Rudy's duty." The part that most upset me was Mrs. Clinton's comment that it's not appropriate to punish the Brooklyn Museum for its crude display. I'm surprised that more women aren't speaking out against this. We certainly aren't helping promote respect for the fairer sex by displaying images of pornography, prostitution, and victims of sexual abuse. I feel degraded just thinking about it. - Kaylene Powell, Norfolk, Neb.
Electing by polls
I am very disappointed that The Madison Project has dismissed Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer as "fooling themselves" by continuing to run for the presidency ("Does W mean winner?" Oct. 16). Conservatives rightly attack the current trend of legislating by polls. Yet this thinking is "electing by polls." Let's wait until the primary elections have been completed before dismissing any candidate. - Steve Foster, Wright City, Mo.
About Alan Keyes "fooling himself" by pursuing the presidency, what if Abraham Lincoln had given in after the first, second, or even third political defeat-he would never have become our 16th president, nor led out of bondage those slaves who dreamed of freedom. - J. Austin Powell, Lafayette, Colo.
I agree with Marvin Olasky that Christians should champion the idea of freedom of expression ("Offering alternatives," Oct. 16). We should go a step further and press for getting government out of the business of subsidizing expression, such as public radio, public television, and government-funded art museums. It forces us to pay for the promotion of abortion, homosexuality, blasphemy, just plain stupidity, and marginal ideas that can't otherwise make it in the marketplace. We should be willing, however, to allow others to express notions that are offensive to us. In an unsaved world, it is the only way we will be able to communicate ideas that are offensive to them, such as the gospel. - David Duncan, San Angelo, Texas
Your article on the U.S. Supreme Court ("Back on the bench," Oct. 16) shows these nine people form an oligarchy from which we Americans will not soon escape. They make law as much as interpret it. The next president is likely to make three, perhaps four appointments to the court. A liberal like Al Gore or Bill Bradley will ensure a liberal court for years to come; the pro-life, public-morality, school-choice arguments will be dead on arrival. A Republican, although unlikely to fight for a conservative court, should at least provide moderate judges who will keep hope alive. This is a critical issue of the next election, and Christians should be aware of it. - Jim Kohlmann, Orlando, Fla.
Lead us not into temptation
I appreciate the way you handled Gary Bauer's situation in "Beyond rumors" (Oct. 9). I've seen "conservative" Bible-believing pastors also take the same stand as Gary Bauer in counseling young women alone, thinking they can resist any temptation. But some of these same pastors sooner or later fall into adultery and do great damage to our Christian witness in the world. It may be humbling to admit that one needs to have his wife present when counseling or consulting with other women, but to do otherwise is pure foolishness. - Dan Brown, Madison, Ala.
Cut the strings
In the Oct. 2 Mailbag, a letter writer says that strings attached to government money are a reason to oppose school vouchers ("Vouchers a threat"). I respectfully suggest that this is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." We should instead be working to eliminate the conditions on this money. - Chris Tourville, Lancaster, Pa.
The dominance of the media by large, merging capitalist corporations can cause frustration and fury ("Ministry of Culture, Inc.," Oct. 2), but if Viacom and CBS had remained independent companies, what difference would there be? Both organizations would have continued churning out low-quality, immoral trash, so why the outrage? America is a capitalist society. If lovers of classical music in Philadelphia cared enough, they could start their own station. If this condemnation of corporate America is to be taken seriously, then free enterprise has already lost. - Charles Phillip van Someren, 15, Baldwin, Wis.
I am a graduate student at the Joint Military Intelligence College (you've probably never heard of it). Recently, my class was struggling with the concept of a "just war," a topic our text only mentioned. Remembering that WORLD did an article on this topic ("Checklist for Kosovo," April 17), during a break I bolted for the library, looked up the article on your website, printed it out, and showed the instructor. He loved it. All 16 class members and the professor have a copy of the article, which is now a question on our midterm. - Scott Stutz, Waldorf, Md.
The concepts of pluralism and tolerance have indeed merged ("2+2=whatever," Aug. 28), and the new definition of tolerance leans toward the equality of all ideas and beliefs. Like Christ, we need not accept another's beliefs if they are not true, but we are to respect one another as creations of God. - Erin J. Lawrence, Marion, Ind.
I would like to cancel my subscription. I am disappointed in the movie reviews and other reviews that to me are worldly and certainly do not edify the Christian. - Beatrice Davis, Elkhart, Ind.
Someone once said, "Tell me who writes a nation's stories, and I need not know who makes its laws." The church, which did so well to seize upon the printing press when it was invented has, in this last century, pitifully neglected the power of film, television, and news broadcasting as well. The godless win by near default on our part. - Jack R. Johnson, Beloit, Wis.
Lost rights? What do we expect?
Mr. Armey is right on target. Christians are losing more basic American rights every passing day because the wicked rule this world. When Christians are the light that they should be and shine on the evil works of darkness, we can't expect to be loved any more than Christ was here on earth. - Terri Betzner, Howe, Ind.