My wife, Ruth, and I are saddened by the news report and the implications. We love our son, Ned, and very deeply love Carol and their two sons, and continually lift them up in prayer. We respect Ned for continuing the vision of his late grandfather, L. Nelson Bell, for China. We also continue to support the ministry of distributing Study Bibles to thousands of Chinese Christians. East Gates Ministries is not a part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Its funding is completely separate, though the BGEA has given funds to special projects of East Gates and its ministries. These gifts have been fully reported to our donors in Decision magazine, in our annual reports (in the audit statement footnote), and in a limited way in Mr. Graham's monthly ministry letters. - Statement by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Minneapolis, Minn.
Someone has to do it
You will probably take some flack for printing pieces on Christian leaders who have apparently drifted from the high standards we hold so dear. But I want to thank you for being willing to deal with this sort of issue. Years ago when one well-known Christian singer divorced his spouse, I first learned about it in People magazine. The only place I could learn the truth was in a secular publication. - B.L. Wiedenbeck, Arlington, Wis.
I am very disturbed by the editorial policy concerning the reporting of embarrassing and shameful activities of other believers, specifically in "Ministerial oversight?" Perhaps Christians should be aware that a ministry has "gone awry," but the detail and tone of this report is scandalous. - Richard D. Harris, Denville, N.J.
Standing for Pat
It is an absurd allegation that Pat Buchanan, by running for the Reform Party nomination, is soft-pedaling his long-held pro-life stance ("Not standing Pat," Nov. 6). Mr. Buchanan's phrase "that abomination they call Roe vs. Wade" is obviously a total denouncement of abortion. - Michael Rampy, Fort Worth, Texas
Just a vessel
As an 18-year-old student who sees his life before him, William Smith's article on the importance of Christian doctrine while death approaches was encouraging ("Last words," Nov. 6). It has been difficult for me to realize that death will eventually claim me, yet when I read such faithful words spoken by strong Christians near death, I saw that this body is nothing more than a vessel used to carry me closer and closer to my Lord and Savior. Thank you for reminding me that with Christ, this life can be a life of faith with purpose. - Michael P. Schoon, Azusa, Calif.
Smog demands sacrifice
Perhaps excessive smog has temporarily deadened Cal Thomas's sense of responsibility toward the environment ("Let them eat crude," Nov. 6). While it might make social conservatives smile, his banter does nothing to actually "conserve" natural resources or the environment. It is easy to throw a label on Vice President Gore and criticize him as liberal. But since when is making personal sacrifices considered radical, or even a new idea to Christians, particularly when it fulfills a responsibility the Lord has given us? - Jonathan Carroll, Colleyville, Texas
Don't just do it
Regarding Marvin Olasky's "Doughboyz to men" (Nov. 6), I would have to agree; but not without some caution. Those of us who share the view that compassion means "for the ultimate good of a person and God's glory" also can share being tagged judgmental, self-righteous, and harsh. As a former psychiatric nurse and now a director of a women's counseling center, almost daily I am tested on my compassion beliefs. I have discovered that the so-called emotional disorders-homelessness, domestic violence, etc.-increase dramatically when we just "do it" with handouts. Hopefully, we are taking a different stand on what true compassion means, basing our compassion on setting people free to depend on Jesus Christ instead of us or the government. - Donna Lee Robart, Vero Beach, Fla.
God blessed us all
Thank you for acknowledging the passing of Jean Shepherd ("Shepherd of the airwaves," Nov. 6). As a youth in New Jersey, I would listen to his program every night on my bedside radio, often drifting to sleep under the influence of his homespun tales. He was a good, clean humorist, a precursor to Garrison Keillor. I don't know if Mr. Shepherd was a believer, but I do know that God blessed us all through his talents. - Stefan A.D. Bucek, San Jose, Calif.
It was Fletcher
In regard to the Nov. 13 letter "Movie makers," the actual quotation from Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun is, "I knew a very wise man that believed that if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation." - Allen Round, Rock Springs, Wy.
Not for now
I had already read all three Harry Potter books to see if they were appropriate for my children, and I must confess I enjoyed the stories. However, I had concluded that my kids were too young for them. Your article ("More clay than Potter," Oct. 30) helped me clarify why I was uncomfortable with my kids reading them now. However, it would be a shame to throw the books out. The witchcraft theme that bothers many parents can be discussed to help children be more discerning. - Arlene Hardman, Elgin, Ill.
The article concerning Gary Bauer ("Ex-staff sour on Bauer," Oct. 23) was finally informative enough to come away with a perception about all the fuss. I appreciate the journalism, which seems to have been fair both to the quality people who surrounded Bauer and the candidate himself, who at least held on to his integrity. I think WORLD may get more of the notice it deserves if it continues to consistently take a stand to inform with honesty, fairness, and truth. - Evan Spencer, Grand Prairie, Texas
Things money can't buy
How could you spend $1 billion to advance the cause of Christ ("King of the forest," Oct. 23)? When God wanted to change the world, He became a simple carpenter, gathered some poor fishermen to his side, and called a tentmaker. With a few faithful men and a lot of love, He changed the world. Those are things money can't buy. - Ed Rehbein, Beckley, W.Va.
Things money can buy
I would invest the $1 billion to earn an annual income of $50 million. This way, the money never runs out. I would then use that money to gradually fund an international museum of Christian history, regional Christian centers with libraries, emergency shelters, and other facilities, a Christian internet, a Christian film and television studio, and a Christian publishing conglomerate producing both news publications and works of artistic merit. - Mark Burton, Glen Burnie, Md.
Just good news
Please cancel my subscription. I don't need a magazine to tell me which politicians aren't behaving like Christians. That is obvious. I was hoping for stories about the good things going on, not the bad. - Mark Starlin, Cary, N.C.
Someday, Lord willing
Marvin Olasky noted that he'd like to build WORLD into a publication capable of going head to head with Time and Newsweek. We already cancelled our U.S. News & World Report subscription to have more time to enjoy WORLD. You may not have millions of subscribers yet, but you've got a better magazine. - Robert & Connie Perry, Longmont, Colo.
A partisan shot
Gene Edward Veith's column questioning Bill Bradley's faith ("Unbelieving politicians," Oct. 30) was a partisan, erroneous shot. I first came to know Mr. Bradley during the spring of 1965 at Princeton, when he was a senior and I was a freshman. His personal testimony then spurred me on to doing much better things academically, athletically, and spiritually. On Dec. 1, 1998, Mr. Bradley called to ask me to head up his campaign in Alabama. I asked him, "Is your Christian faith still as strong now as it was back then?" He replied that it "was much stronger; it is just that I don't wear it on my shirt sleeve." I am a pro-life Democrat, and I am aware that Mr. Bradley is more in the pro-choice arena, but I can do more good on this issue by encouraging fellow Democrats to see that an unborn child is still a human life. Bill Bradley has a great concern for children of all ages and my view is that he in time will see that even unborn children are human beings worthy of dignity and life. Bill Bradley's plan for health insurance for the 45 million people who are uninsured, his plans to help eliminate child poverty, and his programs to help spread America's prosperity to those left out of it, are all "being your brother's keeper," a true Christian ethic. - Julian I. McPhillips, Jr., Montgomery, Ala.