Alien over Elián
I was nervous when I felt the Clinton Justice Department got it right regarding Elián Gonzalez. I really started to worry when I found myself in agreement with the National Council of Churches. Then WORLD weighed in ("Agonizing over Elián," Feb. 5) and for the first time I found myself at odds with your editorialists. Have I landed on another planet? If we feel we have the right to interfere with the custodial rights of Elián's father simply because he lives in a communist country, how long will it be before our government is interfering in U.S. citizens' custodial affairs for political reasons? Christians, of all people, should be leery of such governmental interference in family affairs. No government has the right to deny Elián's father his parental rights. - Terry Clark, Meadville, Pa.
Your articles on the Elián Gonzalez case were interesting reading about a fairly simple case, morally speaking. If Mr. Gonzalez is competent, loving, and wants the boy home, that should end the discussion. Since when do aunts, uncles, and cousins overrule a parent's authority over his own child? As for Elián supposedly wanting to stay here, are we now allowing 6-year-olds to make life-changing decisions? - Joel Stoddert, Colchester, Vt.
No moral right
The presumption should be that, barring a threat to his safety from his father, Elián belongs with his father. The government of the United States cannot rule that children under governments that we do not agree with do not belong with their parents. As a nation, we do not have the moral standing to dictate parental rights to other countries. We are, after all, a country where infanticide is legal up to the moment of birth. - Stephen D. Holle, Billings, Mont.
I was appalled at the story of Hillsdale College's acquiescence to the actions of its president, George Roche III ("The truth is buried," Feb. 5). That divorce and drunk driving should have been overlooked is a travesty. And then to reward this guy with over $2 million in severance pay? I appreciate WORLD's tenacity in digging where it may hurt. - Mark Borzillo, Hermann, Mo.
Thank you for your excellent article, "Tales of the heart" ( Dec. 11). Ms. Cheaney got it exactly right: Christ is glaringly missing from Hillsdale College's Imprimis newsletter and that's where they went wrong and continue to go wrong. Sadly, this is more and more the mindset of many Christian organizations today. As the director of a Christian pro-life center, I'm told by my peers to leave Christ out in order to "fit in" or not offend. It's another gospel and another Hillsdale disaster in the making. The biblical gospel cannot be replaced with humanism, conservatism, or any other "ism." - Donna McIlhenny, San Francisco, Calif.
Master of the sea-tale
As a fan of the Aubrey/Maturin series, I was saddened by the death of author Patrick O'Brian ("Sailing into the sunset," Feb. 5). It is too bad he went unrecognized in this country for so many years. His tales of the sea in the time of George III and Napoleon are masterful. Having read the entire Hornblower series as well, I find Aubrey/Maturin much more satisfying. One word of caution: Mr. O'Brian uses the language of the sea to great effect, and that includes some crude words and swearing. - Jim Scanlon, Rancho Tehama, Calif.
"The falsifiable principle" (Feb. 5) should be required reading for anyone teaching on any level. The scientific method is based upon testing theories to find whether or not they can be falsified, yet science more and more attempts to reject such principles on the basis that conclusions reached might clash with the current zeitgeist. Evolutionists begin with a conclusion, then demand evidence that points to the truth of that conclusion. It is the antithesis of science, yet those who point out this glaring fact are dismissed as anti-science religionists. - William L. Anderson, Tigerville, S.C.
Learn to discern
Mr. Smith's essay ("Covenant education," Feb. 5) sounded wonderful. Unfortunately, it's not the real world in our neck of the woods. The general consensus in our church is that people who homeschool are first-class Christians, those who send their kids to Christian schools are second-class Christians, and people who send their kids to public schools are seriously weak in the faith. My husband and I still put our kids in public schools. They enjoy mostly Christian teachers, strict discipline, band, sports, and more. Yes, we're aware of the problems in public schools. The worldview of teachers and books isn't always what we'd hope for, and there are kids who have sex, do drugs, and drink alcohol. But I think it's better for Christian children to go to a school that they know is not Christian and learn to discern from parents and church. - Mary Rose Jensen, Missouri City, Texas
Sinners at home
While excellent in many respects, "Covenant education" was seriously flawed by the exclusion of homeschooling from the definition of a covenant education. My family has not chosen homeschooling because we are concerned about our children being exposed to sinners in a Christian school-we know they will be exposed to sinners at home. The home has a central place in covenant theology and building covenant communities. - David Jones, Fort Meade, Md.
"Mainstreaming malarkey" (Jan. 15) regarding the Y2K letdown is perhaps a little too harsh. Mr. Belz's experiences do not match ours. The majority of the people that we know, who made purchases to give themselves more self-sufficiency, were not worrywarts or doomsayers. They carefully planned for a contingency that no one could accurately predict. - Mike Wahl, Athens, Ga.
Food is good
I was surprised to see the caption stating that a certain couple was "stuck" with a huge stash of Y2K supplies ("Feeling a little let down," Jan. 15). I think that was the wrong word because food is quite useful. - Leah Walker, 11, Elk Grove, Calif.
Truth in reporting
Recently a friend of mine gave me a subscription to your magazine. Although I often find the condition our world to be in frightening, I am nonetheless thankful for your truth in reporting. Many of the issues you cover are disturbing, like pedophilia in "Northern exposure" (Feb. 5), but I was encouraged by your article on Dr. Laura and her fight with GLAAD ("Is freedom paramount," Feb. 5). I am grateful that Paramount and Dr. Laura are not backing down at GLAAD's attempts to curtail Dr. Laura's language in referring to homosexuals. - Brian W. Cunningham, Atlanta, Ga.
Just change the channel
Thank you for the piece on Dr. Laura. It aggravates me no end to what lengths liberals will go to prevent the truth from being spoken. I would offer to our liberal and GLAAD brothers and sisters a remarkably sound piece of advice that they have often thrown in our faces when we object to the things on television that have offended us: Change channels when Dr. Laura comes on. - Christian Farley, Clifton Park, N.Y.
Although I suspect you'll be criticized for presenting the movie Magnoliain a positive light ("Spotlight," Feb. 5), I found its message of forgiveness and redemption very moving. Thanks for the thoughtful review of this stunning film. - Carissa Craven, Atlanta, Ga.
Not that free
I am a firm believer in Christian liberty, but should I watch an R-rated movie like Magnolia in which the "language will curl the hair of even the most jaded" just because someone in the movie prays and talks about Jesus? - Harry Heist, Verona, N.J.
I was disappointed by your review of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes ("Bestsellers," Jan. 29). I enjoyed the book, and while being less than appreciative of the obscenities, profanities, and sexual situations, I found that the message of this novel was just the opposite of what you called it: "Hope is foolish." I found the tale to be a celebration of the ways we can overcome impossible odds. I also think the representation of the Catholic Church was much more innocent than you made it out to be. Young Frankie McCourt simply did not understand why he had to pray to saints, go to confession, and so on, but I also think the exploration of such things sprang from his desire to know why. - Heather R. Willson, Baldwinsville, N.Y.