I have long held a high opinion of WORLD and its willingness to take a strong stand on issues, but I was disappointed with the trashing of Sen. John McCain ("Explaining McCain," Feb. 19). Comparing him to a liberal and a Marxist, asserting that he would essentially suspend the First Amendment, implying that he won his first election by buying it, and criticizing him as an inattentive husband (not to mention a divorced man) are just a few of the inappropriate comments made. Don't paint him as a liberal-he's not. I have not yet decided whether to vote for Mr. Bush or Mr. McCain in my own state's March 7 primary. It is a close call-far closer than your article makes it out to be. And frankly, articles such as this one might cause me to vote for Mr. McCain in sympathy. - Todd S. Beall, Lanham, Md.
What an excellent article on John McCain exposing his views, philosophies, and policies which, contrary to his rhetoric, are not conservative. One thing that many conservatives fail to realize is that if the liberal media are constantly praising a candidate (no matter if that candidate says he is conservative) he must be doing something wrong. - Chuck Kittrell, Waynesboro, Ga.
Although as a nonprofit organization you may not endorse a candidate, you apparently have no compunction about smearing Mr. McCain's character with malicious assumptions about his reaction to Cindy McCain's addiction and his divorce from his first wife. - Patricia Zimmerman, Tallmadge, Ohio
We are not John McCain fans, but feel that the hatchet job you did on him is reprehensible. - William W. Long, Indianapolis, Ind.
Not the man
John McCain has become an outspoken advocate of campaign-finance reform, but his proposals would only make matters worse. His proposed bill would undermine free speech by preventing citizen organizations from purchasing political issue-oriented advertisements at election time. This would give more power to the media and make politicians more secure in their reelection bids and less answerable to the people, leading to more corruption. As well, there should be better enforcement of the campaign laws presently on the books. Adding new laws without punishing lawbreakers will make it even more difficult for honest politicians. Although Mr. McCain gives the impression of honesty, his policies and past questionable involvements show that he is not the man to lead America in effective reform. - Brian Black, Penns Creek, Pa.
If Gene Edward Veith was shocked by Lauren Winner's Beliefnet.com essay ("The Christian Cosmo girl," Feb. 19), so was the staff of Christianity Today. Her essay was poorly expressed, and therefore easily misunderstood. At CT, we stand firmly for the divine sexual order of one man leaving his parents to cleave to one woman for life, and we are working to make that ideal the attractive blessing God intended. - David Neff
Christianity Today, Carol Stream, Ill.
"The Christian Cosmo girl" was the type of engaged, thoughtful response I was hoping my Beliefnet article would elicit. However, I never suggested that we should change what we teach about extramarital sex "just because many of [our] members do not live up to those teachings" or that "personal experience be allowed to trump Christian doctrine." I do believe that there should be someplace where I, and other singles, can acknowledge the desire for sexual relationships and, in the context of rich church tradition and in the company of older Christians, try to figure out what we can do about it. - Lauren F. Winner, New York, N.Y.
More than just talk
I was saddened by the sexual views and practices of Ms. Winner as a writer at Christianity Today. Don't they screen these people? Ms. Winner is correct that evangelicals need to talk more openly about sex and what it means to be single. But her version of talking apparently includes more than just talk. While preaching to evangelicals for more reality-based talk about sex, in her article she admitted to practicing sexual immorality but expressed no shame for her actions. - Jeff Short, Colorado Spring, Colo.
They flew too
In "Joke's on us" (Feb. 19), Joel Belz states that paleontologists were using a skeleton (purportedly of an animal with bird and dinosaur features) as proof "that there once had been a species of dinosaurs that flew." Scientists have known for many years about dinosaurs that flew, in particular several species of winged dinosaurs called pterodactyls. The Archaeopteryx, an extinct bird with reptilian and avian features, has been the subject of debates over evolution for some time now. Whether you take flying dinosaurs as proof of evolution depends on whether you believe in evolution in the first place. In the extinct Archaeopteryx and the presently surviving duck-billed platypus, the Lord demonstrates that He is creative. - James Klino, Cobleskill, N.Y.
Thank you for your recent article about Weird Al Yankovic ("Mocking rock," Feb. 19). It is encouraging that WORLD does not shun comedians like Mr. Yankovic as many Christians do. My younger siblings sometimes stuff their shirts with pillows and dance to the "Fat" song (Weird Al's parody of Michael Jackson's "Bad"). More Christians should bring their up-turned noses back level with the ground, deflate their puffy shirts, and lighten their hearts with laughter. - Jonathan Lobel, 16, East Greenbush, N.Y.
I am taken aback by "Creating a new 'market' for international outrage" (Feb. 19). I will show the article to my church leaders in hope of making our body more aware of our Sudanese brothers and sisters' trials and suffering for Christ. The current administration's stand for human rights is just a farce as long as nothing is done to stop the war on the Sudanese people. - Leah C. Bond, Pensacola, Fla.
As I ate my hot meals today and last night, I couldn't shake the image of the young Sudanese boy. In the midst of our prosperity it is so easy to become immune to the pain and terror that is common in other countries. I hope his picture does not leave my mind until I somehow make a difference in the life of somebody like him. - Brittany Egloff, 17, Yorkville, Calif.
Regarding the letter writer who was shocked that no one seems to be bothered that Time Warner is feeding us worldviews ("A Timely world," Feb. 19), we shouldn't be surprised at this. We should, however, be shocked that many Christians aren't aware of this and are not guarding or controlling what they take in. - Nicole Capehart, 16, Marysville, Wash.
I certainly agree with the letter writer in the Feb. 26 Mailbag ("A no-brainer") that, if a doctor cannot sign a death certificate until the heart has stopped beating, then "even by the simplest of this world's views that life should, at latest, start with the first heartbeat." But those first heartbeats occur much earlier than the letter stated. Embryologically, the cardiovascular system develops between the third and fourth week. With the proper ultrasound probes, we are able to see and hear a beating heart four weeks after conception. - Beth Carmichael, Ponca City, Okla.
WORLD's the one
I've subscribed to several conservative publications over the years hoping to find well-balanced coverage of current events as well as a forum where my mind would not be polluted. I've discontinued all except yours. - Bob Dvorak, Lake Jackson, Texas
The headline of your article on Hillsdale College ("The truth is buried," Feb. 5) is misleading and typical of tabloid newspapers. It implies that something is being hidden, even though your article concluded that all investigated rumors "when tracked to their sources ... vaporized" and "it appears the Hillsdale Board has acted in this particular matter as most boards would." - Ronald J. DeHaas, Owosso, Mich.