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Issue: "Sad stories, bad laws?," May 27, 2000

The real question

A majority of Americans polled want Elián returned "to his father." But Cuban children are considered wards of the state. Castro's Communist government, not Elián's father, would determine his fate. The polling question, "Do you want Elián returned to Cuba as a ward of the Communist state or left with his American relatives?" might have elicited a different response. - -Bill Weidlich, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

No question

Castro is a cruel and heartless tyrant who has ruined countless lives, and certainly little Elián would have an easier life in America. But are we so obsessed with our bounty and neglectful of corruption within our own nation that we would separate a boy from his father? I never knew my father, and there is no question which option I would choose. - -Timothy Buchanan, Norfolk, Va.

Here, not there

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Castro is a dictator who is responsible for the deaths of many Cubans who were caught by the Cuban military as they tried to escape the island. It's ironic that so many want Elián returned because, had Castro caught Elián trying to flee, he too might well have been killed. If Elián's father truly cared, he would rejoice that his son had the chance to live free-something many Cubans risk their lives for each year. For those concerned about the father's "rights," he has rights-but only while he is here, on American soil. His rights will disappear once he is back on Castro's island. - -Jason D. Klohr, Charlotte, N.C.

Trumped

I understand some desire to humiliate Castro, and it would feel good to win against that most unethical of administrations, the Clinton White House. Unfortunately, our desire for a feel-good victory is trumped by the father's God-given responsibility to raise the child, even in Castro's Cuba. And your home could be next if you ignore the law of the land and kidnap someone else's child. - -Frank X. Chavez, Plano, Texas

Pro-Castro bias

Kudos to Mindy Belz for "The press and the shipwrecked boy" (April 15). As a Cuban-American (I came to the United States when I was 6 years old, in 1962), I believe that the problem with the American public's misunderstanding of the Elián case solely as a parental rights issue is largely due to the media's pro-Castro bias. - -Angel Suarez, Hesperia, Calif.

Just a mouthpiece

The photo with Mindy Belz's fine article on the Elián Gonzalez situation was worth more than a thousand words. The image of Castro with his right hand behind Juan Miguel Gonzalez looked much like a ventriloquist manipulating his dummy and aptly portrays the essence of this situation. - -Steve Carter, Simpsonville, S.C.

Different deaths?

Give me a break. A mother getting shot on the way over the Berlin wall is a whole lot different from a mother drowning on a boat trip from Cuba ("Sister Jeanne," April 22). - -Marvin Moore, Caldwell, Idaho

Scare tactics

Mr. Belz's recommendations to decrease the divorce rate in the Christian community-separating the responsible party, public proclamation of guilt, and barring membership in other churches-sounded like scare tactics to me ("Big comfort," April 22). Perhaps I am sensitive to this issue because at 36 years old, I'm contemplating marriage for the first time. I come from an alcoholic home and witnessed a lot of abuse. So the question looms in my mind, "How will my marriage fare when it hits the rocks?" I think it would be wise to take a "hurting" couple and lovingly facilitate a rekindling of their personal relationship with God. - -Brenda Yetter, Naperville, Ill.

Preach it

Another thing that churches should do about divorce is that the pastors should take a strong stand against it from the pulpit. - -Beth Campbell, 15, Seneca, S.C.

No pictures, please

I was intrigued about the search for a new portrait of Jesus ("Easter(n) images," April 22). As a painter I have always had an aversion to trying to depict Jesus as it flies in the face of the second commandment. The fact that the New Testament makes no mention of Jesus' physical appearance is a strong argument also not to portray the Son of God. - -Daniel K. Tennant, Bainbridge, N.Y.

We're all animals?

Nancy Pearcey's commentary on the effect of evolution on morality was sadly reflected in my pastor-husband's study one day ("The birds and the bees," April 22). A young man, a professing Christian, defended sex with his fiancée by stating that "It's an animal instinct. It would be harmful to resist it." I wonder how many other young Christians have been corrupted by this type of thinking. - -Karen Peterson, Mentor, Ohio

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