The articles by Marvin Olasky ("Bush can still win," Sept. 23) and Cal Thomas ("Lobbing cream puffs," Sept. 23) hit the mark. Another issue that should energize the American people is the Democratic strategy of pitting American against American, fracturing society into splinter groups rife with suspicion and animosity. George Bush needs to draw America's attention to that destructive leadership, and contrast it with leadership that will unite, not divide, and treat people with respect and dignity, not denigrate. I believe that Mr. Bush will lead by building consensus to solve problems; not by pointing fingers and screaming, "It's their fault, not mine!" as we have seen far too often during the Clinton-Gore years. Mr. Bush's leadership will build peace and civility in our nation, and God knows we need it. - Douglas Adee, Artesia, N.M.
I think that the education-vouchers issue is a winner all over the nation. Education is the way out of poverty, so why do voucher opponents insist that the poor stay in a bankrupt system? - Don Vander Jagt, Coral, Mich.
I read with gladness the recent letter from someone who canceled his subscription because WORLD is not "nice" ("Mailbag," Sept. 16). I am thankful that WORLD cares enough to confront a fallen society. - Greg Perry, Tulsa, Okla.
Tithing by tax
I agree with Joel Belz's "European efficiency" (Sept. 23). I would like to add that, when we visit family in Germany and ask them how they keep those big churches and cathedrals running, they explain how the government takes a certain percentage out of everyone's paycheck for "church taxes" to pay the wages of the pastors and priests, primarily Lutheran and Catholic. People of different faiths have to support those churches on top of their taxes. We are told that ministers in Germany can preach whatever they like, but I am thankful that we are free to put our tithe wherever the Lord tells us. - Lotte Penno, Bay City, Mich.
Faith and efficiency
It is tiring to edit constantly the clearly Protestant, Calvinistic bias in WORLD for children I am raising Orthodox. The last straw was "European efficiency" (Sept. 23). By explaining the Reformation as a bid for efficiency in matters of faith and Christian practice, Mr. Belz clarifies a great deal about modern Protestantism to me. I now understand the trend toward vending-machine salvation and instant sanctification. We have modern, efficient Christianity, but by sacrificing the seamless garment of the ancient, One Church. Please cancel my subscription. - Katherine A. Lu, West Columbia, S.C.
I have always been a fan of Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight. As a Christian and a Hoosier, I could not defend his rude behavior, but neither could I say he was a completely bad guy. Russ Pulliam's article helped me see that it was not the confrontation with a disrespectful young man or the action of President Myles Brand, but his own character flaw, a lack of self-discipline, that led to his downfall ("Tragic character," Sept. 23). Thank you for helping me see the truth without totally destroying my memory of the good things Coach has done through the years. - Tammy Aggus, Joplin, Mo.
Just ignore them
When will the Gene Edward Veiths of the world learn? The surest way to ensure the success of cultural figures such as Eminem ("The gangsta next door," Sept. 23) is to protest their work or, better yet, threaten censorship. Proscribe and they thrive; ignore and they go away. Remember 2 Live Crew and Marilyn Manson? Their albums would have languished in obscurity if not for the fulminations of politicians and religious groups. Eminem has just as much of a right to spew forth his raffish lyrics as I have a right to ignore him. - Michael Farrell, Asheville, N.C.
Sliding on the Sabbath?
While I appreciated much of what Chad Curtis wrote in "A tough season" (Sept. 23), and while I would not question the state of his heart, I would question how Mr. Curtis and others who profess faith in our Lord can consistently break the Sabbath commandment. I am reminded of Hall of Famer Christy Matthewson, known as the "Christian Gentleman." Before he became a professional baseball player he promised never to play on Sunday. This did not stop him from getting to the Hall of Fame after an illustrious career. One of the most interesting displays in the Hall is Mr. Matthewson's Bible along with the inscription telling visitors of his desire to honor the Lord by keeping his Day. - Rich Densely, Pequannock, N.J.
No old Christians
Thanks for your recent essay on Riga, Latvia ("Optimism in rainy Riga," Sept. 16). I am a pastor of a church that supports a missionary family in Riga, and I visited them this summer. There is a crying need for mature Christian leadership in Latvia and countries like it. There is little or no institutional memory of a strong Christian church, nor is there much support for Christians in Latvia. There are simply no old Christians, thanks to 50 years of Soviet domination. I spent hours just talking about being a Christian in the marketplace, about biblical principles of church leadership, and about biblical principles for godly homes. Christians in Latvia are starving for exposure to practical Christian experience. But their optimism is not surprising. Near Old Riga, the part of the city that was founded in 1200, a few markers show where people were shot in the streets by Soviet snipers in the 1991 revolution. Many of the young men and women I met with were part of the fight, taking to the streets in barricades like something out of Les Miserables. There wasn't much real fighting, though. Latvians call it "The Singing Revolution" because, for the most part, they massed together in the streets, singing national folk songs and hymns. By that time the Soviets had lost the will to crush such peaceful crowds for all the world to see, and so they simply packed up and left Latvia. It must have been something to see. - Tim Schoap, Signal Mountain, Tenn.
Our family appreciates WORLD's hard work and willingness to grapple with issues from God's perspective. All ages in our family tend to "fight" over who gets to read it first. We will pray for wisdom for your staff. - Charles McElmurray, Blythewood, S.C.
The case of Eric Harrah is a great illustration of what can (and often does) go wrong when we rush to create celebrities in Christendom ("Selling celebrity," Sept. 2). Something similar happens in athletics when people assume that the son of a good coach will know as much as his father. In the church, we do this with the sons and daughters of "successful" preachers and teachers. In this we are setting up the "celebrity" for a great fall, the church for great disappointment, and giving nonbelievers more reason to mock Christ and His kingdom. - Bill Lamkin, Jacksonville, Fla.
This will be my third year receiving WORLD. I read it for news with more depth than is available in most other resources, and I read with confidence knowing that a Christian worldview is framing and underwriting the telling of the news. Each week I share my issue with a Christian friend who passes it along to another. WORLD is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover, including the advertisements, every week. I am happy to see all the letters to the editor in one section again. Some of the subjects you have covered in recent months have been heartbreaking and have called us to fervent prayer. The wonderfully written columns are encouraging and often force me to think seriously about subjects I would sometimes rather not think about at all. Thank you for your faithfulness. I look forward to another year of great writing and helpful information. - Lee Eddy, San Diego, Calif.
Legacy of lies
Andree Seu is correct to say that we should take no joy in the political death of Bill Clinton, just as God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked ("Sackcloth and ashes," Aug. 26). Mrs. Seu believes the Clinton legacy is "the knowledge that sin has consequences." My take is that Mr. Clinton taught us that if a lie is big enough, and told often enough, people will accept it as truth; if a sin is shocking enough, people will refuse to believe it; and if a politician is bold enough to lie, deny, and cry on cue, he can get away with almost anything. - Wade Winingham, Louisville, Neb.
Mercy for all
Andree Seu's Judgment Call was a needed reminder. Although I preach each week of God's hatred of sin and His offer of free grace in Jesus, somehow I'd forgotten the "mercy portion" for our president. - Paul W. Kummer, Destin, Fla.
The caption read pro-life congressman Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), but the photo was of Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-Texas) (Sept. 30, p. 26). - The Editors