Given a chance
I was dismayed to read about the deaths of babies who were delivered prematurely as an abortion technique at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. ("Alive: Wanted or not," Oct. 7). I was born and raised three miles from that hospital and have many ties to the institution. May God have mercy upon the souls of the individuals who allow the carnage of abortion within the walls of a hospital that bears Christ's name on the outside. I next read "Silver in Sydney" by Olympian Josh Davis. I have two adopted sons, both competitive swimmers. The older, Andrew, is 13 and has a good chance of making state finals this year. Could he be the next Josh Davis? I don't know, but at least his birth mother gave him the chance. She will never know, as she died soon after giving birth to Andrew, who was two months premature. - William Fischer, St.Charles, Mo.
Slanted on Shamblin
What motivates your editorial slant against Gwen Shamblin ("The skinny on Weigh Down," Oct. 7)? On the subject of the Spirit of God, who really understands the deity? Do we really have to agree with Luther and Calvin on anything? The answer appears to be yes, if you want to be part of the new Christian ecumenical community. Real victories in the problem areas of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography, marriage problems, and weight will not come through our efforts and new rules but through the power of the living Holy Spirit, regardless of your understanding of the manifestations of God. - Aland Coons, Virginia Beach, Va.
Thank you for your recent article about Weigh Down Workshop's heretical stand on the Trinity. I am sickened that I was instrumental in supporting her financially by being a coordinator and providing several scholarships over the two years I was involved. I defended Weigh Down for years and now I'm being called "chaff" because I refuse to accept her teachings 100 percent. I am not alone. I join the increasing number of people who are praying for Mrs. Shamblin. - Marisa Watson, St. Peters, Mo.
In Vermont, the term flatlander, used in the Oct. 7 article "Electoral civil war" to describe Vermonters, actually refers to out-of-staters, including those who may now live in Vermont but seem determined to reproduce their former home's culture here. To die-hard Yankees, it also means southern New Englanders, since the mountains tend to be in the northern part of New England. Those of us who wish to "Take Back Vermont" don't want to take the state back in time (when most had the rotary phones and wooden console TVs to which the article refers), but back to a political culture in which the opinion of the average citizen mattered. The political culture here has gotten increasingly elitist, and it's time to elect people who know they're servants of the public, not our bosses. - Joel Stoddert, Colchester, Vt.
Thank you for highlighting the fight going on here in Vermont. The issue of homosexual civil unions was the Vermont Supreme Court's most outrageous abuse of power and the last straw. In November, the collective outrage of thousands of moral, God-fearing Vermonters will be heard. Let other states beware. Homosexual activists have promised to take this fight to the rest of the nation. Don't think it can't happen in your state or town. When it does, will you be asleep or awake? - Diane Cass, Charlotte, Vt.
I was encouraged to read about the "Take Back Vermont" campaign. We in Lakewood were fortunate that our city council heard the majority message loud and clear. Earlier this year, Lakewood Council defeated 5-2 a domestic partnership ordinance that would have provided health insurance benefits to domestic partners of city employees, the first in Ohio. It was sponsored quite stealthily by two pro-homosexual council members, but once word got out, council members were flooded with phone calls, letters, e-mails, and faxes by a usually complacent constituency. It was our wake-up call. - Ellen M. Malonis, Lakewood, Ohio
Lieberman vs. Lieberman?
Joel Belz quoted a moderate employee of NPR News who stated that the staffers over there "work very hard at being fair" ("Consider the source," Oct. 7). The day after the vice-presidential debate, the feature story on the 3 p.m. NPR newscast here in Atlanta was a euphoric account of Joe Lieberman's supposed triumph over Dick Cheney. Complete with background cheers and chants from a rally in Orlando, Mr. Lieberman exclaimed, "There are 'mornings after' and there are 'mornings after.'" I am still puzzling over what he meant, but after a minute or two of this the announcer went on to the next story-which wasn't about Mr. Cheney. He was mentioned only once, in passing, as part of the "Bush-Cheney ticket." Either Mr. Lieberman debated himself or NPR hit a new low. - David A. Gibson, Dacula, Ga.
The nod, barely
In the Oct. 7 Judgment Calls, Mr. Skillen's "Genuine pluralism" gets the nod over Mr. Lamer's "Spiritual adultery," but barely, and we may need instant replay to confirm. Mr. Skillen's pluralism, modeled on the military chaplaincy, sounds good, but as a retired Army chaplain I can tell you in practice it leaves a lot to be desired. The Supreme Court has ruled that chaplains must "provide for" but need not "participate in" the religious needs of those in their units. But this becomes an excuse to direct evangelical chaplains to cease praying "in Jesus' name" or require them to share a worship service with a Mormon. Coercive pluralism is hardly genuine. Further, this sort of pluralism tends to diminish the distinctives and thus the dynamic of genuine Christianity. It also tends to confuse God's sense of justice with man's sense of fairness. - Jim Hutchens, Arlington, Va.
Mr. Lamer's comment about non-Christian chaplains praying in the public arena, suggesting that even Wiccans might lead Congress is prayer, was prophetic. Recently a Wiccan priest offered the invocation at a Dallas city council meeting (No Comment Zone, Oct. 21). One councilor commented that "we need all the help we can get." I agree, but they're looking in the wrong place. - Bill Wolfe, Llano, Texas
We're number three
Thanks for your story on third parties ("The spoilers," Oct. 7). Libertarian Harry Browne may or may not trail Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan in the polls, but if our press releases are to be trusted, we Libertarians have more officeholders and more candidates than all other minor parties combined. We are a political party, not just a leader's vehicle. - Andrew Lohr, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Isn't Oct. 7 a little late to run a token article on third-party candidates? Your effort to avoid political correctness is one reason I like WORLD, but you fall into that trap of giving major attention only to those "electable" by human measurements. I plan to vote for Howard Phillips in November because I can fully support him. God is big enough to control the election outcome without requiring me to compromise my conscience. - Cheryl Hemphill, Westminster, Colo.
So, you smear Howard Phillips as a "spoiler" instead of the presidential candidate for the only 100 percent pro-life national political party, the Constitution Party. Instead of encouraging Christians who are trying to stand in the political gap against evil, you dismiss them. Cancel my subscription. - Cal Zastrow, Saginaw, Mich.
Only if illegal
You noted that Rhode Island Rep. Bob Weygand "has said that abortionists should lose their licenses" ("Who'll be king of the hill?" Oct. 7). I'd like to clarify that he made the comment in response to a reporter's question about what should happen to doctors who continue to perform abortions if it becomes illegal. - Laurie Whitman, Coventry, R.I.
I am an oncologist, one of those physicians who is supposedly "ripping off" taxpayers for "massive profits" because the government overpays doctors for some drugs through Medicare (Ups and Downs of the Week, Oct. 7). In fact, Medicare has been doing the ripping off. The Clinton-Gore proposal to lower Medicare reimbursements for these drugs to the cost of acquisition failed to account for the fact that doctors use these "profits" to offset administration costs that Medicare does not cover: intravenous kits, needles, tubing, specialized nurses, etc. Fortunately, through intense lobbying efforts by cancer care providers, this attempt to slash reimbursements was put on hold. Right now, when a patient solely dependent on Medicare walks into our clinic and wishes to be treated with the newest and best chemotherapy agents available, we will still lose money, but not as much as we would have under the proposed plan. Still, we continue to treat these unfortunate individuals because it is the right thing to do. - W. Vance Esler, Amarillo, Texas