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Mailbag

Issue: "President Bush?," Nov. 18, 2000

A picture's worth

If pictures speak a thousand words, your Oct. 21 cover photos speak volumes ("The last battleground"). The very first things I noticed upon removing it from my mailbox were the faces on the people in the backgrounds. Those in the Gore crowd were looking almost angry and depressed, while those in the Bush crowd were smiling and looking happy. What does this mean? Could there be a correlation between long faces and liberalism? - Lisa Harrison, Fort Worth, Texas

One and one

I was surprised to find my picture in your Oct. 21 No Comment Zone. While it is true that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did uphold the Milford school district's policy of not allowing the Good News Club to meet on school property, it is equally true that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of a club very similar to ours to use school property after hours. Which of these courts is upholding the U.S. Constitution? We are looking to the Supreme Court to answer that question. I hope that God's people will be in prayer concerning this case as it will set a national precedent no matter what the Supreme Court decides. - Stephen D. Fournier, Milford, N.Y.

Underused

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I was disturbed by the tone of your article on the rise in the use of prescription drugs to control depression and other problems linked to mental illness ("Drugs on the brain," Oct. 21). As a person who suffered most of my life with a mood disorder, I say that these drugs are a gift from heaven above. I fight an uphill battle as a mental health professional to help people recognize that many common mental illnesses are biochemical in nature and are readily treated. When I think of the suffering needlessly endured by Christians who wouldn't think twice about using insulin for diabetes but will become completely disabled rather than use a medical treatment for a mental illness, I could cry. - Kathryn Badger, Salisbury, Md.

Overused

"Drugs on the brain" illustrates perfectly our society's insistence on quick solutions for every kind of problem. Antidepressants are overused because people want to blame a chemical imbalance rather than a lack of self-control for their shortcomings of character. I was quite alarmed and dismayed, however, to read that children in preschool are receiving the same drugs. Children at that age who misbehave should be dealt with by parental discipline, not by prescription. - Hugh Henry, Dahlonega, Ga.

Bait and switch

Regarding the article on Hell Houses, these efforts are a confused strategy that offers entertainment as the bait before the switch ("Shocked straight," Oct. 21). That's not a good witness. - Eric Blievernicht, Terre Haute, Ind.

Scared straight

I think that Hell Houses are awesome. I know tons of teenagers who would go to one just to get scared and would be "scared straight." I feel for the people who went through the Columbine and Wedgwood tragedies, but portraying a school shooting would wake people up. The important thing is to get people saved, not whose toes we're stepping on. - Jenny Spore, Scottville, Mich.

Debating the debate

I disagree with the conclusion about the worth (or rather, worthlessness) of debating today ("The lost art of the debate," Oct. 21). While many debate leagues are as you described them, not all leagues operate with those objectives. The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association selects debate topics that Christians may argue on both sides, but not topics like euthanasia or abortion. This is my second year of debate participation. I know from experience that it teaches research, team work, logical analysis, speech construction, thinking on your feet, persuasiveness, note taking, and, of course, public speaking. These skills are important no matter what you grow up to be: a missionary, a politician, a journalist, a businessman, a teacher, a pastor, a salesperson, or a mother. Most importantly, it prepares you to defend the faith in an increasingly hostile world. Debate is not yet a lost art. To dismiss it is to dismiss a valuable learning tool. - Rachel Shafer, Longmont, Colo.

True value

The column by U.S. Olympic swimmer Josh Davis was very encouraging ("Silver in Sydney," Oct. 7). To swim your best, set an American record, and come in fourth could be very discouraging unless you realize that Christ's "performance" shows our value. - J.D. Moyer, Littleton, Colo.

New symbol needed

Mr. Lamer is right on target, and I disagree with Mr. Skillen's column that followed ("Spiritual adultery," "Genuine pluralism," Oct. 7). As a former army chaplain, I assure you that in the military chaplaincy symbolic civil religion is alive and well and seriously hinders the proclamation of the gospel. Conservative evangelical chaplains are labeled "Protestant" and must cooperate with feminist chaplains, "psychologized" chaplains, those from mainline liberal denominations, and so on. Some evangelical chaplains have more in common with Jewish chaplains (who believe in God) and Catholic chaplains (who affirm the deity of Christ), yet the military continues to manage the chaplaincy as a Protestant melting pot. Chaplains are often jokingly referred to as "moral officers," and maybe this is closer to reality. When polite universalism becomes the norm, it would serve the truth better to replace the cross of Christian chaplains with a smiley face. - Scott Tomlinson, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

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