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Mailbag

Issue: "Linda Chavez," Jan. 20, 2001

What to buy

I appreciated Gene Edward Veith's "Can't buy me love" (Dec. 16), a timely reminder of how overmaterialized we are in America, yet how unsatisfied and covetous we remain. I hung the article up with our Christmas cards. Providentially, in the same issue I read about your "Daniel of the year" Michael Yerko, a persecuted Christian leader in Sudan. The plight of our brothers and sisters could be an answer to the problem of buying for "the one who has everything" on our Christmas list. Next year, why not share with our brothers who have next to nothing? Through your reporting and Voice of the Martyrs ministry, our family has been convicted to pray and give to our suffering fellow believers. May we not only thank our gracious and heavenly Father for the blessings of abundance, but be openhanded to the faithful in need, for the sake of Christ and the gospel. - Heidi Goerner, New Hartford, N.Y.

True gratitude

Gene Edward Veith's column was very good as far as it went. We prosperous American Christians should enjoy God's unmerited generosity with a thankful heart, and not scorn the abundance with which God has blessed us. For a long time I struggled with feeling guilty for prosperity, which also leads to a lack of gratitude. Now I know that the way truly to enjoy our prosperity and have a thankful heart is to use what God has given us to advance His kingdom and comfort His people. It's OK to have a nice house if you practice hospitality, and it's OK to have more money than you truly need if you are charitable. After all, that is why God has so generously blessed us-for His name's sake. - Marliss Bombardier, Winslow, Ariz.

Eye opening

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I thought your article on Michael Yerko was great ("Daniel of the year," Dec. 16). I knew that there was political unrest in Africa but I didn't know that there have been such severe problems in Sudan. Thank you for keeping me informed. - Jamie Gallagher, 16, Warren, Maine

A face of persecution

Thank you for putting a "face" on Sudan: Michael Yerko. I have been praying for Sudan in generalities. Now I can pray for a fellow believer who has both a name and a face. I appreciate how you enumerated many of the needs of Sudanese Christians and tried to explain the intricacies of a Memorandum of Understanding. - Joan Burgett, Ithaca, N.Y.

The cost of getting it right

Joel Belz made good points in his proposals to clean up the election process, but I am afraid the horse is out of the barn ("Higher hurdles," Dec. 16). In making registration and voting virtually effortless, the potential for fraud has skyrocketed. There is a way, however, to make "Motor Voter" work and clean up the registration rolls, from which it is now almost impossible to remove a name: Require voters to re-register whenever they renew their driver's licenses. In South Carolina, where I was chairman of the State Election Commission from 1990 to 1997, that is every four years. This way you could keep track of a moving population. California officials estimate that 14-24 percent of the names on their state voting lists are bogus; that's between 2 million and 3.5 million, more than the entire voter file for South Carolina. Also, it seems logical to begin to use thumbprint technology for elections. Electronic voting with a paper trail is essential if we want to have accurate elections. Punch cards are fine for small jurisdictions, but Chicago and South Florida counties are fooling themselves if they think they can adequately handle hundreds of thousands of punch cards. Honesty and accuracy cost money. Remember, too, that any system man can devise, man can frustrate. As James Madison said, "If men were angels, there would be no need for government." And then there would be no need for elections. - William B. DePass Jr., Columbia, S.C.

Football it's not

Joel Belz calls for much-needed projects to clean up registration rolls, modernize the mechanics of voting, let all voting deadlines coincide, and enhance the privilege of voting. I would add that the news media must be prohibited, under penalty of law, from making reports of any voting results or exit poll data until the last poll, at least in the continental United States, has closed. We will never know how many voters turned around and went home without voting on Nov. 7 after they heard the premature announcement that candidate Al Gore had won Florida. Elections are not like the Super Bowl. If fans see a lopsided score and leave early, they do not directly influence the outcome of the contest. - Don Crawford, Kirksville, Mo.

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