Democratic representatives recently said that the Bush tax cut was not "compassionate conservatism." These same people campaigned against the idea of a compassionate conservative for president, but now that we have one in office and the idea has become more popular, Democrats are trying to define it to fit their mold. We hope that President Bush and the Republicans in Congress don't allow the opposition to define what a true compassionate conservative really is ("Making the case," March 10). - Joel & Martha Markwat, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Your cover photo of President Bush caught my eye by accentuating the positive. Of course, my admiration for George W. enters into my assessment, but I also commend you for the photo of Rep. Gephardt in the same article. People in the public eye deserve to be honestly portrayed. - Elizabeth Richman, Alsea, Ore.
I have especially appreciated WORLD's coverage of and commentary on President Bush's new faith-based initiatives. Personally, I desire to see as little direct government involvement with religious organizations as possible, and so the column regarding the use of social service vouchers was most welcome ("Angel in the details," March 10). On the other hand, I believe that the Scriptures seem to indicate that government is, in some way, to become a helper for the kingdom of God, not an active hindrance to it. At least we are wrestling with these questions. That is far better than the de facto support and encouragement of the religion of secularism which has become government policy after so many decades of abuse of the so-called principle of "separation of church and state." - William Shishko, Malverne, N.Y.
Just one problem
Marvin Olasky's opinion that "social vouchers" are the best way to solve sticky problems of church and state that could arise from President Bush's faith-based initiative proposals has just one problem: Many Republicans and practically all Democrats are loath to allow people that much control over their own money. - Jackie Horton, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Conserve (political) energy
President Bush's plan for equal funding of faith-based groups is a waste of effort. It will only further increase federal spending and waste precious political energy. Mr. Bush ought to do everything he can to reduce (eventually to nothing) all federal funding of social welfare groups so that individuals and organizations can fund the programs they believe in. - John D. Stein, Elizabethtown, Pa.
Thank you to Joel Belz for speaking the truth in love in "Elephant in the room" (March 10). In today's culture, speaking out against divorce is not popular. We have allowed the standard to be lowered and lowered as we make "exceptions" to biblical teaching. The banner of marriage has been trampled in the mud and it is time we lift it high, out of the mire, and pray for God's rain of mercy to wash it while we say to the world, "By God's grace, we will no longer look at divorce and remarriage as an accepted part of the Christian life." May God forgive us. - Robert Mitchell, Greenwood, Del.
That was then
I strongly agree with "Elephant in the room." Some evangelical churches even appoint divorced men as elders without hesitation. We used to believe a church that did that was in real trouble. - Fletcher W. McDowell, Muncie, Ind.
WORLD asserts that National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) decided to disaffiliate from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) over a series of misunderstandings and other issues ("A no-fault divorce?" March 10). However, NRB's 93 board members and the Executive Committee were well informed of NRB's concerns over several NAE issues well ahead of the Feb. 10 vote, which was unanimous. The suggestion that NRB is not interested in theological accountability is simply absurd; the solid Bible teachers and denominations on our board will keep us accountable. We are willing to work with the NAE on issues of common interest, and we wish them well as they pursue their mission. - Karl Stoll
Vice President of Communications, NRB, Manassas, Va.
What would Jesus read?
Is there some way to get an update on news and issues without reading about the creepy and vile things in movies, or without having pornography brought into our living room ("Out of the dungeon," March 10)? Would Jesus let His family read these things? Please cancel our subscription. - Henry & Gwen Hertzler, Bainbridge, N.Y.
Aim for the heart
Gene Edward Veith's column on the promotion of sex in our culture was right on target. I would add that parents and children should be more concerned with the heart attitudes of stars who entertain them, not just outside appearances. We need to pray for people like Britney Spears and the young minds and hearts who are influenced by them. - Susan Peisker, Cedar Park, Texas
What's in it for us?
It is tragic to think that American intervention to assist suffering and oppressed people must first pass the "Is there oil there for us?" test ("'This needs to stop. Now.'" March 10). - Walt Wyatt, Schertz, Texas
Weapon against violence
Kudos for an excellent article on the tragedy and horror of domestic violence ("Mental prisons," March 10). My heart breaks for these lost souls and their children. But for the sake of the American husband, I would like to point out that, despite the persistent myth that domestic violence is no respecter of circumstances, according to a 1999 study from Rutgers University, when couples cohabit (as opposed to getting married), this increases the risk of domestic violence for women. Further, the risk of physical and sexual abuse for children is 20 times more likely if biological parents are cohabiting and 33 times more likely if the male is not the natural father. So the promotion of marriage, along with the absolutely necessary personal relationship with Jesus Christ, is one of our greatest weapons against domestic violence. - Sonja Bochow, Atco, N.J.
Safe havens and candlelight vigils are just bandages for a societal cancer ("Give me shelter," March 10). We need to accept our rightful roles. Men must quit wimping out or tyrannizing and give the loving leadership intended by God, while women should stop usurping authority and be submissive, even wearing modest clothing. If we in the church will not lead the way, this society will succumb to the cancer despite the bandages. - Ron & Dayle Johnson, Amesbury, Mass.
Cal Thomas's column regarding government waste reminded me of an aphorism from comedian Will Rogers: "Government programs have three parts: A beginning, a middle, and no end" ("Trim the fat," March 10). - Richard H. Engelmann, Cincinnati, Ohio
A brilliant solution
Unable to reconcile science and religion in his genius mind, as many intelligent design scientists already have, Stephen Jay Gould offers two separate but equal "magisteria" for religion and science ("Noma? No chance," March 10). Such agreed-upon mutual respect and noninterference is a brilliant solution. Perhaps we should go a step further and have separate but equal creationist and evolutionist water fountains, restrooms, and restaurants (of course, the real problem would be which group sits at the back of the bus). Or could it be that Mr. Gould is running scared because he is beginning to see the logical impossibility of his own system and does not want to be confused by the facts? - Gary S. Karwoski, Riverside, Ill.
I have thoroughly enjoyed WORLD since I have been a subscriber, but your "Life issues" special edition (Feb. 24) topped them all. I didn't put it down until I finished, and I am going to pass it around to others. One part that really stood out was the explanation in "Weeping about our families" of Numbers 11:10, that "Moses heard the nation weeping about its families" means that the Israelites were "crying about the laws regulating sexual behavior that God had just issued at Mount Sinai." It really doesn't matter what nationality we are or the era we live in, this is a common human trait. We struggle to believe our God knows best and have difficulty choosing to obey His commands. - Pat Friend, Marlin, Wash.
The "Bestsellers" listed in the March 10 issue were hardcover books.
The illustration of Ralph Waldo Emerson is actually Henry David Thoreau (Feb. 24, p. 11). - The Editors