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Issue: "Tax man's terror," April 14, 2001

Back up

I was saddened by the latest wave of school shootings and have an unsettling feeling that there are many more to come ("A sad reality," March 17). Not long ago we decided as a nation that the classroom was not big enough for both God and State. Curiously, God had to leave, not the State. So after decades of teaching our children that we are all just a cosmic accident and that there is no right and wrong, only shades of gray, why are we so surprised that some are unable to value life and have no moral compass? Why are we surprised that some, faced with teasing or rejection, think that the only viable solution is to kill all those who have upset them? Perhaps we should back up a few decades to reassess who should leave the classroom and let parents, not the State, decide how their children should be educated. - Chuck Siebsen, Falcon Heights, Minn.

Where?

The cover photo and headline of the March 17 issue said it all. Despair, shock, grief, and disbelief were written on the faces of those in the photo, and the words, "A sad reality," ring in our hearts. Where will it end? And the question that burns in my heart is: Where is the church? The church of Jesus Christ is seemingly powerless in a society that slides further and further into the darkness of sin and hopelessness. Nothing short of an authentic move of the Holy Spirit in a true revival will save our country. - Frank Nolton, Goodrich, Mich.

An American problem

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The shooting was very sad, and very wrong, but is it merely because God is not taught in school? If we look at other, godless school systems, then murder in school should be a worldwide problem. Instead, it is an American problem. Maybe taking away the means, addressing the motives, and denying the opportunity would be an approach to stopping the murder by American teenagers. - Heidi Buiskool, Ferndale, Wash.

Payback time

Special thanks to Joel Belz for his hard-hitting and on-target comments on the predatory lending practices of the credit card companies ("The come-on," March 17). I spent 10 years in the lending business and I saw many people get in over their heads after receiving numerous credit cards. While it is the individual's fault for running up the debt, the credit card companies do very little to verify that the consumer can actually pay back the debt. The president of my former employer used to say (to paraphrase) "that the lender is responsible for keeping the borrower from taking out a bad loan by verifying that they can pay it back." - Travis Grubbs, Statesboro, Ga.

Free moral agents

I was somewhat surprised by "The come-on," which seemed to portray deeply in debt credit card holders as victims of the big banks and credit card companies. I always thought that conservatives did not see people as victims of big business or tobacco companies, but rather free moral agents who have made unwise and sinful choices. While the tactics of the credit card companies cannot be denied, the individual can still say no. Easy bankruptcy seeks to remove the consequences of practicing unbiblical behavior. - Lee Stauff, Quakertown, Pa.

Broken vows

Joel Belz expresses fairly his concerns about legislation designed to protect the "evil ways" of consumer credit lenders. But the most significant problem is not the lender, but the lack of obligation felt by the borrower. All our relationships-financial, marital, and vocational-suffer great damage at the hand of broken vows, excused by our postmodern value system. - Greg Phillips, Taylors, S.C.

Victimized

I cannot fully agree with Mr. Belz's stance regarding the new bankruptcy laws. Yes, the banks encourage reckless spending and certainly are much to blame for the tremendous debt incurred by ordinary citizens. But as a small business owner, I feel victimized by my customers who so easily have reneged on their debts by filing for bankruptcy. I welcome the tightened rules on filings, and I cannot condone easily excusing those who are trapped in high debt loads, be it from credit cards, sloppy spending, or outright fraud. It rankles seeing many of them enjoy the niceties of life after legally avoiding payment to me. - Bill Mitchell, Fort Payne, Ala.

Better than all right

Andree Seu has allowed her readers a glimpse into the struggles of her heart during the illness and death of her husband, and now as a single parent. I finally had to write in after "How are you?" (March 17). Six weeks ago our third child, Caleb Andrew, was stillborn. "How are you?" is the common greeting from friends and family. I stifle the tears and heartache always just beneath the surface and usually answer, "All right." But she showed me that, in reality, I am doing better than "all right." God continues to provide comfort through His Spirit and His Word, and even in the midst of intense sorrow and confusion I have much for which to be thankful. - Stephanie Lindvall, Indianapolis, Ind.

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