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Mailbag

Issue: "Schundler's bliss," July 7, 2001

Mere tokens

I regret that I cannot share the optimism in Bob Jones's June 9 cover story, "The check is in the mail." While tax refunds of $300 for singles and $600 for married couples are not to be spurned, they're laughable tokens considering the total confiscated from our paychecks by government at all levels. The reduction in marginal rates is truly marginal, while the full repeal of the marriage penalty and other provisions are set far in the future, by which time the administration of the day may well have very different ideas about taxation. As for the idea that the Democrats, with a slim Senate majority, may not want to risk angering voters by repealing the cuts, Democrats have shown little fear about taxing and spending, and for good reason. Recent history suggests that Americans seem to favor a predominately liberal national government. I find little to applaud in the Bush administration's tax-cut victory, but I am grateful for the gesture. - Ken Williamson, Harrisonburg, Va.

Smelly money

I will be glad to accept a $300 check in the mail, but this handing out of money smacks of buying admiration. Cutting government spending is the best way to fuel our economy. - Marvin L. Doudra, W. Palm Beach, Fla.

Promise made ...

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Throughout the campaign, George Bush promised taxpayers they would get some of their money back. Last month he kept his word, signing into law a $1.35 trillion tax cut. We need more people like him in Washington. - Scott Layden, Brandon, Fla.

Dark minds

Kudos for Andree Seu's article about the boundary of the realm of science in relation to matters of faith ("Don't get uppity," June 9). It is the ultimate irony that men reject Christianity as utterly explainable, but in reality they cannot explain anything until they know God themselves. A skeptical effort to explain a creature's desire to know his Creator is what the Apostle Paul would call "the futility of a darkened mind." - Evan Collier, Concord, N.H.

Public tomato-throwing

Marvin Olasky's "crackpot idea" for a punitive divorce ceremony is genius ("Religious cellophane," June 9). He raises a compelling issue: What does the still-confessing church do to discourage divorce among its own ranks? Perhaps a little public tomato-throwing might be a useful feature of the "covenant marriage" arrangements. At least, why not give divorce the same public exposure as marriage-in church bulletins, from the pulpit, and on bulletin boards? If we aspire to hate the sin as much as our Lord does, a little old-fashioned shame, threatened or real, may go a long way to motivate those who are struggling with their marriages to seek Him and struggle on. - Thadd Buzan, Alexandria, Va.

Divorce ritual

"Religious cellophane" hit home for our society and, unfortunately, the church. But, as Christians we do have an appropriate ritual for an individual who institutes a divorce. First Corinthians 5 advises us to put out an unrepentant sinner. Anyone who would seek to dissolve a marriage should expect to be put out of fellowship. This is so that they will see the error of their ways, repent, and return to both their spouses and our fellowship. All too often they can simply go down the street to another church and not be disciplined. - Charles Hollensed, Glen Ellyn, Ill.

It takes two

Nowhere in "Religious cellophane" does Mr. Olasky state that it takes two people to make a good marriage work, but only one to blow it or walk away. Churches need to stop allowing abusive spouses to continue their destructive patterns. There is such a thing as an innocent spouse in divorce. - Terri Von Ehrenkrook, Phoenix, Ariz.

Liturgy for sin

Kudos to Mr. Olasky for his fine analysis of the scandal of divorce. The Episcopal liturgical officer is typical of the many in our denomination who are busy watering down scriptural authority, bowing instead to the Baals of secular pressures, and advocating sub-Christian practices. God will not honor those who ritualize sin or devise a liturgy for it. - Donald Seeks, Fresno, Calif.

Acknowledging life

I was disappointed that Mr. Olasky criticized post-abortion rituals with divorce rituals. I agree that substituting rituals for true repentance is wrong, but I believe that these services, when used in the process of godly healing, can be meaningful and powerful. By giving their children a name and a memorial service, these women are acknowledging that they did not abort bits of tissue but their sons and daughters. It takes tremendous courage and a repentant spirit to admit to this intensely painful, private sin before friends, family, and church. - Leslie Devine, South Barrington, Ill.

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