Don't do this
The current discussion over using stem cells for research shows how treacherous slippery-slope consequences can be ("Pro-life cell-out?" July 21). Many expressed strong concern when scientists first froze human embryos but, because few people were willing to believe it could become big business, our concerns were minimized, even trivialized. Now we are discussing the next "logical" step of using those excess beings "who will be destroyed anyway." With rusty voices we say again: "Don't do this to these true innocents." - Greg Leaman, Oostburg,Wis.
If the government approves research on embryos, frozen or otherwise, we might as well take the next big leap for mankind and grow some of the remaining embryos to maturity so we can harvest their parts for transplants. How far can we go? - Jerry Shinn, Littleton, Colo.
Amen to my sister in the struggle, Andree Seu, for "Future perfect" (July 21). It was a blessing to me and my husband to know that others struggle with these issues. - Juli Williams, Irving, Texas
After reading "Till death do us part" in the July 21 issue, I am convicted by the lack of sanctity our nation has for human life. I am outraged that Mr. Schiavo has successfully convinced a judge to remove Mrs. Schiavo's only source of nutrition. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. and Mrs. Schindler as they fight for their daughter's right to live. - Tiffany Thompson, Dayton, Ohio
A question of motive
Regarding the article on the mainstreaming of Christian literature, I believe that the central issue is the effort the church should make to get its message to the world ("Going mainstream," July 7/14). As Christians, our position should be that the only price too high to pay for a wider distribution of the gospel is integrity. Those who hide their fear of losing their livelihood behind concerns about watered-down gospel messages are in the same boat as those who hide their desire for larger profits behind the drive for a wider audience ("Bigger idea," July 7/14). They both will have to answer to God for their motives. - Nicholas Cave, Lake Grove, N.Y.
I read with dismay the story of Andrea Yates, the homeschool mother who killed her five children ("She seemed normal," July 7/14). As a pastor and veteran homeschooling father, I have been very concerned by the number of Christian homeschooling families who reject the church or have only superficial involvement. The church is to "bear one another's burdens" (Mrs. Yates obviously had many) and without that support the burden can be very heavy. - Michael Williams, Dayton, Ohio
Faltering human filters
As a former member of the Greenville County (S.C.) Library System Board of Trustees, I read with interest WORLD's coverage of Internet filters at public libraries and the ensuing letters from readers ("Faltering over filtering," June 16; Mailbag, July 28). I was on the board when it voted unanimously to install the filters in all our branches. After a year, we have been very pleased with the results. Although one reader advocated librarians as the best "filters," we found that this places them under undue stress. Many female librarians don't want to confront porn-desiring patrons, and they are often stuck with a hostile working environment rife with sexual harassment. Those who have a confrontation often face inappropriate physical contact, threatening e-mail, and pornographic images left on computer screens for librarians (and children) to find. Filtering software is an effective tool for us in Greenville; it has come forward "light years" since it was developed. - Randall S. Page, Greenville, S.C.
Drinking, talking, and driving
Regarding New York's new law banning the use of cell phones while driving, what right does the government have to say where we can and cannot use car phones ("High-tech threats?" July 7/14)? In New York, while driving you can put on makeup while sucking down a Big Gulp and eating a Big New Yorker Pizza, and turn your music up so loud that it vibrates the other cars around you. Use your cell phone to call your spouse, however, and you can be arrested. - Scott Layden, Brandon, Fla.
Begs to differ
I beg to differ with the theory that exposure to pet dandruff in childhood may reduce the risk of having allergies ("Puppy love," June 23). I was raised in a home with a cat, a dog, and several canaries. I had frequent sinus headaches, earaches, a stuffy nose and was a "mouth breather." At 55, I now have asthma and a multitude of allergies. My grandparents thought I was a sickly child. - Sharon A. Brown, Dry Run, Pa.
Unethical and illegal
WORLD credited Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, with the assertion that "doctors routinely give placebos to patients who want every possible treatment" ("Better than nothing," June 16). In my medical practice I have never, nor have I ever witnessed, the prescribing of a placebo. Outside of clinical experiments, it would not only be unethical, but illegal. - John Bollig, San Carlos, Ariz.
No deeper abyss
Once we commence to destroy human life for research, there is no deeper abyss to which humans may sink in the vain pursuit of scientific knowledge. If humans have no inherent value different from the animals, then we have not progressed from what Hitler's "scientists" were accomplishing with their horrific experimentation in the 1940s. - Mary E. Traeger, Forsyth, Mo.
Joel Belz and Marvin Olasky both recognize the difficulty that evangelicals have in influencing public policy ("Little by little," "Day's journey," July 21). We should continue to do all that we can to influence public policy and use the political system to help achieve our evangelical objectives, just as the Apostle Paul did when he called attention to his Roman citizenship. However, we should not forget the potential for evil that exists where the majority rules, for "wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." - T.G. Neason, Curtis, Wash.
"Future perfect" was a refreshing reminder that we can sleep well at night. - Sara Rettig, Bellville, Texas
Others like Terri?
Thank you to Lynn Vincent for this informative and powerfully written story. I wept as I read it and cried out to God to intervene for Terri Schiavo's life. I am thankful that her parents are trying to protect her, but I wonder about others who are in a predicament similar to Terri's but have no advocate. - Kerri A. Fedele, Islip, N.Y.
Provoke to repentance
I used to be sympathetic to the line of reasoning expressed by a recent letter writer, that by executing Timothy McVeigh our country "extinguished the possibility that he could be redeemed" (Mailbag, July 21). But I no longer believe that more time alive necessarily equals more opportunity for redemption. Perhaps what a capital murderer needs to be provoked into repentance is not years on end in an air-conditioned facility with like-minded inmates, but swift justice. - Gary A. Gaskins, Apex, N.C.
Many people, including myself, wished that all of George W. Bush's tax-cut plan had been accepted, but at least it is a step in the right direction ("Flash traffic," July 7/14). - Timothy Clark Long, Bakersfield, Calif.
Washed out of soaps
You describe the end of "the biggest marriage in soap-opera history" between Luke and Laura Spencer of General Hospital in "Soap-opera splitsville" (July 7/14). Few people remember that Laura fell in love with Luke after he raped her; she later divorced her husband and married Luke. I was a teenager when all this happened, and it so disgusted me that I never watched another soap opera. In fact, after I got married 19 years ago I decided I would never own a TV. - Michael A. Cilano, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Your column criticizing Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift for being a mother of three while holding down a demanding job was unfair ("Not so swift," June 30). From the column, you'd never know that she has a husband and the children have a father who stays home with them. Sounds like a great guy to me. Sure, Gov. Swift will miss out on her kids, the same as any parent with a similar job, but it is not neglect if the father is home. - Robin J. Loughman, Adams, Mass.
Thank you, WORLD, for an excellent job. I don't always agree with you, but I always get the feeling that you are serious about following Jesus. - John D. Stein, Elizabethtown, Pa.