Marvin Olasky has often pointed out how, in America's past, religious organizations sprang up to solve social problems within their communities. Whenever government began to assist them financially, they usually lost their vision and effectiveness because they could not challenge their neighbors with a higher calling. I see the same pattern beginning with President Bush's faith-based initiative ("The Washington game," Aug. 4). Government money, as tempting as it may be, will always end up supporting ministries that put bread ahead of the Word of God. We should seek "wise as serpent" ways to reduce the control of the federal government in our ministries by keeping our wealth local. Government money will not prosper faithful ministries-God will. And He is not running for reelection. - Robert S. Berry, Greenville, S.C.
Not what Bush intended
Mr. Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition says that he "cannot support the president's faith-based initiative." It is sad to me that anyone would think that this bill is the president's. I don't believe that, by the time all the officials on both sides got done with it, it was anything like what President Bush intended it to be. I think he had something more in mind of helping those religious groups that are helping others rather than eliminating them for their faith, like our previous president. Now we're in the position of wishing that President Bush had the power that we were thanking God Bill Clinton didn't have. - Valerie L. Johnson, Jacksonville, Fla.
All means none
Thank you to Andree Seu for a wonderful little gem of a column that looks to God's Word for guidance in Sabbath observance ("A Sabbath proposal," Aug. 4). The inevitable retort to Sabbath keeping is, of course, that "every day is the Lord's Day." But, as J.C. Ryle said, "given human nature, the attempt to regard every day as the Lord's Day would result in having no Lord's Day at all." - S. Murray, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Real Sabbath rest
Scripture doesn't define keeping the Sabbath as congregating in a building across town for a quick weekly meeting. I long for a Saturday-night service at our church, to add to our weekly fellowship with a few other believing families, so that we could truly have a Sabbath rest on Sundays. As a wife and mother of four young children, with another on the way, Sunday mornings can be anything but restful for me. Rushing around, making sure everyone is bathed, well-dressed, and fed by 8:30 a.m., shouting, "Hurry! hurry!" up the stairs as we go-this wears me out and frustrates them. I'd prefer to wake up without an alarm, greet the children cheerfully, have a casual breakfast, gather on the couch for praise singing and Bible reading, and then spend the remainder of the day at home in activities designed to glorify our Lord and celebrate His handiwork in our lives. - Darla Sautter, Black Forest, Colo.
The more the better
Jesus had more confrontations with legalists regarding the Sabbath than on almost any other issue. I say, the more services the better. It makes the buildings more efficient and frees up more money for missions. And yes, it deals pragmatically with people's complicated schedules of work and wholesome recreation. I think it is wise to rest a day a week, but every day should be holy to God. - John A. Teets, Horsham, Pa.
Singling out sinners?
Yes, the Bible is very clear about God's view of homosexuality and it is not wrong to refuse employment or certain benefits to homosexual individuals ("Scary precursor," Aug. 4). However, we need to be very careful that these particular sinners are not singled out just because their sin is so unlike ours. God's Word is also clear regarding fornication, adultery, and divorce. So, would you refuse to hire someone with a live-in partner? Or someone who is unbiblically divorced yet will not seek reconciliation? Or fire someone being unfaithful to a spouse? These people are tearing apart the fabric of our society just as fast as homosexual activists. - Brian Jackins, Elverson, Pa.
Hear the oinking
People need to hear more about the pork spending that our members of Congress advocate ("Surplus of spendthrifts," Aug. 4). - Steve Hovandem, Green River, Wyo.
We want choice
What makes anyone think that any translation will become the "standard" Bible of English-speaking evangelicals, whether published by a not-for-profit publishing house or otherwise ("A standard, maybe," July 28)? For that to occur all choice would have to be removed from the marketplace, and that won't happen. We value choice too much. - Michael L. Ward, Vero Beach, Fla.
Shudder at "obey"
We're of a generation who routinely had "obey" in our marriage ceremonies, and we shudder when we see it included as a spiritual requirement for today's brides with no qualifiers for husbands ("Goin' to the chapel," July 7/14). While we are mailing golden wedding cards to our contemporaries, we are grieving over too many of our children's marriages devastated by the behaviors of selfish and abusive "Christian" husbands. - Eulea & I.J. Thaarp, Blue Springs, Mo.
I appreciate the way that WORLD presents issues with a complexity that leads to biblical clarity. My denomination's news publication also seeks to promote a holistic Christian worldview but often does so in a way that leads to greater ambiguity. Its editorial perspective teaches, "Think Christianly, but you can't know for sure." Yours teaches, "Think biblically; it makes all the difference in the world." Each week I come away from reading WORLD feeling updated on current events, but the greater benefit is the cumulative education of being challenged to see the world through the lens of God's perspective. - Chuck Walton, Kanawha, Iowa
Keep them out of it
I was dismayed to see your mention of Sagemont Church in connection with the "puzzling, sad case of Andrea Yates," the Houston mother who murdered her five children ("She seemed normal," July 7/14). It was unnecessary and potentially harmful to the reputation of Sagemont Church to have it associated with this dreadful situation. - Margaret Kiesle, Temple, Texas
Flowers, not rocks
The saying, "When people are sick, they send flowers, and when they are mentally ill, they throw rocks," is very true. The Yates family needs our prayers. I am left to wonder if their doctors failed the Yateses. That a woman so depressed would be given such a strong medication outside the hospital and left alone to care for five very small children is alarming. - Jill Ray, Oneonta, Ala.
The same hypocrisies
Your article in the July 7/14 issue, "HMOphobia in Congress," did an excellent job of pointing out the double standard of reforming private HMOs while neglecting to reform the government-run HMO of Medicare. The same hypocrisies apply to the HMO run by the military, commonly called "TRICARE Prime." I would support HMO reform, if everyone would benefit from it. - Glenn C. Tuley, Melbourne, Fla.
Junk for books
The major problem with the small Christian bookstores today is that they carry so many doo-dads, like the "What would Jesus do?" junk, and so few books ("Going mainstream," July 7/14). If I want commentaries, I have to go to the big, secular bookstores. - Bob Newman, Sierra Vista, Ariz.
There have recently been a lot of questions about the morality and ethics of cloning ("Cloning to kill," June 16). I would like to point out that scientists cannot create a living cell from "scratch"; they have to manipulate existing cells to produce a genetic copy of an existing person. Therefore, cloning would deny people one of their most precious gifts-individuality. Human clones, if they ever exist, would not be people created by science but people who have been horribly mutilated by science. - John H. Schwab, Mount Joy, Pa.
I am amazed at the number of Christians who rave about Bruce Wilkinson's The Prayer of Jabez, as if finally they have the hope and guidance necessary for life ("Nugget of gold," June 23). True, the message of the book is encouraging; who couldn't use more blessing? But I would suggest that the lack of God's blessing and the lack of effective prayer in our lives has little to do with not having the right approach or not thinking big enough. Rather, it is because of sin in our lives. We're more concerned with feeling good than being good, but James tells us that "the prayers of the righteous man avails much." - Denise Terry, Troy, Ill.
The photo on page 41 of the Aug. 11 issue shows convicted mobster Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo Sr., father of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., an accused bookie and FBI surveillance target. - The Editors