Bless Mr. Sharpe
I want to commend you for your cover story, "When push comes to shovel" (Aug. 11). As a former caseworker for Child Protective Services in Pennsylvania, I was able to witness all the power, control, and hypocrisy that the government has to offer our nation's children-as legal parents-should officials feel the need to assert this authority. The system, operating on the subjective interpretations of regulations by individual caseworkers, creates even more stress for families who have not found their way yet. May Mr. Sharpe be blessed for doing what is right. - Cheryl A. Dissinger, Temple, N.H.
Children mean money
According to Bob Jones's fine article, the state of Missouri has a value on children of $41,532 each. This is not lost on bureaucrats who see their livelihood in keeping people dependent on welfare. Every child taken out of the system means lost income for the system. - Craig Shoemaker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
A life well-lived
As an OBGYN physician, I have shared in both the start and end of life. Who can describe holding a wet, squirming newborn as he takes his first breath? How do you tell a woman still groggy from Demerol that the news is bad-the cancer has spread and she needs to get her affairs in order? So Dr. Chip Morgan's journal entries flooded me with emotions ("Praise for a day of health," Aug. 11). His commitment to faith and family while facing terminal illness left me humbled and shamed. Do I have to stand toe-to-toe with death to see what is important in life? His writings indicate a life well-lived, in love with our Lord. He has left his wife and children a great legacy. I pray for the courage to do the same. - Matt Anderson, Burlington, Iowa
Saving his life
I was deeply touched by the late Chip Morgan's "Praise for a day of health." His journal entries were a fitting testimony to the power of hope-an all-but-forgotten virtue, yet one that served Dr. Morgan well. His testimony also provides an important reminder as the debate over embryonic stem-cell research rages on. Lost in the back-and-forth banter is the truth that "whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it." While Dr. Morgan lost an earthly battle with cancer, his hope has surely been rewarded. He's experiencing an eternal life now that no amount of technology can produce this side of heaven. - Tim Brown, Gig Harbor, Wash.
The teacher is responsible
As a member of the Executive Committee of the Physicians Consortium, I would like to add that our call for Dr. Koplan's dismissal as head of Center for Disease Control was not a lighthearted demand ("'Protection' racket," Aug. 11). The CDC still doesn't tell women that condoms do not prevent HPV (human papilloma virus), the major cause of cervical cancer. In fact, the CDC opposes labeling condoms as being deficient in this manner, thus failing to provide "medically accurate information" as federal law requires of federal agencies. Also, the effectiveness of condoms in reducing HIV, even at 85 percent, is too low. While some may say that they are saving 85 percent, the truth is that they are condemning the other 15 percent while ignoring a primary prevention measure-sexual abstinence until marriage. The teacher must bear responsibility for the outcome when the student follows the advice to use condoms and still contracts HIV or HPV. - John R. Diggs, Jr., South Hadley, Mass.
Thank you for Marvin Olasky's "Resistance tactics" (Aug. 11). In the past few years, as I have seen the denomination in which I pastor (PCUSA) drift ever closer to the prevailing culture, I have begun to recognize more fully the dangers of viewing, listening to, and reading only mainstream media outlets. I have added the websites Mr. Olasky recommended to the favorites that I read regularly. - David Chumney, Paris, Ky.
I am a 17-year-old homeschooler and was excited to see the article on TeenPact ("No joking," Aug. 11). I have been involved with TeenPact for less than a year, but it has already made a huge difference in my life. I have learned so much about our government and being a Christian witness in politics, and that it is very important to keep informed about current events and issues and to keep communicating with our leaders. - Kirsten Etherton, Seabrook, Md.
We are grateful that God provided the TeenPact experience for our teens, but it has also ministered to our entire family. Mom and Dad have become much more alert to civil government and our responsibility as believers to engage the culture rather than escape it. Our conversations as a family have been seasoned by a more authentic Christian worldview because of our Lord's ministry through TeenPact. - Roger, Vonda, Lee, & Bethany Gates, Tifton, Ga.
I must disagree with Mr. Veith's perspective on immigration ("New and improved," Aug. 11). We live in rural Nebraska in packing-house country. It is obvious that the influx of Mexican workers is driving down the basic wage structure. I worry that eventually rural Nebraska's standard of living will be like rural Mexico's. I also tire of the idea that "local people will not do the jobs." Take away enough illegal immigrants and wages would increase to the point that "locals" would stand in line to get the jobs. There is also the issue of the message we are sending to the people by allowing illegal immigrants to remain. Are we going to turn our heads at bank robbers next? - Dwight Boysen, Howells, Neb.
Thank you to Gene Edward Veith for "New and improved," a column on the upside of immigration. Here in California, employers have found Hispanic workers to be a refreshing change-they show up for work and put in an honest eight-hour's labor each day. But the greater potential for our culture, as Mr. Veith sees, is the stronger family values they bring to the table. Anti-immigration conservatives would be wise to reconsider and stop alienating this group. After all, wouldn't most of us have been brave enough to come here for a better life, too? - Barbara Curtis, Petaluma, Calif.
Multiple marriage types
Christians are acting like schizophrenics about covenant marriage legislation ("Vow of silence?" Aug. 11). While the left hand is fighting for one kind of traditional marriage to be maintained (between a man and woman), the right hand is opening the door for the state to recognize multiple types of marriages. Let's get rid of the root problem-no-fault divorce legislation-and affirm that marriage has always been a lifetime commitment that should be hard to break up. - Lydia Kaiser, Wright City, Mo.
Thank you for "Vow of Silence?" However, contrary to Mr. McManus's assertion, one Protestant pastor did testify on behalf of covenant marriage legislation in Maryland (I did, as pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church). As a member of TakeBackMaryland, I have had a long, arduous battle in this liberal state that won't pass a covenant marriage law, yet just passed the pro-homosexual bill SB 205. We need more pastors to take a stand and push for covenant marriage. For example, pastors in Maryland need to urge their congregations to vote against SB 205 in November 2002-if, that is, Maryland's liberal judges will allow it on the ballot. Now is the time for believers to stand up for what is right and true. - David Whitney, Pasadena, Md.
I was intrigued by the lawyer for the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth, and the Law who equated a spanking stick or "paddle" with a weapon ("Church and state up north," Aug. 4). A hypodermic needle can be used as a weapon, too, but we don't outlaw those. Neither should we view paddles, when used in wise and loving discipline, as weapons. - David C. Innes, Walker, Iowa
Give 'em credit
By merely fighting this battle on faith-based initiatives we've lost it, because we are getting something "faith-based" in exchange for big government handout programs ("Sounds of silence," Aug. 4). As well, the bill is laden with things that make liberals cringe, like the terms faith-based and vouchers, words that invite close democratic scrutiny. And I don't see that that the obscure language in Bill H.R. 7 is any benefit to anyone except trial lawyers, despite what TeamBush might say. It will just end up being left to the interpretation of the federal judge whose desk it happens to cross. Offering tax credits is a better idea. This approach would not bury the benefit recipients in paperwork or bureaucracy and those controversial terms faith-based and vouchers would never have had to have been mentioned. Still, as Mr. Olasky says, I'd have had a hard time voting against this president, too. I just wish he'd planned a bit better. - Kerry Dougan, Los Corralitos, Dominican Republic
Greenville, Texas, is 75 miles northeast of Dallas (Aug. 18, p. 20). - The Editors