The myth is dead
Last night my wife and I stayed up late watching the big inter-faith prayer service in New York. (We live in the Central European Time Zone.) That service confirmed in my mind that we are seeing a very big change in American life: The myth of a secular America has died. Suddenly Americans are comfortable with open religious expressions, even by elected officials, as a normal part of American public and political life. But we Christians may not be so much more content with what may follow after "Secular America." The next phase in American life looks more like it may be far more pluralistic than what we have seen before, and we need to take our faith back into the mainstream of Western culture. - Thomas K. Johnson, Prague,Czech Republic
Our government must punish the terrorists with a punishment fitting to their crime of killing more than 5,000 innocent people. If they are not stopped they will strike again, perhaps with a chemical or biological weapon that could leave millions of Americans dead. But each of us must personally forgive those terrorists in our heart, for this is also a spiritual crisis. To respond with hatred to those who committed these acts will only consume us. We can also pray that God will give our leaders wisdom as they carry out this military action, and see that there is a difference between fighting to protect peace and freedom, and fighting to advance terror and oppression. - Mark Peske, Bemidji, Minn.
Before doing anything
Opinions I have heard of what America should do in response to this series of attacks have ranged from "nuke 'em!" to "maybe if we don't do anything then all this will stop." Before doing anything, I suggest that we as a people fall on our faces before God, confess our sins, and turn from our wicked ways. This great nation was founded and preserved to this point by the blood of countless Americans. A failure to respond now would render their sacrifices in vain. - Glenn Marshall, Knoxville, Tenn.
Prescribing placebos outside of clinical experiments is not illegal (Aug. 18, p. 36). - The Editors
Thanks to Andree Seu for her excellent column on postmodern evangelism ("Vanities, vanities," Sept.15). As a fellow Francis Schaeffer fan, I envy Mrs. Seu's opportunity to meet the great philosopher himself. Her description of the typical unbeliever and how to share the truth and hope of the gospel was right on target, especially for those of us who stand up for the rational Christian faith in a university setting. - Micah Green, Lubbock, Texas
Now's the time
Andree Seu's column really struck home. God has been working in my life recently, convicting me of the need to witness to others. This is especially important in light of the recent tumultuous event, and I think God will bless the efforts of those who go out and witness to those affected by the terrorist attack. - Andrew Stephens, Howe, Texas
Joel Belz writes that some conservatives criticize President Bush's faith-based initiatives and then "return to dabble with private efforts so small they tend to be more symbolic than substantive in relieving real needs" ("Firing up a fizzle?" Sept. 15). He misses an important potential. If Christians increased giving from present levels to an average of 10 percent, there would be billions more dollars a year for ministry. If that money went beyond the local church to help domestic and global poverty in Jesus' name, we're no longer talking about "dabbling." - John & Sylvia Ronsvalle, Champaign, Ill.
Representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say their campaign against the Wendy's fast-food chain is a success ("Unhappy meals?" Sept. 15). This whole thing is absurd. If these people want to eat vegetables and protect animals, fine; they should adopt a dog from the Humane Society and go eat at "Sweet Tomatoes." They should not try to force their beliefs down other people's throats and try to ruin our delicious hamburgers. - Eric Hires, Tampa, Fla.
As a volunteer trainer for two crisis pregnancy centers, I know first-hand that pro-lifers at our CPCs go to great lengths to meet our primary goal of telling the truth in love. That means we give straightforward and accurate information about prenatal development, abortion techniques and risks, and a variety of other important subjects. I am not surprised in the least that NARAL has launched a new campaign in hopes of shutting down CPCs ("Shut 'em up, shut 'em down," Sept. 15). The pro-death camp is motivated by the mighty dollar, and CPCs are a direct threat to their pocketbooks. It is they who misinform, mislead, and coerce women. NARAL and all the pro-death forces cannot stop the truth from marching on. - Ana Kurcab, Columbus, Mich.
As someone who has been involved in alternative medicine for over 10 years, I will agree that there are many New Age followers involved in various alternatives, as well as Christians who don't stop to ask the necessary questions ("The holes in holistic," Sept. 8). That is not to say, however, that all alternative medicines are based in a worldview other than Christianity, although some certainly are. We must continually be on guard, watching for those red flags that let us know where a medical practitioner is coming from. - Joan Fox, Hollidaysburg, Pa.
Letters to the editor in WORLD typically appear four weeks after our coverage. As we did last week, because of the overwhelming response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America, we are again publishing a few letters early. - The Editors
Take the bad, too
Just as the Babylonians were not able to take the children of Israel into captivity without God's consent, so we are comforted by the fact that these attacks are also not beyond God's control. We tend to limit God to the good events that happen in life and not the bad, but Amos 3:6 points out that if "there is a calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?" President Bush is obviously the leader that this country needs in one of the most tragic moments in our history. God was in control of the presidential election, and He is in control now. - Todd Sitton, Birmingham, Ala.
It seems likely that we, too, will have to adopt the heavily militaristic and armed attitude that Israel has. The Israeli Mossad cannot stop the bombings and the killings in that country. It seems to me unlikely that we can stop them here, either. Where will it end? I hope everyone has the stomach needed to forge ahead, but I am not certain of anything. - Hadley Robinson, El Paso, Texas
How horrible to think of thousands of American citizens dying last week in such a horrible manner-in the dark, being dismembered, and burned alive. But I am thinking of late-term abortions in this country as well as the New York tragedy. For the last 30 years abortion has gone on every week in American mother's wombs and where is the outcry? When I hear pro-abortion people talking, in the wake of the attacks, about how much they value human life, it makes me sick. - Jim Shepard, Candor, N.C.
Truth still needs a defense
I've heard several say that it's a new world now that terrorism has hit us with a strong blow, but I disagree. Liberalism is not dead yet, if it ever will be. In a very few months, if not weeks, liberals will return to the fight for their bad ideas, and we, the people of this great union, may suffer by accepting those ideas as policy. That sounds horribly partisan, but the truth still needs a defense. - Phil Wade, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Christians in America should not only pray daily for wisdom for our president, but also for the salvation of the terrorists, including Mr. bin Laden. We should pray that the Holy Spirit would convict these evil people with such force that they would not be able to eat or sleep until they gave their lives to Christ. - Roger Quam, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Praise God for Marvin Olasky's column on how to respond to Mexican aliens in our midst ("America's aliens," Sept. 15). Nearly a year ago some trees and shrubs were chopped down around our property, opening up our view of the neighborhood. We suddenly realized our community has many Mexican immigrants, our NIMBYs (Now In My Back Yard, as a WORLD column put it some time ago). Since then we have been involved in forming prayer groups for this mission field transplanted to the mountains of Arizona, brought a native Mexican pastor and his family to plant a Spanish church, and are holding Spanish services in our home and church. Let us continue to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers. - Erin Gibson, Payson, Ariz.