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Issue: "A patient nation," Oct. 13, 2001

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

Forgive

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

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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.

Correction

Prescribing placebos outside of clinical experiments is not illegal (Aug. 18, p. 36). - The Editors

On target

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

Don't dabble

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.

Distasteful ideas

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.

Marching on

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.

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