Great articles on Enron ("Enwrong," "Bush's Whitewater?" Jan. 26). Both authors presented their information and doubts well. Some liberal journalists seem to have concluded that Vice President Cheney bent over backward to give Enron every advantage he could in federal energy policy, but they are unable to produce real facts to back up their claims. This type of spin is normal, but I'm wondering whether they will begin to use outright lies. - Phil Wade, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Enron done right
Tim Graham may have set the standard for rational reporting in this country. His explanation of the Enron mess is the first I've heard that makes any sense. And the description of pro-regulatory Enron officials as "ideological cross-dressers" was right on target. - Billy Crisler, Melbourne, Fla.
Roberta Green's piece is the most lucid explanation I've seen for my gut feeling that Harry Potter (and his creator) crossed the line ("Crossing the line," Jan. 26). - Kathryn Presley, Bryan, Texas
I would disagree with the assertion that if we let our children read Harry Potter we are saying that "it is safe to be a sorcerer." - William A. Bridgforth Jr., Johnson City, Tenn.
Not even a crack
Kudos to Roberta Green for deftly summarizing the trouble with Harry Potter. C.S. Lewis himself experienced the dangers of "crossing the line" into obsession with the occult. In Surprised by Joy, he writes that, partly because of a school matron who dabbled in the occult, "for the first time, there burst upon me the idea that there might be real marvels all about us, that the visible world might be only a curtain to conceal huge realms uncharted by my very simple theology. And that started in me something with which, on and off, I have had plenty of trouble since-the desire for the preternatural, simply as such the passion for the Occult. Not everyone has this disease; those who have will know what I mean. It is a spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts." Some children will read Harry Potter and never struggle with such a lust; but for others, it will open the door for a maleficent obsession. After reading the first Harry Potter novel, I decided that our children do not need that door opened, not even a crack. - Amy Eytchison, Brentwood, Tenn.
The column on the proposed MTV/Showtime "gay channel" was informative, but I strongly protest the use of the picture of two young homosexuals staring into each others' eyes with lust all over their faces ("Way out of the closet," Jan. 26). - Robert Elliot, Riverside, Calif.
I usually enjoy your political cartoons, but one in the Jan. 26 issue pushed me over the edge. It portrayed an Enron executive on top of a house of cards, and another man, whose briefcase had on it, "Arthur Andersen," was saying, "Looking good, sir!" Not all Arthur Andersen accountants are Enron-helping toadies. My 7th-grade Sunday school teacher, a strong Christian woman whom I greatly admire, is a partner with the local branch of Arthur Andersen. - Anne-Cara Apple, 14, Philadelphia, Pa.
The right words
As a medical doctor, I was dismayed at the terminology used in the short article, "EC or else" (Jan. 26). In describing a new California law that will allow pharmacists to dispense the "morning-after pill" without a prescription, you said that the emergency contraception pill "will prevent pregnancy," and that the "EC" pills work, among other mechanisms, by "preventing implantation of a fertilized egg." In fact, "emergency contraception" is not reliably contraceptive at all. As you noted, it might prevent conception, but it might well allow conception to occur, and then block implantation of the developing human being. Then the baby will die from lack of nourishment and be washed out with the next menstrual period. This is the moral equivalent of an abortion, which is the moral equivalent of killing a newborn. - Jeremy Klein, Louisa, Ky.
The Jan. 19 issue of WORLD was great ("Roe vs. Wade at 29"), especially the front cover. We mounted the picture of the baby in a man's hand on a piece of plywood and displayed it during our candlelight vigil for the unborn on the streets of Washington, Mo., on Jan. 22. - Jean & Larry Stackhouse, Pacific, Mo.
I read WORLD online while I'm at school, and I really appreciate the perspectives you bring to bear on the news. I also find Andree Seu's columns make good food for thought, and I've been either challenged, humbled, or encouraged by them a number of times ("True convenience," Jan. 19). - Joel Swanson, Atlanta, Ga.
My accolades to Janie B.Cheaney for putting into words something I realized several years before I was even exposed to the Bible, when I swore off the fantasy of TV: that even the very best fantasy is unable to "improve on real life" ("Extraordinarily common," Jan. 12). Everyday, ordinary, mundane life is supercharged with real, actual, supernatural, eternal, life-and-death consequences (as I later learned) because of the result of our individual and collective "Fall from Paradise," and, thankfully, the Incarnation of Christ for our restoration. Our individual reality is almost overwhelming when you see God's constant involvement in it. - Patrick Rampy, Inyokern, Calif.
For real life
I was cheering as I read "Extraordinarily common" until I read the last line. My family reads The Lord of the Rings (and other literature) not to "improve on real life" but to improve us for real life. It jolts us awake, sharpens our wits for the battle, and bolsters our faith. In dark times, such as the January day when sharpshooters braced themselves on the roof of our town's library, or when police cars and buses filled the school parking lot, we realize, with Haldir (an elf of Lothlorien), "We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp." And when, in a lone church building in downtown York, hundreds of voices resounded with James Weldon Johnson's hymn, "Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land," my heart cracks with Sam Gamgee's: "For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing; there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." - Nancy Snyder, York, Pa.
I find your magazine a breath of fresh air in a world filled with liberal-leaning media. I especially liked your profile of the Bush speech writers ("Republican bards," Jan. 12). I had read some items about Michael Gerson but your profile shed more light on his evangelical background. A president's speechwriters have a tremendous impact on his ability to govern, conveying the message and direction of the administration. It's no wonder that Mr. Bush's speeches are riveting, inspirational, and sprinkled with references to his faith in Christ. - Daniel Darling, Lake Zurich, Ill.
No little thing
I always look forward to WORLD's stimulating articles and essays, but I disagreed with your review of A Beautiful Mind ("Morally ugly minds," Jan. 12). Mr. Coffin states that the film has "little to say," but what married couple can walk away from that film and take lightly the fact that Dr. Nash's wife stuck by his side in sickness and in health? This was no little thing. - Traci Crowley, Grayslake, Ill.
I just want to express my heartfelt appreciation for publishing WORLD online. Being blind, I have software that allows me to read WORLD online even though I could not read it in print. - Donald Maurer, Coraopolis, Pa.
A friend gave us a gift subscription to WORLD. Having received my eight free issues, I've found that your conservative Christian magazine is always conservative and occasionally Christian. Thanks anyway. - Roger Haun, York, Pa.
Thanks to Andree Seu for pointing out, in her column on music, that Jesus and the disciples sang together on the Mount of Olives ("Mystery of music," Dec. 8). How Jesus must have looked, singing that hymn of praise to the Father, with peace and courage, but also the knowledge that they "would all fall away." - Jean Gaskin, Redwood City, Calif.