Thank you for "The left wing" in the March 9 issue describing the political views of Aaron Sorkin, creator of NBC's The West Wing. I tell my friends how Hollywood executives use their media to promote their ideology and to slander conservative Republicans, but they "Pshaw!" me and say that I'm reading too much into the shows. - Jenny Doig, Croton, Ohio
As a physician, I agree with your assessment of the "Charter on Medical Professionalism" ("Hypocritical oath," March 9). The Hippocratic oath has been a problem for the medical profession since Roe vs. Wade because many physicians began to do abortions despite the pledge they took upon graduation, a very public and easily recognized inconsistency. Medical ethicists warn that doctors must maintain their integrity lest they become "instruments of political purposes." Why, I wonder, would certain leaders feel compelled to replace the Hippocratic oath if not to become such an instrument? I hope that members of the medical profession recognize the duplicity that characterizes today's medical leaders. - Glenn P. Dewberry Jr., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Now more than ever
The only surprise about the "Charter on Medical Professionalism" is that it was so long coming. The ugly truth is that the Hippocratic oath was not so recently abandoned. When I graduated from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in 1974, the only controversy was which watered-down version to use, or whether to recite the oath at all. As a member of the American Association of Pro-Life OBGYNs, I have spoken to pro-life medical groups shocked to learn that a physician is not required to refer an abortion-minded patient to an abortion clinic. They are even more shocked when I say it is OK to discourage such a patient from seeking an abortion (an easy task, what with hemorrhage, infection, infertility, hysterectomy and death all possibilities) and to lovingly present abortion alternatives. Such counseling is anathema to the "Patient Autonomy Is the Only Ethic that Matters" crowd, who teach that a doctor should never inject morality into the doctor-patient relationship-unless it's to discourage smoking or owning a handgun. Hippocrates got it right, mostly, the first time. The principles he outlined are timeless and needed now more than ever. - Matt Anderson, Burlington, Iowa
Whenever I renew my subscription to WORLD, I struggle a bit because money is tight. Then, after I send off a 3-year renewal, you come out with two stunning issues back-to-back. Your Special Issue on Jewish/ Christian relations, "O brother, where art thou?" and your March 9 cover story on North Korea are worth an entire year's subscription each. Please continue reporting on issues like these that shape (or should shape) our thinking and prayer life but rarely receive coverage in the secular media. - Ken Brooks, Danbury, Conn.
Labor of love
Thank you for the outstanding Special Issue on Jewish/Christian relations ("O brother, where art thou?") As an Israeli history teacher in a Christian high school, I am thrilled to see you address the subject. Your timeline of notable Jewish Christians is a thorough and well-done piece of research. I really appreciate your labor of love, and will be using it in my classes for years to come. - Cynthia Gill, Excelsior, Minn.
Your Special Issue on Jewish/Christian relations is the greatest yet. Mr. Olasky's articles and column were very insightful. After reading these I wept more than I have for years. This issue is a special keeper for me. My faith in Jesus and love for the Jews have been much strengthened by it. - Thomas Abney, Ozark, Mo.
You observe that "Wal-Mart may soon face an entirely new challenge: how to keep the size and bureaucracy of the company from shifting its focus away from service to customers" ("Chain smokes," March 2). It's too late. I have watched sadly as my local store has slid downward in the years since Mr. Walton died. Once a faithful Wal-Mart shopper and small-time stockholder, I now avoid entering the store whenever possible. - Katie Walker, Washington, Mo.
I have used the NIV Bible for the past 20 years and have always recommended this translation to those who couldn't understand the KJV. However, since following the story of the TNIV, I will no longer recommend any version of the NIV ("Trust me," Feb. 23). I question the motives of the publishers of such a translation. If they deny any feminist agenda, why do they feel the need for such a change? - Kathy McGrew, Silverhill, Ala.
Second and four
Mr. Belz grinds out some yardage in "No competition" (Feb. 9). But I believe that something should also be done about the bloated bureaucracy-which sucks up education tax dollars-on the local level where most of the money is spent. The education monopolizers should trim the overhead and give the money to the folks on the frontline-the teachers. - Chuck Hannon, Lebanon, N.J.
The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 reaffirmed the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (March 2, p. 16). - The Editors
Thank you for your thorough article regarding the situation in North Korea ("Evil only begins to describe it," March 9). I am appalled and horrified by the fact that a government in this era of human rights can get away with the systematic starvation of its own people. I am terribly concerned for those children. Is there not a way for American citizens to put pressure on the North Korean government to permit foreign adoptions? Our poorest citizens are in better shape than those emaciated little ones. I am sure there are many, many families here-childless or not-who would love to offer hope and life to these precious children. The entire situation over there is overwhelming, indeed, but to see the children starving is more than I can take. - Becky Sparks, Raleigh, N.C.
Praise the Lord for people not afraid to tell it like it is, like Dr. Vollertsen. - Chalmers McDaniel, Newtown, Pa.
Thank you very much for the article concerning North Korea. It was obviously not a joy to read the article, but it opened my eyes to what is happening there. I'm praying for North Korea now, and looking for other ways to help. - Will Weatherford IV, 11, Richmond, Ky.
A major South Korean newspaper recently reported, "N. Korea is showing signs of improvement in human rights after relentless criticism from Western nations." As the editor of a journal that tracks human rights in North Korea, I believe that through efforts like WORLD's and President Bush's-shedding light on North Korea so that what could only be done under the cover of darkness will be swallowed up by the truth-millions of North Koreans will someday breathe free, and sooner rather than later. - Edward Kim, New York, N.Y.
Right at first sight
Unfortunately, Andree Seu was right at first glance; the case of the Seattle high-school judo champion suing U.S. Judo over having to bow before her matches is just another frivolous lawsuit ("To bow or not," March 9). As president of Maryland Judo, Inc., I believe that bowing onto the mat in judo has no more to do with Shinto than retail stores have to do with Christianity. The plaintiffs have forced U.S. Judo to waste thousands of dollars that could have been used for the athletes. - D. Eric Spears, Chevy Chase, Md.
The NRB passed on a great leader for its organization when it accepted Wayne Pederson's resignation ("Silence isn't golden," March 9). I watched him turn a small local Christian radio station into one of the top radio stations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and was excited to see him bring his talents and gifts to the national scene. Instead, this pro-life, politically conservative Christian man gets ousted. - Katherine Sparks, Anoka, Minn.
Regarding "Terrifying axis" (March 9): Joel Belz said what needed to be said. - Kathryn McKee, Knoxville, Tenn.