Your article "End of the line for Amtrak" (June 22) assumes that the railway should at least break even, but because it needs a government subsidy it is "failing fast." The federal government provides airlines billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies (financing the FAA, weather services, and air-traffic controllers), yet we don't call that system a failure. I travel a lot and prefer rail travel because it is easy, comfortable, and safe. We should be increasing our commitment to passenger rail, not chipping away at it. - Arnold M. Studebaker, Kanab, Utah
Missed the mark
I must disagree with the negative spin put on Pinellas Park High School's yearbook, which dedicated six pages to pregnant students ("Glorified social ill," June 22). Abortion is so prevalent today partly because of the popular wisdom that an unplanned pregnancy means "my life is over." This yearbook seems to combat that view, and I would rather have a teen mother than a teen abortion any day. - Ryan Zurakowski, Goleta, Calif.
Teen mothers deserve to be honored in the high-school yearbook. They chose to have their children and not take the easy way out and abort them. These girls may have made a mistake, but they are doing their best to make up for it and I have great respect for them. - Tiffany Ellis, 16, Bloomfield, Ind.
I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Native American, but according to your article ("Golden State's warriors," June 15), apparently I'm also part of the political correctness movement because I believe that the use of Native American mascots at white schools is morally wrong. No matter how well-intentioned, students at these schools tend to put on warpaint, wear headdresses, sing war chants, do tomahawk chops, and use drums in ways that denigrate Native American culture, history, customs, and artifacts. - Scott Sochay, Roseville, Minn.
I read The New York Times front-page article, "Baptist Pastor Attacks Islam, Inciting Cries of Intolerance" (June 15, 2002), concerning the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, then read the WORLD version ("So conventional," June 22). There was a 180-degree difference. Don't give up the battle for truth. - J.D. Wetterling, Brevard, N.C.
Sometimes we don't hear enough about good things, so I applaud Marvin Olasky for his column on Tim Escobar, and I especially applaud Mr. Escobar, the Republican congressional candidate in California's 39th District ("Ideology, not bloodlines," June 22). We can identify with Mr. Escobar on many levels, and we found it refreshing that he is not backing away from what he believes in to gain political favor from one group or another. We need more people like him. - Richard Ward, Alice, Texas
Joel Belz's column on "Shooting the wounded" (June 15) was excellent. As a church lay leader and organizational scientist, I have seen too many church leaders commit adultery. When a church refuses to discipline the offenders, the consequences are often the same: The spouses and the children of the wrongdoers are strongly tempted to bitterness, depression, and rejection of the church and the Lord; youth become cynical and quietly leave; weaker Christians, who see the leaders as representations of Christ, fall away. When the church disciplines the wrongdoers and removes them from church offices, these consequences are mitigated and the offenders have a chance to repent, change, and heal. Typically, some church members criticize those giving discipline and talk about "shooting the wounded," but they leave and afterwards there is peace. - Yvonne Smith, Apple Valley, Calif.
There is no magazine I look forward to with such anticipation as I do with WORLD. Once again, the articles by Bob Jones and Gene Edward Veith in the June 15 issue had me glued-I couldn't read them fast enough ("Global shame," "Skewing rich"). The content, the spirit in which it is written, and the thoroughness of each article is so refreshing and informative. - Lenny Demers, North Wales, Pa.
Mr. Budziszewski's analysis of the Federal Marriage Amendment missed its threat to federalism ("Judicial restraints," June 8). State courts have always been the final authorities on their own laws. Federal courts may find state laws unconstitutional, but must bow to state courts on what those laws mean. The FMA, in contrast, would dictate a specific interpretation of state laws by federal and state courts, destroying the independence of the state judiciaries and striking another blow at the already weakened structure of federalism. - Karen Helland, Olalla, Wash.
More work, less money
I teach beginning algebra to ill-prepared 7th- and 8th-grade students in California's fourth-largest school district, and I found your depiction of the National Education Association as a bully in regard to charter schools one-sided ("School bully," June 22). The only thing I hate worse than lazy teachers hiding behind union tenure is how school boards oppress teachers. Charter schools are a mean-spirited attempt to get more work, for less money, from teachers. I admit that public schools are broken, but it's due to a lack of student accountability. I've enjoyed the conservative, Christian slant to your reporting, but don't slap us underpaid professionals in the face. - Russell C. Allen, Fresno, Calif.
Jurors: We object!
After being the last juror removed by peremptory challenge in a criminal case, I returned home to read Janie Cheaney's account of a nearly identical situation ("Reflections of a rejected juror," June 22). Same charge, similar defendants, incredibly similar questions from the prosecution and defense and, unfortunately, the same result. I totally agree: The jury system has been (dare I say?) perverted to serve not justice but political correctness. - Darrell Watson Jr., Goldendale, Wash.
Reflections of a rejected juror" only scratches the surface. In my first jury-duty experience, a trial for damages from a car accident, I was selected to sit on the initial jury. During the voir dire the plaintiff's attorney asked us, "Who here would consider himself or herself to be 'well read'?" After he explained (when I asked) that he considered "well-read" someone who reads books, newspapers, or magazines "once or twice a week," only three of us raised our hands. This attorney then managed to have all three of us booted from the jury. One of my "well-read" compatriots later observed to me that "they only want malleable idiots," and the other nodded, saying, "I'm embarrassed for the entire legal system." - Dan Edelen, Mount Orab, Ohio
WORLD recently suggested that Assemblies of God missionaries identify with the Palestinian political cause ("Rumors of war," June 15). The Assemblies of God seeks to avoid identification with international political factions because the church's first priority is to fulfill the Great Commission by presenting Christ to all nations, people groups, and cultures. We would expect missionaries serving in Palestinian areas to place Christian principles and the gospel above political issues. Moreover, the Assemblies of God has historically been pro-Israel because we believe Israel will play an important role in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. - Juleen Turnage
Director of Public Relations
General Council of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Mo.
The percentage of "active judges" appointed by liberal presidents (17/24) is 71 percent (July/August Books Special Issue, p. 16).
A main character in Jeff Shaara's historical novel, The Last Full Measure, is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (July/August Books Special Issue, p. 38).
The French saying columnist William Murchison quoted should be "Plus ca change ..." (July/August Books Special Issue, p. 52).
John 14:6 actually reads: "... no one comes to the Father except by Him [Christ]" (July/August Books Special Issue, p. 53).
John Sharp is the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of Texas (July/August Books Special Issue, p. 85).