"Collateral damage" (Sept. 21) by Mindy Belz should awaken the conscience of Christians everywhere. One would think that articles uncovering such cruel persecution of African Christians would tear at the hearts of Americans and prompt them to demand that our government take more than token interest in such situations. The parallel to the plight of Jews during Hitler's expansion of the Reich, and the inaction of the rest of the world to offer them refuge, is frightening. Perhaps politicians today would do more if they could see some political benefit in opening doors to the persecuted Sudanese. - Douglas Adee, Artesia, N.M.
Gene Edward Veith's assessment of the current TV fare on cable is accurate ("Cable's bill," Sept. 14), but I would like to comment on the concluding remark: "Watch for more taboos to be broken ... Or, better yet, don't watch." As a television writer on a very successful (but morally questionable) sitcom, I have noticed that TV executives don't respond to what isn't watched as much as they reluctantly take note of what is watched. If Christians want different kinds of shows on the air, we have to watch and support (that is, notify the networks and-more importantly-the advertisers) those shows, rather than just not watching the shows we don't like. - Dean Batali, La Crescenta, Calif.
Shame on California pastor Rick Warren, who by claiming an $80,000 housing allowance provoked a crisis threatening the tax exemption for pastors of more modest means ("Endangered exemption," Sept. 21). One can only wonder how much Rev. Warren has to spend on other necessities. Shame on the church for tolerating such wretched excess in its leadership. - Barbara Curtis, Purcellville, Va.
We shouldn't be at all surprised that "divide and conquer" diversity training tactics are imposed on spiritually vulnerable and impressionable freshmen ("Diversity or else," Sept. 14). Those on the left, in control of college administrations and ideology for decades, know that if they can win the hearts and souls of adolescent Americans, they can win the culture wars and control America for decades to come. - Bill Caldwell, Elizabeth City, N.C.
Many years ago I went to a U.S. Air Force "social actions" training session, where a black female tech sergeant helped us discuss and demolish a lot of stereotypes. By the time we went to lunch together we had somehow coalesced into small, integrated groups. The politically correct are interested in highlighting our differences, like blue eyes vs. brown eyes, and do nothing to get us to interact and learn to enjoy each others' company. What they are doing looks a lot like what we used to call race baiting. - Erik Barr, El Paso, Texas
Friends in deed?
Despite evidence to the contrary, the Bush administration continues to view Saudi Arabia as our "friend and ally" rather than financiers of international terrorism, bankrolling terrorist organizations, and putting up reward money for the families of suicide bombers ("Friends like these," Aug. 17). When are the politicians on Capitol Hill going to open their eyes and see how the Saudis are trying to buy influence in our politics? When are lawmakers going to take steps to free us from dependence upon Arab oil? - William Harper, Elburn, Ill.
As an avid baseball fan I remember well Hoyt Wilhelm and his mysterious knuckleball ("Making a ball 'dance,'" Sept. 21). He was also a fine Christian gentleman and a true credit to the game. I enjoyed your article and the clever way in which you blended the world of science with God's Word. - Don Thomson, N. Huntingdon, Pa.
While no one knows what a knuckleball will do, it most assuredly does not "loop" toward the plate; that might describe a twelve-to-six curve. The best verb we can come up with for the knuckler is shimmies. It dances, darts, dips, and dives, in no particular sequence. Nailing the well-thrown knuckleball with an apt descriptor is about as futile as tagging one with a bat. - Bob & Micah Yarbrough, Lake Villa, Ill.
That was then
In 1998 Sen. Daschle was all for enforcing UN Security Council sanctions. Now he isn't so sure (Flash Traffic, Sept. 21). What has changed since then? Saddam Hussein has had four extra years to murder innocents in his country (including family members) and four extra years to develop weapons of mass destruction (some of which he has already used on his people and others). Any rational person who thought there was sufficient reason to go to war then would certainly think there is more than enough now. Voters should remember this in November and not allow Sen. Daschle to play politics with our national defense. - Ronald Purvis, Spartanburg, S.C.
Remembering my teenage years, I see ominous similarities between Hitler and Saddam Hussein and attitudes toward them. Both are very clever at manipulating public opinion, both ruthless in acquiring power, both good at deceiving the world while building up weapons of mass destruction, both very bold and masters at bluffing, and both had an agenda for conquest they tried to keep secret. And, now as then, most of the world and even some of our own political leaders do not want to confront the threat. - Orie Vander Boon, Ada, Mich.
Thank you for addressing the epidemic social disease of catering to covenant-breaking spouses ("Live with the consequences," Sept. 21). The problem doesn't end with custody. Parents who committed treason against their families (and God) may be relegated to the sidelines for a season, but they are typically elevated to honored positions at the most significant events in their children's lives, such as graduations and weddings. The church abets this practice and disgraces the covenant keepers in the process. There are few sanctions left in the culture, the courts, or the church for the sinning parties in divorce. With society's unscriptural views of "fairness" and "best interest of the children" (and the church's focus on being "nice" to unrepentant offenders), wronged spouses and their children endure moral confusion, degradation, and worse. - Abby Tuomala, Montgomery, Ala.
Regarding "Live with the consequences," I would point out that family court systems are usually biased in favor of the mothers, so that they keep the children and are awarded large amounts of child support. Being married to a noncustodial parent, I truly believe that what is best for the children is to have both parents available. - Andrea Laack, Waukesha, Wis.
Thank you to Marilyn Anderson for creating Gateway School in Anchorage, Alaska ("Turned around," Sept. 21). In my own student-teaching experience in public schools, I became so overwhelmed and discouraged when I saw so many students with so many varying degrees of need that I chose not to enter the profession. The way things are now, all a teacher has time to do for her needy learners is give them a sympathetic pat on the back and a promotion they didn't earn. Specialty schools, like the one Mrs. Anderson has created for children with dyslexia, are just the thing, I think. Too bad more folks don't see the need to wrench the bloated and ineffectual public-school system out of government's hands and create instead a free-market voucher system. - Kathleen E. McPherson, Bend, Ore.
Your article in Quick Takes, "Utilitarian religion" (Sept. 21), is probably the best five-paragraph section I've read in WORLD. That the media (and most of America in general, I might add) equate religion with the pursuit of comfort is truly the state of affairs in our American culture. - Kimball Chase, San Dimas, Calif.
Why are people from organizations like the Ohio Citizens for Science and the National Center for Science Education so stuck on evolution ("Big bang in Ohio," Sept. 14)? It's too bad the worshippers at the altar of science and logic are so closed-minded. - Matthew Sohr, Goldsboro, N.C.
French troops extracted 191 American students and teachers from the International Christian Academy in Ivory Coast after a gun battle between government troops and rebels; American troops provided logistical support (Oct. 5, p. 9). New York City veteran firefighter James Hanlon helped produce the documentary 9/11 (Sept. 21, p. 7).