Gene Edward Veith says hearing bad language is not sinful ("Rating the ratings," Jan. 11). It is one thing to have it put upon us Christians as we move in this present evil world, but it is another to deliberately choose it via R-rated movies. Also, it is ridiculous to say that Christians will not be taken seriously if they do not watch R-rated movies. It is likely the opposite. The Lord made an impact not by conforming but by confronting. - Robert C. Jennings, Sedalia, Mo.
As much as I respect your stance on most issues, I have to disagree with your Bestsellers assessments of the bands Creed and, in the Jan. 25 issue, Linkin Park. Although occasionally cynical, Linkin Park recognizes man's need for more than himself throughout Hybrid Theory. Neither band should be written off because of its particular style of music or because it has not yet found the redemption it seeks. At least they are seeking, which is more than many bands can say. - Amy Opelt, De Pere, Wis.
Andrew Coffin's review of Rabbit-Proof Fence ("Hot on their trail") fit perfectly into your marvelous Jan. 18 pro-life issue. Mystifying, at first, was why this splendid and true film of Aborigine women triumphing over kidnapping, oppression, and ethnic cleansing earned so little applause from feminist groups. Fence showed far too clearly the outcome of Margaret Sanger's selective breeding policies for a master race. Neither Hitler nor Australia were her only followers. Today, cleverly renamed, Planned Parenthood thrives on death and our tax dollars. Sterilizations and abortions are wisely done out of sight. So who would want a film that might raise questions about "human weeds," "mongrel races," and "human waste"? - Lorraine Murphy, North Bergen, N.J.
The right Psalm
Joel Rosenberg's Jan. 18 Flash Traffic review of David Frum's book, The Right Man, has Mr. Frum describing Mr. Bush's favorite Psalm (27) as "one of the Bible's most searing statements of loneliness and remorse." On the contrary, Psalm 27 expresses confidence in God to deliver us from our enemies: "Teach me Your way, O Lord, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors." If this is Mr. Bush's favorite Psalm, then I am even more convinced he is the right man for the job. - Ellen Dyke, Ogden, Ill.
With each pessimistic, anti-American word spoken recently by anti-war protesters, Democrat partisans, and members of the Hollywood elite, the sky darkened. What relief to see a clearing as President Bush addressed our nation ("State of the Union," Jan. 25). Viewers heard not a showman, a follower, or a poll-driven politician but a steady, principled, and compassionate American. Mr. Bush reminded us that Americans are a free people, and that "the liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity." - Shelley Aamodt, Menomonie, Wis.
With his critique of pop culture ("Pop-culture recession," Jan. 25), Gene Edward Veith also provided a necessary criticism of that area where the church is the most guilty of adopting the ways of the pop-culture gods: in worship. The techno-heavy and sustenance-starved experience that passes for worship these days is founded on the same principles of mass-market, lowest-common-denominator formulas that Mr. Veith identifies elsewhere. The result will be the same: When nothing more is demanded of the consumers than their passive presence, boredom sets in. The church must return to worship that carries the timeless Christian message and conveys the Christian culture of sacrificial love in contrast, and not in conformity, to the popular culture. - Robert J. Gebel, Iowa City, Iowa
In arguing that "plugging the cultural leaks simply isn't working; it's time for a new plan," Andree Seu misses the point ("Beyond the 10-finger strategy," Jan. 25). Sure, it would be a wonderful world if everyone repented and turned to Christ; obviously the 10-finger solution would no longer be necessary. But does that mean that we should no longer put our fingers in the dam of the world's problems, no longer turn our attention and compassion to those hurting and in need, no longer stand boldly for the truth of Scripture? The problem isn't that there are too many problems, the problem is that there aren't enough Christians doing the work. - Daniel E. Panetti, Dallas, Texas
Evil here at home
We call Iraq the "axis of evil." I don't dispute that but, at 42 million babies (and counting) dismembered and sucked or pulled out of the womb and then buried in mass graves or garbage cans, we've got, as Jesus said, a board in our own eye. May God forgive our nation. Please keep instructing us about the abortion industry. Don't back off or relent, become "nice" or sanitized, and never compromise the truth. - Rebecca Lillyman, Wheaton, Ill.
Regarding "Shake up or shake down?" (Jan. 11): I hope Mr. Cunningham considers the children. How do you explain to a 5-year-old why a doctor would shove a scissors into the scalp of a baby or why a mother would want to kill her own baby boy or girl? For children to have "large, grisly images of abortion" shoved in their path on the way to church is, in my view, unacceptable. - Ann Appel, Ferndale, Wash.
Whoever writes the headlines for the Top News stories should get a raise. I have thoroughly enjoyed the most recent selections, such as "How do you solve a problem like Korea?" (Jan. 18) and "We don't talk anymore" (Jan. 25). Thank you for inserting a little levity into the serious business of reporting the news. - Michelle Weslager, Elkton, Md.
Regarding Joel Belz's column on "sunsetting" government programs ("Into the sunset," Jan. 25), Will Rogers said it very well, probably more than 60 years ago: "All government programs have three things in common-a beginning, a middle, and no end." - Richard Engelmann, Cincinnati, Ohio
Tea and tears
I am the mother of three young girls, and "An 'author's tea'" (Jan. 18) brought me to tears. How easy it is for us to become so absorbed in our own families and overlook the needs around us. Thank you for a much-needed reminder. - Julie Reynolds, Beaverton, Ore.
I was heartsick at the information regarding institutional and individual conscience rights being systematically attacked and denied among health-care workers ("Compulsory 'choice,'" Jan. 18). I have come to believe that at the top of organizations that promote abortion resides the one who came to the world to end life for all mankind. His box and title may not appear above that of the presidents or CEOs of these groups, but it most certainly is there. - Tom Criswell, Grants Pass, Ore.
Wealth of sinners
A dual classification of Christian practice includes Category A ("never permissible"-e.g., pornography) and Category B ("permissible"). Category B could be further divided into three sub-classifications: (1) "permissible in moderation" (e.g., wine); (2) "always permissible unless there are extenuating circumstances" (e.g., Milky Way candy bars); and (3) "always permissible without qualification" (e.g., praying or preaching the gospel). John Piper places the lottery in Category A ("Wages from sin," Jan. 11). But the Bible only condemns the excesses that might devolve from gambling, so moderate playing of the lottery belongs to Category B1. Should I find a brother given to excess, I will in a spirit of humility warn him. Concerning lottery winnings, Jesus received an expensive gift that was bought by a woman of ill repute (Luke 7:36-39) without harming the poor. "The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous" (Proverbs 13:22b) reaches the epitome of fulfillment in the giving of lottery winnings to the church. - John Cobin, Greenville, S.C.
I just finished "Wages from sin" and I couldn't agree with you more. We should include in this discussion lottery credits offered to citizens of the state. In Wisconsin, for instance, some of the gaming proceeds are offered to residents to offset their property taxes (which rank among the highest in the nation). Should we as Christians accept these monies, which are not automatically credited to our tax, but we must register for? I say no. Let us instead consider the lives which have been destroyed by those dollars. - Kelley Jo Hayes, Wheeler, Wis.
In a partial-birth abortion, the abortionist delivers the baby's body first, punctures the skull while still in the birth canal, and then delivers the head (Feb. 1, p. 22). The Summer Institute of Linguistics worked with government approval in Ecuador until it finished its programs and left voluntarily in 1992 (Nov. 9, p. 56). - the Editors