Marvin Olasky's "Darkness, destruction ... and decency" shows an appalling readiness to condemn as inhumane a century of honorable American fighting men. William T. Sherman's shelling of Atlanta, a fortified and defended city, was fully within the laws of war. If civilians came under bombardment in the city, the fault lies with Confederate general John B. Hood, whose duty it was, under the laws of war, either to evacuate them or to declare Atlanta an open city and withdraw his forces. Sherman did not make prisoners of female factory workers who had been laboring to equip those trying to kill United States troops, but he did destroy their factory and send them out of the war zone where they would have had no livelihood after the termination of their treasonous activities. Did Sherman and his men sometimes conceive of their activity as punishment of the South? Of course. If trying to destroy the American experiment in self-government in a destructive war that takes more than half a million lives, all for the sake of perpetuating slavery, does not merit punishment, what does? The Union armies were fulfilling the biblical injunction that the civil government be a terror to evildoers. - Steven E. Woodworth, Benbrook, Texas
The April 19 issue is a treasure in capturing in words and pictures the nature of a compassionate war. A fallen world is deeply indebted to a president and a military establishment that used every available means to plan and execute a war driven by and demonstrating a compassionate heart. - Ken Williamson, Harrisonburg, Va.
You did not mention that saying "god" is OK in America because it could refer to Allah or any other god ("Speaking of God," March 29). However, saying "Jesus" will fire people up because it points people specifically toward Christianity. - Katrina Jay Gingerich, Unionville Center, Ohio
Filling in the gaps
I want to compliment you on "Coverage uncovered" (March 8). I am rather upset at the seemingly poor knowledge of many of our U.S. newspapers and magazines as to what Islam teaches. It is not a peaceful religion; all one has to do is study a bit of world history to find that out. - Wayne C. McManigal, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Minds made up
In response to Marvin Olasky's Feb. 8 invitation in "Make up your mind," my wife and I took vows "till death do us part" in 1968. Benefits of long-term commitment? Staying together in spite of struggles and trials has built strength and given continuity to us as a family. Secondly, our children do not have a messed-up home life to overcome in order to understand God's picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. All three, each in their own way during their public high-school years, have acknowledged that in spite of our weaknesses and imperfections as parents, they were and are grateful for our home life. - Edd Nichols, Sterling, Va.
War waged justly
In prose and selected photos, your April 19 issue depicted how to fight a just war: low collateral damage through the use of costly smart bombs; food and water carried over oceans and across thirsty deserts to be distributed like manna to a hungry people; enemy dead covered with blankets and their wounded given medical care; a populace delivered from a cruel despotic ruler after two decades of fear; soldiers coming as friends and being greeted with handshakes and hugs; and little children being picked up and held. May the true God of Abraham bring enlightenment to the Islamic nations and others who will not see justice being accomplished. - Gaius Berg, Lynnwood,Wash.
The April 19 issue is definitely a keeper. Who could not be touched by the photo showing children welcoming British soldiers in Um Qasr? The smallest child wore a T-shirt that said, in English, "Reborn." What a metaphor. May it soon be true for all of Iraq in the realm of the Spirit as well. - Michele Bartlett, Morrison, Colo.
The last three issues of WORLD, April 5, 12, and 19, were absolutely superb. You addressed the difficult and controversial Operation Iraqi Freedom in a balanced but thorough manner that left no major topic untouched. - Ted Bishop, Berryville, Va.
The April 19 WORLD was a great issue. The war in photos enabled me to enter into the conflict and experience the paradox of, as your headlines described, "Darkness, destruction ... and decency" and "Of might and mercy." I especially appreciated the captions that gave precise information about the photographs and the soldiers in them. - George Louis Hickman, Philadelphia, Pa.
Guerrilla war definitely was a concern of William Tecumseh Sherman's, but to go against right to get power is certainly wrong. If, during his 1863 invasion of Pennsylvania, General Lee had burned and shot, the war-weary North may well have quit. But Lee was a gentleman and did not wage war on helpless people. - Travis Vick, Lyles, Tenn.
It takes only a few hours to absorb WORLD and they are the best hours of my week. After reading all sorts of periodicals, newspapers, other magazines, books, and other media including television and radio, it takes the unusual person to put it all into a perspective that rings with truth and clarity. Gene Edward Veith has done that with "In the eye of the beholder" (April 19). - Ray Niland, Montgomery, Ala.
Pain and gain
Mr. Olasky describes the timelessness of God in an extremely memorable fashion ("Always on God's mind," March 29). He taught me something by distinguishing gnosis (intellectual knowledge) from epignosis (intimate personal understanding drawn from experience). I agree that God always has epignosis of the cross, and I think He is so intimately with all of us in His love and grace that He has epignosis of all of us as well. I will remember and refer to this simple column for quite some time to come. - Rod Groom, Cocoa, Fla.
I have long enjoyed WORLD but disagree with Mr. Olasky's comments regarding Christ's suffering on the cross, that "time for God does not heal all wounds" and "the pain never heals." The picture I understand from Scripture is that Christ sits on His throne in glory, having finished His work once and for all time. This leads me to contend that there is no lamentation or grieving over the cross and that the pain of the cross is long gone. - Tony Gazo, Beltsville, Md.
I am a minister and home-missionary among Arabs in the Detroit area. I appreciate your coverage of Islam, especially the recent articles addressing the media's handling of various religions ("Coverage uncovered") and your article about CAIR ("It's not about hate, it's about debate," March 22). Unfortunately, the straightforward way of preaching the gospel by men like Samuel Zwemer, the "Apostle to Islam," was branded-by Muslims, liberal Christians, and even fellow evangelical missionaries to Muslims-as wrong and a failure. There exists in ministry to Muslims, in the name of contextualization, all kinds of compromise in regard to the presentation of the gospel. Some go so far as to call themselves "Muslims." - Adam S., Michigan
Thanks for blocking immodest photos. It's refreshing for a single young man like myself to be able to flip through articles and ads without the worry of temptation or the need to rip out a page. With the occasional exception of some CD covers, WORLD has shown great taste and displayed what honorable behavior means. - Daniel Devine, Crown Point, Ind.
After almost 28 years of marriage, I can say with confidence that the unconditional love evident in our marriage, and any other marriage committed to trusting and obeying Christ, should help any thoughtful and duly careful young people to make up their minds to "wed in due time." What could be better than being loved by the person of the opposite sex who is closest to you in all the world, without any conditions or "strings" attached? - Tom Border, Miamisburg, Ohio
All of the above
Thank you so much for your wonderfully done magazine. It helps me keep up with what's going on in the world and, more importantly to me, helps me to put it in perspective. Your magazine is engaging, informative, thought-provoking, and on occasion, very funny. - Keith Beerbower, Holland, Ohio
In our May 11 articles on Calvin college, we misspelled the names of William Spoelhof and John Hamersma.