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Mailbag

Issue: "Memorial Day 2003," May 24, 2003

Your assertion that we are regarded as "suspects rather than saviors" because our charity hurts Middle Eastern pride is myopic. We need a serious discussion of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, U.S. support of Israel, and human-rights atrocities against Palestinians. There are also the Iraqi civilians killed or seriously wounded in the recent war, the scores of Iraqi soldiers crushed by the United States, plus the years of debilitating sanctions against Iraq. - Randy Yelverton, St. Louis, Mo.

Outing truth

During my husband's 23 years of military service he has seen the horrors of war and the horrors of the liberally biased media ("Aimless reach," "Truth delayed," April 26). Thank you, WORLD, for showing the rest of your readers what we have been painfully aware of for years: that our news industry, generally, is a self-serving, deceitful bunch willing to tell the truth only when it suits their agenda. - Melissa Holman, San Antonio, Texas

Joel Belz's assertion that "an eerie parallel exists between CNN's shameful performance and that of some Christian missionary organizations" is more than unfortunate; it is na•vely self-righteous and grossly overstated. In some such instances the desire to remain an ongoing presence and testimony of the gospel outweighs the indignation and sense of injustice, even feelings of tertiary culpability, that missionaries may feel. But their belief in the righteousness of the ultimate Judge gives them the moral courage to persevere and to continue ministering the gospel. There is no shame in that course of action. - Mark Young, Professor of World Missions and Intercultural Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary Dallas, Texas

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Regarding Joel Belz's parallel between missionaries and CNN, keep in mind that CNN's message is to America about what's going on in Iraq, while the message of Christian missionaries is to the people of the country about the good news of Jesus Christ. If your mission is to give a message that "the building is burning down-get out," you don't stop and complain about the wallpaper. - Ken Patterson, Sulphur Springs, Texas

It is more than a bit puzzling that Time magazine (whose parent company also owns CNN) wants to "out" Christian missionaries working incognito in the Muslim world. Is Time on some kind of "anti-evangelical jihad"? - Glen Moody, Kingsport, Tenn.

Avoiding Holes

I was eagerly anticipating the release of Holes but, as a Disney boycotter, I resigned myself to not seeing the movie. "Digging Holes" (April 26) made me think long and hard. Perhaps I need to support quality Disney films. However, I decided to continue my boycott. Disney needs to prove to me that it is dedicated to bringing quality family entertainment and not just to throwing in an occasional bone to those of us who feel that Walt Disney would be outraged at what his company has become. - Valerie Reed, Mason, Ohio

Fiery serpents

You mention the strange episode of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21 ("Compassionate war?" April 19). Some scholars believe that the fiery serpents were Dracunculus medinensis, a parasitic worm still called a "fiery serpent" in those parts. It deposits its eggs into the bloodstream and the worm develops in the veins of the host's arms or legs. The cure was to make an incision in the superficial vein, tie the worm to a stick, and pull it out over several days, wrapping it up on the stick. This only enhances Jesus' teaching: Following directions (belief on the Son of Man who was lifted up) leads to life, just as looking on the serpent on the stick and following directions led to life in the wilderness. - Milburn Calhoun, New Orleans, La.

Ignored victims

Marvin Olasky is right to condemn violence against abortionists ("Golden rule," April 5). I wish he had listed the "many other ways to reduce the number of abortions substantially." We Christians have ignored the plight of the unborn as much as the Germans turned their backs on the Jews during World War II. - Jim Irish, North Augusta, S.C.

Mast vs. staff

Isn't a flag flown on a ship flown at full- or half-mast, and a flag flown on land flown at full- or half-staff (April 5, "Sound of sacrifice")? I appreciate WORLD's coverage of what is going on and quit my newspaper after discovering you. - Cathy Quinn, Westminster, Calif.

Striving for holiness

I am greatly disappointed with your advice about the Christian's relationship to culture as regards movies and music ("Facing the music," April 12). As a 16-year-old striving for holiness, I already find sin-filled movies and music very tempting, but try to resist anything that would lead me into sin. God's Word never encourages indulgence in sin, no matter how culturally enlightening it may be. - Lucy Nevins, Sacramento, Calif.

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