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Mailbag

Issue: "As the West burns," Sept. 6, 2003

No surrender

I found myself shouting, "Yes! Yes!" as I read Marvin Olasky's "Pre-emptive surrender" (Aug. 9). It really chafes me how everyone feels such freedom to rip Christianity apart in our culture, yet Christians are so hesitant to even speak a critical word about any other religion. - Brad Bigney, Ft. Wright, Ky.

Your article does not mention the efforts of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, in the redistricting effort. While many sympathize with Mr. DeLay's claims that the Texas delegation to Congress isn't reflective of the voting trends in the state, there is hardly anything less Texan and less conservative than Washington running roughshod over state matters. - Edgar Bumpers, New York, N.Y.

Drifters

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Joel Belz makes a simplistic assumption in connecting the "right" with orthodoxy, faithfulness, and discipline and the "left" with heterodoxy, unfaithfulness, and permissiveness ("One-way traffic," Aug. 9). A few of the groups through history that were considered heterodox, unfaithful, drifting, or permissive include the early church, the Reformers, and leaders during both Great Awakenings. "Right" and "left" are not always synonymous with "godly" and "ungodly." - Craig Kaplowitz, Elgin, Ill.

A hearty "Amen!" to "One-way traffic." I would add that as people become more prosperous, they tend to forget God as their source for wealth, and this increases the tendency to drift. John Wesley warned that he did not believe true revival could continue long, for "religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world." - Jerry Newcombe, Pompano Beach, Fla.

What's marriage?

While marriage doesn't require a "piece of paper or a ceremony," as Gene Edward Veith says, it does require a commitment to live together ("Nuclear fission," Aug. 9). A single person who has not made this commitment is not married in God's eyes. And Paul did not say that having sex with a prostitute makes a man "one flesh" with her. Rather, he makes the opposite point in 1 Corinthians 6: Sex with a prostitute desecrates the "one flesh" principle because he is united with her in body, but not in spirit. - Don Sailer, Valley, Ala.

Buffoons

The five Texas legislators pictured and the other political cowards slinking away to New Mexico did not deserve the respectful report WORLD offered ("Stampede!" Aug. 9). They are buffoons and political cowards, interested only in promoting their own partisan politics. If Texas Democrats do not like the laws requiring redistricting, then they should elect enough Democrats to change them. Until then, live with it. This attempt to close down the necessary conduct of a government for entirely political motivations is a disgrace and an abuse of the public trust. - Alec Woodhull, Rockford, Tenn.

I am embarrassed for our country. We count on elected officials to represent us, win or lose. The situation reminds me of small children who run away when they want to avoid a punishment or taking a bath. - Robin Smith, Indianapolis, Ind.

Joel Belz is right about organizational drift. It is the age-old story about how the straight way (of truth) is narrow while the way leading to destruction is broad because there are so many lanes of error. - Tom Cox, Columbus, Ohio

It cannot be that God may consider a couple "one flesh," and therefore married, because they have had sex, for then Jesus would have said to the woman at the well, "You have not spoken well, for in My eyes, you are married to the man you now have." - Steve Rogier, Swansea, Ill.

Regarding Mr. Veith's "modest proposal," legislation to "marry" couples who meet certain criteria only improves the statistics, when what really is needed is repentance and life change through Christ. Oprah needs more change than any legal statutes can provide. - Lamar Martin, Leola, Pa.

In biblical days, if a single man had sexual intercourse with a single woman, he had to pay a bride-price and get her father's permission before they could be married (Exodus 22:16-17). Further, a man and woman who had pledged themselves to each other were considered married, even though they had not had sexual relations yet (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Sexual relations are for those who have verbally and publicly committed themselves to each other; that is, for those who are married. - Roger W. Schmurr, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The statement by Jose Cabezon is the most audacious I have ever heard. If Christ's miracles were "common accomplishments" requiring "no real degree of permanent spiritual maturity," then why doesn't Mr. Cabezon point out a Buddhist living today who can walk on water, feed 5,000 with a few fish and loaves, heal the blind and lame, instantly calm a stormy sea, and raise a man from the dead? - Bruce C. Mitchell, Louisville, Ky.

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