Our choices are not limited to either dominating the culture or insisting on a purely secular public square. A worldview pluralism that allows many religious voices to participate in the culture is certainly better than a secular public square in which the Christian message is treated as a private fairy tale. The key is to distinguish worldview pluralism from religious relativism; we can encourage the hearing of different religious voices without accepting all of them as equally true. - Greg Voth, Rocky Hill, Conn.
In the last 30 years, Christians have largely been ineffective at bringing about a moral government and culture via political means. Our efforts failed because we have shortchanged the Great Commission, seeing the future in policy rather than in making and living as disciples of Jesus. As A.W. Tozer wrote, "Because we are the handiwork of God, it follows that all our problems and their solutions are theological." - Dan Edelen, Mt. Orab, Ohio
Back to business
Excellent article about the latest developments in the ECUSA ("Insufficient funds," Oct. 4), but you did not mention the creation of the Anglican Mission in America, and the ordination of six bishops under the aegis of the archbishops of South East Asia and Rwanda. At great cost (loss of pensions and church property), over 50 priests and bishops in the AMiA are establishing new congregations, ordaining priests and deacons, and getting on with the business of the gospel. - Hilda M. Anger, Valparaiso, Fla.
Clear and windy
Thank you for your eye-catching and informative graphics regarding Hurricane Isabel in the Sept. 27 ("Isabel's slow march") and Oct. 4 ("The waiting is the hardest part") issues. My favorite graphic used semicircles to rate the winds. It gave a clear picture of what the terminology that I hear on the news means. I've saved that whole page for future reference. - Nancy Young, Phoenix, Ariz.
I often receive issues late but I have never said anything to WORLD because, as a periodical librarian at a Christian college library, I know that it does not just happen to WORLD, but to Time and The Wall Street Journal, too. There are many missed issues and there is also the problem of periodicals damaged in transit. The USPS has a delivery problem. Don't blame WORLD. - Jean Shankle, Pensacola, Fla.
Misquotes, whether intentional or the result of sloppy journalism, color the news we read. "New York state of mind" (Sept. 13) illustrates the importance of accountability in journalism. My thanks to Lieutenant Commander Beidler are two-fold: for his service to our country, and for calling The New York Times to account. His example challenges us to demand accuracy from the news media. - Linda Truman, Louisburg, Kan.
It was distressing to hear of the reputation that Christians have at present. It makes me aware of how everything I do or say can be taken the wrong way by someone who doesn't know or understand me. - Rebecca L. Sabourin, Vergennes, Vt.
I can't get enough of WORLD. Having worked in journalism in the liberal bastion of the San Francisco Bay Area, it's been refreshing to come up for air and breathe in prose that's so pure. Thank you Gene Edward Veith and Andree Seu, who wax so eloquently in matters of culture and philosophy. And to Joel Belz and Marvin Olasky, your insightful and balanced analysis, which is always rooted in the Word, challenges my mind and lifts my spirit. Each issue ends up in the hands of unbelievers (in Marin County, no less) who enter our family business. What a privilege to be able to offer an "unsuspecting" public a glimpse of truth and hope. - Marla Freeman Swoffer, Novato, Calif.
I was glad to hear you are working on a more prompt delivery of WORLD, but because I live in Little Rock I'm not too optimistic ("Please keep us posted," Sept. 20). The post office here seldom seems to be in much of a hurry. - James T. Davis, Little Rock, Ark.
Holly Marie Patterson, who died after taking RU-486, obtained the drug from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Hayward, Calif. ("Legal, but not safe," Oct. 4, p. 37). Antoine Yates kept a 425-lb. tiger in his apartment (Quick Takes, Oct. 18, p. 6).
Rain of gods
I must disagree with Mr. Veith that a "naked public square" is the preferable alternative to a polytheistic civil religion ("Gods and country," Oct. 4). We should try to teach and evangelize, and we cannot do that if our religion is kept in the closet. Let us demand that our governments at all levels respect reasonable freedom of speech and allow the display of all religious symbols. God is on our side; as long as we remain on His side, the symbols and speech of His words will show forth His righteousness. Fear not to stand for God. - Frank W. Russell, Nalcrest, Fla.
The greatest threat to Christianity today is not the interfaith movement but the so-called "non-faith" of secular humanism that dominates our schools and courts. Secular humanism is a religion, for it addresses origins and the future and makes a determination of how we should live presently. Christianity, because it is the truth, will defeat any religious viewpoint in a free marketplace of ideas, but humanism has avoided the challenge under the guise of secularism. - James C. Markey, Fort Wayne, Ind.
The columns by Mr. Veith, Joel Belz ("Toodling while Rome burns?"), and Andree Seu ("Lame evangelism") in the Oct. 4 issue paint a picture of evangelicalism in retreat. Evangelicals have yet to recognize what the loss of status for Christian truth means for the future. Perhaps it is time everyone read Foxe's Book of Martyrs. - E. James Schilling, Colorado Springs, Colo.
As a lawyer, I was not surprised by any of the Manhattan Institute's conclusions in Trial Lawyers, Inc. ("Big business by any other name: the lawsuit industry," Oct. 4). The tort system and the humans who run it are imperfect, and short-term profit motives or a claimant's hysteria are not always justifiable. Nevertheless, lawyers often speak for litigants, whether those suing or those being sued, who cannot speak for themselves. - Rod Heggy, Oklahoma City, Okla.
We have seen Secondhand Lions twice with five of my children and they all wondered, "What's with the WORLD review" ("Truth & Lions," Oct. 4)? The reviewer missed the magic and the symbolism and misunderstood Hub's speech to the kid. The message was not "dubious," it was that what may seem not to be true in our world is nevertheless the truth-that honor and virtue are the most important things to believe in and live out. - Meredith E. Flautt Jr., Franklin, Tenn.
My wife and I are missionaries in Central Africa. WORLD is our primary (and favorite) source of news regarding international events and American culture. We receive mail only once every few weeks. Sometimes two or three issues arrive together. On those days we feel doubly or triply blessed. - Travis Myers, Ndu, Republic of Cameroon
We recognize that Mr. Olasky is trying to present a balanced approach to the Ten Commandments monument debacle ("As others see us," Sept. 20), but we feel that our country has been hijacked by atheists while we hang around and discuss how not to offend them. - Todd & Deborah VanDyk, Hudsonville, Mich.
I heartily agree that we must "show that Christianity is a religion of compassion," but that does not mean the millions of nonbelievers will agree with us. Whether the issue is corporate corruption, political maneuvering, educational correction, or the "right" to kill babies, human nature is not willing to surrender autonomy and resents God's intrusions. - William R. French, Anderson, S.C.
As a Christian teacher in a public high school, I work 45-60 hours per week. I grade papers during so-called vacations. The week your article ("Comparing apples to apples," Sept. 13) arrived, one student told me she was pregnant, another had been kicked out of his home, while another wrote about being molested as a child. The weeks since then have revealed more heartaches. Did I mention I'm married to a minister and have three children? The last thing I need is to be told I have too much money and vacation time. - Deb Penwell, Jupiter, Fla.