Dispatches > The Buzz

Mailbag

Issue: "Kerry picks Edwards as VP," July 17, 2004

Hogwash I am president of an organization that teaches Bible to public-school children during school hours in the state capitol area, so your story about the ACLU's attempt to remove a cross from the Los Angeles city seal caught my eye ("Sects and the city," June 12). The ACLU's logic is hogwash. We encounter the "separation of church and state" argument constantly, so I carry a pocket edition of the Constitution to show principals that it is Congress that can't establish religion. California law allows the teaching of religion off campus during school, so we do. -Maury Walker; Fair Oaks, Calif. If the ACLU were to remove all traces of Christianity from place names, their work would be far from over. What will they do about the calendar? We're in the year 2004 because Jesus was born (approximately) 2004 years ago. Switching to the Jewish or Islamic calendar won't help, because these dates are also based on religious landmarks. Perhaps we could reckon from the widely assumed creation of the universe, 14 billion years ago-but I see serious complications with that idea. The week is also a biblically defined unit of time, and if changed the upheaval would be overwhelming. And how about the names of the days of the week? Tuesday through Friday come from Norse mythology, and Saturday comes from Roman mythology. Maybe the ACLU should stop before it winds up way over its head-but it may be too late. -Bill Bader; Eden Prairie, Minn. That was a great column about Los Angeles excising the tiny cross on its seal while retaining its name about angels, but the irony is even more pronounced. According to the Los Angeles Almanac, the city's original official name is "El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles," or "The Town of the Queen of Angels." The city was named after Mary. -James D. Berkley; Bellevue, Wash. I appreciated Mr. Veith's column on the ACLU's folly, but I'm not saddened by it. The cross always has been "foolishness to those who are perishing." The state hasn't been given the message of the cross to proclaim, and when it tries, it misses the point-the cross is scandalous. I'd rather the cross be taken out so that the church has an opportunity to proclaim "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." That's what we're here for. -Peter D. Kelm; Brookfield, Wis. I am surprised that the blatantly anti-Christian sentiment in this case has not generated more outrage. The small cross is to be removed while the much larger, centrally located image of the ancient Roman goddess Pomona-goddess of the harvest-is to remain. I imagine even the ACLU would be able to see the irony here, except that they are so openly anti-Christian. -David Oberpriller; Mesa, Ariz. With our money I so appreciated "Keep it simple" (June 12) by Marvin Olasky. I agree that many churches tend to spend their money on "things" rather than people. Most of us have the same spending problems in our personal lives. Some say they can't afford a Christian education or homeschooling but will buy their children name-brand clothing and expensive technology. Others can't afford to adopt a child but will spend over $20,000 on a new SUV. -Sharon Murphy; Bethany, Mo. In a time of warehouse churches and bannered walls, a church with a strong emphasis on aesthetics and creativity is a breath of fresh air. I see a direct correlation between the church's lack of emphasis on aesthetics and the rise of the Christian subculture that accepts cheap knock-offs and inferior quality. We have a standard for beauty, so we must practice beauty in our local congregations. Should we then write off mercy ministries and missions? By no means. Aesthetics within local congregations is a way to influence surrounding culture. -Tom Miller; Gainesville, Fla. Our brothers and sisters in chains in many other countries, facing persecution daily, need our prayers and financial assistance to fulfill the Great Commission. Pastors, evangelists, and church planters in the poorest nations could do wonders with our money. -Bob Ahlers; Fredericksburg, Va. Just semantics It's hard to catch Mr. Land's revolutionary fervor for a semantic marriage amendment ("Moral minutemen," June 12). Would the Tea Tax have been acceptable if King George had changed its name? Would slaves be free if we had outlawed slavery but permitted involuntary servitude? Would babies be spared if we banned abortions but permitted termination of pregnancies? What we need is an Original Intent Amendment so judicial decisions would be based on the original intent of legislation and the Constitution itself. Any new legislation would then be passed by Congress-not judges. -Terry Chappell; Aptos, Calif. Two tales of a city It is the best of times and the worst of times for friends and foes of abortion in San Francisco. On one hand, a district court ruled that a ban on late-term abortions is unconstitutional ("Rare? Rarely," June 12). That same day, a different court began the Scott Peterson trial for the double murder of his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Connor. If Connor, who was eight months in the womb, is publicly accepted as a murder victim, why aren't late-term aborted babies considered murder victims? -Michael Tsakalos; Timonium, Md. Regarding Judge Phyllis Hamilton's refusal to ban late-term abortions, I think she and others like her should be sentenced to view actual late-term abortions-not videos, either-and then see if they still want to allow them. -Judith Simpson; Fayetteville, Ga. Back to the Bible In "'Sexy man of God'" (June 12), you mention the film mother learning to say, "Because I said so," when children asked, "Why?" Following a sermon recommendation from our pastor 18 years ago, I explained to our children that our authority as parents came from God. Thereafter, the answer to, "Why?" in our house was, "Because God said so." That immediately led to the next question, "Where does God say so?" These exchanges led to some intensive Bible study, sometimes resulting in me or my wife backing off when the children were able to show that Scripture supported them or a third position. I believe this taught our children to turn to Scripture, rather than second-guess fallible parents. -Fred Parker; Taylors, S.C. Expect less Regarding "Forgetting Saddam" and "Reshaping memories" (June 12), Psalm 1:1 comes to mind-"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly"-as well as the old journalistic maxim "consider the source." From the war in Iraq to gay marriage to partial-birth abortion, it's clear that the mainstream news media has reached an all-time low. But how can we expect more from "the counsel of the ungodly"? -Alyssa Hjembo; Virginia Beach, Va. Rare fare I read the review of The Day After Tomorrow ("Disaster of a movie," June 12) with interest. While you would have to be an idiot to miss the political "issue" that this movie revolves around, Andrew Coffin failed to mention that no premarital sex, nudity, or graphic violence were present. There was one kiss shared between two older teens, though nothing sexual happened on screen or off between the characters. How rare it is when Hollywood will produce an action-packed, suspense-filled 90 minutes of entertainment that does not cross the barrier of appropriate behavior! -Melissa Holman; San Antonio, Texas

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