One of the most annoying aspects of the Berger case is the hand-wringing over the political fallout. Does nobody care that Mr. Berger performed a criminal action ("Can't keep a secret," July 31)? He said it was an "honest mistake." Mistake, yes. Honest, no. I work for a defense contractor, and if I walked out of the building with classified documents in my socks or down my pants and got caught, at the very least I'd not be working in high-tech anymore. More likely, I'd become a ward of the state. Why don't the same rules apply to Washington insiders?
-John Shekleton; Nashua, N.H.
Each year I was in military intelligence, we were told what we could and could not do. Notes of things we saw in the vault had to stay in the vault. If enlisted people get this kind of instruction, the former national security advisor knows what is right and what is wrong; taking the materials was deliberate.
-Robert Staecker; Hinesville, Ga.
A high note
I applaud Gene Edward Veith's article about the Christian Performing Arts Fellowship ("God is interested in excellence," July 31). Though some Christian congregations may be oblivious to high musical culture as they embrace the pop culture, I pray that many others incorporate the wide range of musical styles and performance levels which have contributed to the music of the church through the ages and even today.
-Paul R. Otte; Hutchinson, Minn.
The article on Christian musicians was very good overall but, as a jazz major at UNC Asheville, I was frustrated that Mr. Veith seemed to equate embracing the music of "pop culture" to accepting a "shallow, content indifferent" approach to culture. A century of artistic accomplishment in popular music includes greats like Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and Steely Dan. Popular music styles are musically demanding and culturally vital.
-Andrew Smith; Asheville, N.C.
Two years ago Grace College ousted us from the large campus hall we had booked for our wedding because MasterWorks needed the building (the college helped us find another site). We attended some of the first concerts in Winona Lake and were impressed. My wife is still a little sore we lost our first choice for a wedding site, but we are happy to see MasterWorks gaining a national reputation.
-Stephen Schuler; Golinda, Texas
Having a ball
I saw the Ohio Village Muffins play vintage base ball last year and enjoyed it thoroughly ("Batsmen and hurlers," July 31). The rules included fines for behavior offensive to women, like spitting and swearing. During the game, the other girls in my group spotted the third baseman spitting and I was elected to point him out to the umpire. The umpire seemed astonished and immediately talked to the player, who came over and apologized. Though it was all in play, the chivalry and lack of commercialism were refreshing.
-Erin Fitzgerald; Mount Vernon, Ohio
Here they stand
I am one of those conservatives who lost the elections and power at the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod convention ("Missouri motioning," July 31). I have asked that my contributions to the church not leave the parish until I see how things turn out. In years past I left two other mainline denominations that are now apostate and dying. I have learned that it does not pay to wait around hoping and praying for the best. I was too tolerant and did not realize that the writers of the New Testament were wise about false teachers. Jude may have said it best.
-Wynn Norris; Socorro, N.M.
As a life-long member of the LCMS, I believe that this controversy is about man-made traditions and the Synod's ability to force them on growing churches. I am proud to see the LCMS continue to stand for solid, conservative biblical doctrine at a time when our nation needs such a message the most. However, I am saddened that some of our clergy would fight among themselves over trivial issues and spend precious donations on legal fees rather than on missions.
-Ken Lenz; Greensboro, N.C.
I was a deeply devoted member but with great sadness left the LCMS. Although the Synod convention asserted that the biblical account of creation is the denomination's position, it is nonetheless tolerant of rampant heterodoxy on that issue, especially in its universities, the Concordia University System. To garner numbers, the denomination is willing to conceal, compromise, and contradict biblical, Lutheran confessions. If one does not devoutly adhere to the Lutheran confessions of faith, why remain in a Lutheran church, while trying to divert its identity and historic character?
-Russ LaPeer; Ocala, Fla.
Don't take it
I was delighted to read Marvin Olasky's column on Christian defense in the face of Islamic aggression ("Not by bread alone," July 31). As Mr. Izeze said, "Islam is intrinsically violent," and to shy away from that truth is as foolish as the tendency of weak politicians in the past to make nice with our communist neighbors in the Soviet Union. For just as the USSR sought the demise of the free Western world, Islam seeks the destruction of everything Christian. The Bible does not call me to take that lying down.
-Rob Thomas; Lexington, Va.
As someone who has watched Pardon the Interruption since its debut, I was surprised to see Gene Edward Veith describe the hosts as "brash and funny, as well as knowledgeable, and they remind us of what the Greeks and the Romans knew, that argument is a satisfying spectator sport" ("For the sake of argument," July 31). Tony Kornheiser rarely makes real arguments anymore and relies on lame one-liners. He has more in common with a third-rate borscht-belt comedian than Socrates or Aristotle. I, Max is altogether more compelling and more informative than PTI.
-Craig Henry; Carlisle, Pa.
It is good to defend Mr. Bush in his stance on moral issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, but I bristle when you use exaggeration to defend his preemptive war. Comparing Thomas Jefferson's dispatching the Corps of Discovery to the war in Iraq ("Postcards from the past," July 24) is ridiculous.
-Steve Rostron; Boise, Idaho
Joel Belz argues that Christians "tend to get swept away with a sense that politics controls culture, but it's the other way around" ("Breaking the [election] cycle," July 31). The Christian community bounces between the ideas that government is irrelevant and government is everything. Our government leaders have some role to play in our nation's accountability. Therefore, both our culture and the political process need to be changed-not just the culture.
-Bradford Winship; Laurence Harbor, N.J.
Last year, my teacher made our class choose an article from a magazine or newspaper, write a summary, and present it to our class. I read your magazine cover to cover and Quick Takes is my favorite part, so I chose one of those. My class loved it.
-Kelly Chapman, 10; Albany, Ore.