Thank you for the outstanding article by Mindy Belz on the death of John Garang, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement ("War & peace," Aug. 13). Sudan is hard to understand for many of us here in North America. The article rose above a simplistic explanation of the tension between a military resistance leader and his Christianity-influenced values, and it provided a rare, insightful view from the innermost part of a very volatile situation.
-Steve Kemp; Ames, Iowa
I am a fan of Ann Coulter because she takes a no-nonsense stand for righteousness and against the moral depravity promoted by American and European liberals ("South Park vs. Ann Coulter," Aug. 13). I hope that she does not soften her rhetoric one bit.
-James R. Murphy; Redlands, Calif.
A certain amount of conservative stridency is needed to break through the pathetic mindlessness that dominates our media and institutions. In this world of three-second sound bites, the Apostle Paul, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry would not have time to deliver a long discourse that could be digested and debated in a nice way. I suspect their delivery would be more like Ms. Coulter's.
-William Sappington; Homosassa, Fla.
Jesus spoke strongly to the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites and whited sepulchers, and Paul wrote very sarcastically to the Corinthians and the Galatians. Neither had any concern about being thought of as "nice" by those they spoke to so harshly.
-David L. Hull; Lantana, Fla.
I enjoy Ms. Coulter's column, but to compare her sometimes vicious hyperbole to Jesus' righteous verbal attack on the Pharisees is stretching it, to say the least. She is simply witty and over the top. She shares my political views, but she is far from the example a Christian is called to give.
-Ginger Edwards; Avon Lake, Ohio
Hooray for Mrs. Measley! We, too, love Agatha Christie's mysteries, particularly Miss Marple's strong sense of good and evil, so we thank Mrs. Measley for some grand sleuthing ("No mystery," Aug. 13). Mrs. Christie would be proud.
-Michael & Patti Frisk; Marysville, Wash.
Thank you for exposing the desecration of the works of Agatha Christie. The great author's grandson is wrong when he contends that we must "be open-minded about interpreting stories in modern ways." The stories are just fine the way they are.
-David Carkhuff; North Conway, N.H.
About the fans
3» You wrapped up your commentary on Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers with a series of questions about the league, the sport, and the commissioner ("Off-speed punishment," Aug. 13) but didn't mention the fans. What kind of culture generates millions of fans who don't care how their heroes live, play, train, or behave? The outrageous behavior and salaries will stop only when people demonstrate that they've had enough by boycotting games, television coverage, and licensed products.
-Marlys Stapelbroek; North Tustin, Calif.
As a Catholic, I agree with Mr. Belz that Catholics and Protestants could learn from each other ("Perfecting a public lexicon," Aug. 13). To focus only on the Bible or only on natural law to the exclusion of the other deprives us of the fullness of truth. I am thrilled by how evangelical Protestants and Catholics have common ground on so many issues of public policy and even in the way we approach our faith. I hope and pray that John Roberts is confirmed, but will be happy if an evangelical Protestant fills the vacancy as well.
-Tom Kavanaugh; Tinley Park, Ill.
I recently gave a report on embryonic vs. adult stem cells in one of my biotechnology classes. After realizing the staggering evidence against the benefits of embryonic stem cells, I was saddened to read about Sen. Bill Frist flipping his stance on this issue ("Frist offense," Aug. 13). When will we stop demanding the lives of innocent children to accomplish something that adult stem cells are doing far better in more than 70 different diseases?
-Amanda Keller; Richland Center, Wis.
More, more, more
As a mortgage broker in Southern California, I have witnessed the transition from thrift to consumption. I have seen property values go through the roof, interest rates drop through the floor, and yet many homeowners are stretched so thin financially it has caused near-suicidal stress levels. Timothy Lamer hit the primary reason dead-on: contentment ("Striving after wind," Aug. 13). Today's consumer has none. Underlying factors include ease of access to credit (if you're breathing you're qualified!), advertising, envy, and our fallen, self-indulgent nature-we always want more.
-Dave Lowe; Dana Point, Calif.
I have enjoyed listening to U2 for nearly two decades ("Salty dogma," Aug. 6). So many of U2's lyrics are sprinkled with redemptive themes, but I always had the sense that Bono esteems Jesus Christ just as much as he esteems Martin Luther King Jr. I recently attended U2's concert in Chicago where Bono chanted, over and over again on stage, "Jesus, Muhammad, Jew, it's true." If Bono is a Christian, I remain perplexed.
-Brent Batiste; Dekalb, Ill.
As a doctor with 17 years of experience in Africa, I say Marvin Olasky's series on service in Africa ("Go east, young man," Aug. 6) and his May 21 comments on philanthropic humility ("The pH factor") are so right-on. One of the hardest questions I continue to face is how to be a good steward. Feel-good generosity produces superficial friendships and destroys potential life-changing relationships.
-Barbara Oolman; Chogoria, Kenya
As a student of Africa's history and religions, as well as a former resident servant of the gospel on that great continent, I commend Mr. Olasky for "Livingstone's prayer" (Aug. 6). The primary problem of the church in Africa and the church in America is that they lack a widespread application of a biblical worldview.
-Gary R. Corwin; Charlotte, N.C.
Like Mr. Belz, my dad and I went to Washington, D.C., in July ("Roots do matter," Aug. 6). We went to lots of places, including the National Archives, my favorite. I think that the Declaration of Independence is the thing that attracts people the most (at least, it attracted me!) because it made our country free.
-Caroline Gray, 8; Sharpsburg, Ga.
The space shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on Feb. 1, 2003 ("Dawn of discovery," Aug. 13, p. 33).