A fresh start
The people of New Orleans have been scattered ("Katrina: Week two," Sept. 17). Many people who have experienced mainly government dependence and social pathology have been transplanted into caring communities and are relying on the ministry of churches and faith-based organizations. Many are staying with families characterized by compassion, stability, a good work ethic, and faith. Is it part of God's grace in the midst of devastation to give these needy people a fresh start on life in every dimension?
-Karen O. LeBarr; Alpharetta, Ga.
What went wrong
Joel Belz nailed what went wrong in the aftermath of Katrina ("Unquenchable appetite," Sept. 17). Overconfidence in big government didn't cause the disaster, but it exacerbated it and is motivating the fury behind the finger pointing. Ordinary citizens, cops, firefighters, NGOs, and churches performed many heroic and generous deeds, but it seems we have lost the battle for the minds and hearts of Americans when the entire debate has gelled around the question, Did the government do enough?
-Scott Van Kirk; Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Kudos to Mr. Belz for identifying the world's frequent idolatry of government. Unfortunately, Christians often fall into the same trap by depending on government for sustenance, security, and solutions despite the warnings of Scripture and the lessons of history. In certain contexts, Christians can make a biblical case for using government as a tool, but we must be careful not to cross the line into idolatry.
-D. Eric Schansberg; New Albany, Ind.
The proper role of the federal government is not building or replacing houses. Jeff and I have not yet bought a home, yet our tax dollars will go to build real estate assets for others, and against our will. In a fair economy, we would give freely of our resources to help and we would have the choice to say, "No, we will not help you rebuild your house on the sand, six feet below sea level." Politics can't keep the next hurricane from washing away another $100 billion.
-Christina A. Moore; Norfolk, Va.
When I heard reporters in New Orleans say, "Never has anything like this been seen before," I thought of WORLD's articles on Sudan ("Spectator to genocide," April 2). Ignorance and self-centeredness raise the pain and suffering we bear for weeks above the agonies that much of the world bears for years, if not generations.
-Marlys Stepelbroek; North Tustin, Calif.
The real issue is that it was the government's job to have been prepared to respond and to have responded expeditiously. In this case, the problem is that this president did not have the vision to do his job as a steward of this country's vast resources.
-Warren Gladden; Allentown, Pa.
John Piper said it well ("Who answers to whom?" Sept. 17). The fact that I was not destroyed by Katrina but am alive today is solely because of the mercy of God.
-Paul Tautges; Sheboygan, Wis.
I agree with Marvin Olasky that most media have not brought due attention to the good coming from American people due to Hurricane Katrina ("American individuals," Sept. 17). I work for a small-town west Texas newspaper and have been disgusted with the media's concentration on the politics surrounding the disaster. I think if Miss Chinthaka of Sri Lanka took a walk down the streets of any town or community in this country she would find a multitude of folks willing to help.
-Kimberly Gray; Roscoe, Texas
You didn't mention Sufjan Steven's well-documented relationship with Jesus in your review of his Illinoise album (Bestselling CDs, Sept. 17). He just sold out five nights in a row at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan despite references to his faith in his lyrics and even an album named A Son Came!
-Will Gilmore; New York, N.Y.
Andrew Coffin assumes one has to be a leftist to enjoy The Constant Gardener ("See movie review," Sept. 17). A heart for suffering people, appreciation of a plot meant to challenge immorality and injustice, and suspicion of the motives of those who may or may not be donating medicine for altruistic reasons are hardly qualifications for being left-wing. These things are also about all one would need to appreciate the film.
-Matthew Loftus; Bel Air, Md.
"In safe hands" (Sept. 17) quotes a source who claims that the Free Exercise clause of our Constitution's First Amendment was "designed to be untidy," and characterizes some of Chief Justice William Rehnquist's opinions as part of an attempted "cleanup project." The Free Exercise clause is neither untidy nor complex. It says only that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Chief Justice Rehnquist should be applauded for his restraint in refusing to read something into the Constitution that is not there.
-David Franklin; Lineville, Ala.
"Faithful and true?" (Sept. 10) was very timely. My youngest is a freshman at a college that claims to be "intentionally Christian." She was soon telling us about her Bible professor who argued that the Bible was not to be taken literally and that it was historically and scientifically inaccurate and full of contradictions. When my daughter met with the professor in his office to discuss her beliefs, she was told that she had "blinders" on and that she had to think beyond the teachings of her "mommy." Fortunately, other students say that not all of the professors are like this one.
-Duane Wilmot; Lawrenceville, Ga.
The presidents of Christian colleges face a situation similar to that of many pastors. Some congregations and denominations persecute and dismiss pastors with a biblical worldview. Ministry leaders have to resist the temptation to fear men instead of honoring God and being true to His Word.
-Mie McCaffrey; Butte, Mont.
I am a junior in high school beginning to look at colleges. Even though my parents attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, I am not looking at any major liberal colleges because of the issues raised in "Free to agree" (Sept. 10). I want to study where there is diversity of thought and freedom of expression is encouraged.
-Matthew Benjamin; Clinton Twp., Mich.
There are always strings once the government gets involved and homeschooling parents should resist any "help" our government is willing to offer ("Here come the strings," Sept. 3).
-Rachel Robbins; Round Rock, Texas