Their needs there
The photo on your May 13 cover ("Darfur") was compelling. It is encouraging to see the world taking note of Darfur, the culmination of a crisis that the Sudanese have endured for over 20 years. It was also uplifting to see the world's conscience becoming aware of the abominable plight of children in Uganda ("Invisible no more," May 13). As a former missionary kid in Swaziland, I am profoundly grateful to WORLD for highlighting the plight of our brothers and sisters in Africa. The needs there remind us to love our neighbors.
-Ellen Decker; Dover, Pa.
The United States and the other countries active in the area need to do something about Darfur, but why is it by default a U.S. problem? We are deployed in two theaters (one in which we have no clear end in sight) while many UN countries, such as France, Germany, and Russia, have no such commitment.
-Olin Ross Fearing; Nacogdoches, Texas
On the radar
Thank you for reporting on the advances of the gay-rights groups ("Under the radar," May 13). The Washington state law will grant protected-class status based on "sexual orientation." Stiff fines and lawsuits will force and intimidate businesses, local school boards, and civic groups into accepting, and even advocating, homosexuality. Voters are fighting back with R-65, a referendum to put the issue on the November ballot.
-Carolyn Jacobs; Spokane, Wash.
California's SB1437, which prohibits anything that reflects adversely on gays and lesbians and nixes the inclusion of "any sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda contrary to law" is obviously "abridging the freedom of speech" and "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion that our forefathers guaranteed. Apparently the California Democrats in the education committee are not familiar with the First Amendment.
-Natalie Polutta; Acworth, Ga.
Your story about the harmful effects of smoking bans on business mimics perfectly the tobacco industry's scare tactics ("Nipped in the butt," May 13). You ignored the many bar and restaurant workers overjoyed not to be coughing themselves to sleep every night, and the reasons so many communities and states have gone smoke-free.
-Gene Borio; New York, N.Y.
I don't think it's the government's place to ban a legal product from use in public places. Either make cigarettes illegal and be done with it, or let people make their own choices. Where I live several restaurants voluntarily banned smoking, and it's hard to get a seat in those places most times.
-Theresa Larsen; Hammond, Wis.
Thanks much for balancing your dismissal of public education ("F," April 22) with "Confessing our weaknesses" (May 13) and admitting that Christian education is often "skimming off the easy assignments, and leaving the rest to public schools." Most public-school teachers work selflessly. Humbly admitting our own weaknesses is a start, but next we need a practical prescription to replace public education.
-Mary E. Cupery; Harbor Beach, Mich.
Joel Belz says that Christian education has neglected vocational education and special-needs children. This may be true for some Christian schools, but many homeschools teach valuable vocational skills, and special needs and learning disabilities are major reasons why many families choose to homeschool in the first place.
-Molly Black; Bay City, Mich.
"To a young mother" (May 13) summed up, so utterly succinctly, a season in my own marriage. The Lord has been "daily grinding" me for so long in this area, and this column came at a time when I could hear and adhere to what Janie Cheaney had to say. She gracefully points out our role as wives, and as mothers, friends, and members of the church body.
-Sandra Klotz; Mesa, Ariz.
Mrs. Cheaney made lots of great suggestions, but she didn't say anything about loving confrontation of the husband regarding his "thoughtless" behavior. It's tough, but it's the most loving thing a wife can do. If he refuses to hear her, then the couple needs to get help.
-Merrily Richie; London, England
Scary and hard
Wow. Marvin Olasky's column really hit home ("When mothers become children," May 13). My family cares for my great-grandmother, who is 82 and has had many strokes. My mom comes home from Grandma's in tears most of the time because she is so difficult. It's really weird and sort of scary, taking care of the person who is supposed to take care of you. When Grandpa died in June, I didn't cry because it felt like my Grandpa, the one who loved horses and always wore a cowboy hat, had been gone so much longer because of Alzheimer's. The blessing is that he accepted Christ in his last moments of mental clarity. Grandma's reaction to her difficulties is despair and oh, how I wish she had a Eunice living next door.
-Anna Kirby; Valley Falls, Kan.
Losing a mother is like having the stars drop out of the sky. It's something you know will happen someday, but it still feels as though a mother is part of the very thread of the universe and it's incomprehensible that she could die. Women who still have their mothers should not take that blessing for granted, even if the relationship is as quirky and difficult as most mother/daughter ones seem to be.
-Cheryl Dunlop; Nashville, Tenn.
I am not surprised by the study showing that U.S. citizens have more material possessions than their Western European counterparts ("Better off French?" May 13). When it comes to consumer spending, materialism, and instant gratification, we Americans have the world beat. However, the article did not mention cultural differences. In Switzerland, where I lived for seven years, few people own cars because public transportation is excellent, and appliances like VCRs are considered nonessentials. I was continually refreshed by the generosity of fellow believers in Switzerland, who frequently opened their homes (by U.S. standards small and sparsely decorated) to our family. It's not about the house, it's about people.
-Melissa Maier; Thompson's Station, Tenn.
The liberal Center for American Progress has no clue as to what "the American Dream" is. It has nothing to do with "advancement into the ranks of the super-rich." It is freedom, pure and simple. This includes freedom from rule by heredity, wealth, and might, and the freedom to elect and keep electing sons of miscreants, the wealthy, and the spineless. So there, CAP.
-Stu Mahlin; Cincinnati, Ohio
Gene Edward Veith's "Dhimmi-nized" (May 6) is dead center on point. The "fear factor" is rapidly spreading throughout evangelical Christianity. We appear to be headed toward a future in which any public expression of religious difference will be found politically incorrect and disruptive to the body politic. Eventually it may be a criminal act. We celebrate those first three centuries after Christ when the faith overcame the pluralism of the Roman Empire, but now we seem to have lost our nerve.
-E. James Schilling; Colorado Springs, Colo.