After reading "Mining for votes" (Nov. 4), I couldn't help thinking that business statisticians had sold the GOP a bill of goods. The meritorious and convincing ideas that characterized the Reagan juggernaut seem to have been exchanged for cutting-edge marketing methods. I can't see the similarity between politicians and potato chips, except maybe that they're both bad for you. We shouldn't choose leaders like we choose our groceries.
-John Crosmun; Columbia, S.C.
Thank you to Marvin Olasky for the wake-up call concerning Iraq ("What we owe others," Nov. 4). Many Americans, myself among them, are tired of the fighting and the loss of life; we want to give up and pull out. I have a cousin in Iraq and sometimes ask myself if Iraqi freedom is worth his life or the lives of all our other brave soldiers. Thank you for reminding me why we are doing this-to stop the horrors of Saddam Hussein's regime and ultimately save the lives of innocent people.
-Ariel Ginn; Dallas, Ga.
While Saddam's shredding machines have been turned off, this war has caused others to be turned on. Your Nov. 4 "Religion" brief details the torture and execution of a Syrian Orthodox priest and the exodus of a substantial percentage of the total Christian population of Iraq. It confronts us with the stubborn companion of so many political decisions: the law of unintended consequences.
-Sam Reid; Issaquah, Wash.
Iraq in 2006 should be contrasted, not compared, with Hungary in 1956. If the average Iraqi had had the same gumption for freedom as the average Hungarian, we'd be long gone from Iraq with a flourishing democracy to show for our efforts. Our experiment was worthwhile and noble but, sadly, the cynics were right: A Muslim-dominated culture cannot support democracy. We did not lose a war; Iraqis lost their opportunity for freedom.
-Dale Smith; Winter Springs, Fla.
Solving the problem
I have great respect for Joel Belz but take issue with "Common-sense solution" (Nov. 4). He and Tanksley assume that illegal workers coming across our southern border just want to "earn a nest egg to send or take back home," so we should let the traffic flow while tightening employment and housing laws here. Missing from this tidy solution is the very real problem of terrorist infiltration.
-R.Y. Costain; Colorado Springs, Colo.
Christian conservatives have little difficulty understanding this issue and calling for secured borders and no amnesty, but Christian conservative leaders have, for the most part, sat out this debate. We love to accuse liberals of misplaced compassion in pursuit of social welfare programs, but on an issue that threatens our national security and cultural identity many Christian conservative leaders make the same mistake. These leaders, if they are not careful, may wake up in 2007 and find themselves out of touch with their own base.
-Steve Elliot; Maxwell, Iowa
I most emphatically disagree with "Common-sense solutions." The consequences of denying driver's licenses and housing to those here illegally and prosecuting employers who ignore or falsify identification procedures have not been thoroughly explored. These measures are utterly impractical. The sooner we come to terms with the fact that the world is a much smaller place than before, the better equipped we will be to solve this problem.
-S.T. Bogan Jr.; Norman, Okla.
I was disheartened and disturbed that any Christian would be motivated to vote for candidates based on their view of global warming and, worse yet, try to influence other Christians in that manner ("Green days," Nov. 4). Are there not other issues of much more grave importance, like valuing life in abortion and euthanasia, as well as what constitutes marriage according to God's Word?
-Heather Weber; North Pole, Alaska
Welcome to the future: Junk science marries junk religion.
-Craig Gates; Valencia, Pa.
I really can't connect to the present "global warming" panic. I'm still with the "coming Ice Age" scare of the '70s. In any case, I would be extremely skeptical of any "What would Jesus do?" approaches toward such issues. I also notice that many of those big on global warming still drive big cars and fly fast airplanes.
-Charles Shull; Hendersonville, N.C.
I was very disappointed with your review of Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior (Bestselling Books, Nov. 4). It is a well-laid-out discussion. His thesis is that if the secular progressives take over, our country, where we have been free to live and practice our values and faith, will be no more.
-Anita Bauer; Portland, Ore.
Ashamed of humanity
I am filled with an overwhelming sadness reading about Lisa Thompson's efforts against human trafficking ("The abolitionist," Nov. 4). Every so often we hear about such trafficking in the media but the horrendous activity goes on and on. I feel ashamed of the human race.
-Virginia C. Schroeder; Augusta, Mich.
Your review of Flags of Our Fathers ("Photo fight," Nov. 4) said it was "grimly honest," but I have rarely seen a more dishonest film. Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood erased all trace of any meaning higher than the self. Pearl Harbor disappeared, God was expunged except for blasphemies, the family was trivialized, and military and government leaders were portrayed as uniformly venal. It had a nightmarish quality, such as the way that corpsmen repeatedly attended wounded Marines but never successfully helped anyone. In the end, the film was a brutal anti-war political statement.
-David Bruce Linn; Rochester, N.Y.
Regarding "Without apology" (Oct. 28), about The Local Church's lawsuit against the authors and publisher of a book that labeled them as a cult, and the amicus brief filed by Hank Hanegraaff: I was surprised that you made no mention of the fact that Christians filing or supporting lawsuits against other Christians contradicts what the Bible teaches. I am disappointed in these well-known apologists.
-Gary A. Wheeler; Bridgeport, W.Va.
Those opposing abortion in South Dakota ("Abortion proportions," Oct. 28) are attempting to preserve inalienable rights that are currently being stripped from the unborn, but the rights of the majority should not be the foundation for protecting life. If the majority were to vote to approve euthanasia, would that make it right? The focus of the abortion debate should be based on the Creator's will and the inalienable rights that He endowed upon us.
-Randy Goggin; New Port Richey, Fla.
A secular answer
I completely agree with "Bunks for drunks" (Oct. 14) about the facility built for the drunks on the streets of Seattle. It offers no hope or incentive for these people to change their lives. This is a secular answer to a spiritual problem and does not force residents to take responsibility for their actions-something any civil society would expect of its citizens.
-Jared C. Branock; Wilkinson, Ind.
A dark road
I believe the reports that the Amish community has forgiven the man who murdered five of their little girls ("Can't run or hide," Oct. 14). Surely that forgiveness will help the Roberts family heal. But I cannot forget Andrée Seu's column on forgiveness ("The thing we don't do," Sept. 30) on that "brutal mathematical transaction . . . wrought in private agony." What a dark road lies ahead for the families of the murdered.
-Meghan Bowker; Wasilla, Alaska
Some still single
After my engaged daughter wrote to me about the wealth of information in "Single & stuck" (July 31), I pulled it out for further examination and was once again struck by its depth and insights for those who are single in a cultural landscape more suited to those who are married. Millions grow up expecting to marry and have children, but that will not always happen.
-Craig Pruitt; Texarkana, Texas