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Mailbag

Letters from our readers

Issue: "Faith-based campaigning," Jan. 27, 2007

From the heart

Thank you for "Not your ordinary campaign stop" (Dec. 23). My dad and I met Sen. Brownback about a year ago and were impressed by how he doesn't fit the stereotype of a politician. He was unabashed in talking about his faith, he valued the input of others, and he probably listened as much as he talked. When he did talk, he was genuine and what he said and the causes he espoused came from his heart and what he believes in. -Anthony Cavicchi, 15; Houston, Texas

I met Sam Brownback at an election rally in 1998 and have kept up with his career ever since. As a U.S. senator, he has opposed abortion, government-funded health care, and same-sex marriage, while supporting free trade and homeland security. Through the years his voting record has been consistently conservative, unlike the political paths of some other Republican candidates that have only recently taken an obsequious turn to the right.
-Lynn Rutledge; Naperville, Ill.

A fine record

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Congratulations to Burl Cain, warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary, for the impressive drop in crime among the inmates there ("The mark of Cain," Dec. 23). Allowing religious instruction that gives criminals the opportunity of accepting religious principles is more effective than greater control or more rules. As President Calvin Coolidge said (and this applies to any group), "The government will be able to get out of the people only such virtue as religion has placed there." Any religious institution that teaches righteous principles should be welcomed in prison.
-Darlene Bennett; Salt Lake City, Utah

Change a prisoner's values and you change his conduct. Thank God for men like Cain, who is successfully applying this truth behind prison walls. The reality is in the changed lives of the men at Angola Prison. Too bad that The New York Times, like most of the rest of the world, just doesn't get it.
-James Daniel Marshall; Monroe, N.C.

Thank you for telling us about the Louisiana State Penitentiary and Warden Cain. Where else in the world will you find a population that is 40 percent Christian? I thank God that the prisoners can enroll in seminary training and that they can run their own radio station.
-LaRoyce Hicks; Santa Paula, Calif.

How callous we are

I was absolutely outraged and heartbroken to read that some oppose American involvement in Darfur ("Darfur," Nov. 25; Mailbag, Dec. 23). It brings to mind the story of the good Samaritan. How callous we are in the face of genocide. We allowed this to happen in Rwanda because we were distracted by the conflict in Haiti and now, overwhelmed by a complicated war in Iraq, some would turn a blind eye to genocide.
-Cherie Catron; Chillicothe, Ohio

American hubris

Joel Belz appears to have confused man's finitude with his fallenness ("Far as the curse is found," Dec. 23). The FBI's inability to catch Eric Rudolph or the United States' inability to capture Osama bin Laden is just as likely a reflection of man's limits as it is of man's sin nature. Sin does enter the picture when we fail to recognize our limitations, as we 21st-century Americans are prone to do. The ancient Hebrews knew such a mistake was idolatrous and sinful; the ancient Greeks, in their own way, would have recognized such unbounded confidence in ourselves as hubris.
-Grant Brodrecht; Winter Park, Fla.

While I appreciate the sentiment of "Far as the curse is found," an even more meaningful use of "Joy to the World" is to view it not as a Christmas carol but simply yet another "Christianizing" of a psalm, the second part of Psalm 98. Watts titled it, "The Messiah's Coming and Kingdom." It is in the second advent, with Satan bound, that sins and sorrows will no longer flow, thorns will no longer infest the ground, and nations will prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love. Then all the subjects of Christ's kingdom will see, to quote Belz, "how far His goodness will ultimately reach."
-Gary Roseboom; East Peoria, Ill.

Challenging

Thanks for Mindy Belz's fine article on Archbishops Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi ("2006 Daniels of the year," Dec. 16). It was well done, not only informing me but challenging me to pray for these two champions of the faith.
-Nick Britton; Hagerstown, Md.

Disagreeable terminology

Joel Belz insinuates that people who disagree with him in believing that Armageddon is near are "goofy" and exercise "fear-mongering" ("Two-way paranoia," Dec. 16). One's view of eschatology is not a test of orthodoxy. One can also disagree without using disagreeable terminology.
-Barbara Stogner; League City, Texas

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