I am incredulous that anyone would fall for the baloney coming out of the camps of Democratic presidential hopefuls regarding their newfound religion ("Faith-based campaigning," Jan. 27). When Clinton and the rest stop proclaiming a woman's right to kill her baby and opposing pro-life legislation, perhaps then their actions will match their rhetoric. Part-time Christianity doesn't cut it and they need to end the charade.
-Ron Youngclaus; St. Louis, Mo.
The left has recognized that certain aspects of its political vision find some credence in Christian ethics. This is not altogether bad, so long as one realizes that no non-Christian political vision is a substitute for Christian ethics. Too many Christians have exchanged the politics of Jesus for the politics of Rush Limbaugh. I tend to vote Republican, but I appreciate what these folks are doing.
-Robert Dailey; Durham, N.C.
C.S. Lewis has Screwtape explain that "the thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which [God] demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For [God] will not be used as a convenience." Screwtape nails it. When Christ lives in you, you need to show that in all aspects of your life, including politics. Hiring religious outreach advisors smacks of using God as a convenience.
-Jean Boulanger; Mountain View, Calif.
As a member of consultant Shaun Casey's denomination, the Church of Christ, I am a bit embarrassed by his shallow notion that we owe the government simply because the money isn't ours. I agree that we are stewards of the money God has given us, but handing it over to an inefficient, wasteful bureaucracy would not in my mind constitute good stewardship. Government-funded efforts do not guarantee solutions, despite the scale of suffering Casey wants to address.
-Bob Weber; Chatham, N.J.
Many churches in our country long ago abandoned the gospel, so it's not surprising to see politicians with extensive pro-abortion rap sheets welcomed into these same pulpits to preach their humanistic mix of religiosity and "freedom of choice."
-Bob Brown; Belcamp, Md.
I see faith-based campaigning as window dressing. I hope WORLD can keep us informed of good Christian politicians who truly do believe, instead of just mouthing it.
-M. Anderson; Lander, Wyo.
Making the grade?
Joel Belz's column "Homeward bound" (Jan. 27), which describes and mocks comments I made on a recent PBS show about homeschooling, is an embarrassing piece of ad hominem attack. It always surprises me how homeschool advocates are so quick to demonize homeschool critics. Are these the character virtues they teach their children in the home? Belz writes that people like me are interested in "total control" and approvingly quotes Bruce Shortt, who claims that I have an "ideological and cultural agenda." People should read what I've written on the topic and judge for themselves.
-Rob Reich; Stanford, Calif.
From where does the government derive any right to regulate the choices that parents make as to how they choose to educate their children? Government "accountability and oversight" of education leads to the compulsory exposure of children to whatever ideas are government-approved. The right of parents alone to direct the education of their children, to the best of their understanding, should be protected.
-Peter Van Wieren; Ypsilanti, Mich.
I agree with Reich in that I want good regulations to apply to those parents who homeschool. Government has a duty to protect society at large, including children, from those who are unqualified or unwilling to teach to an acceptable level. Parents who object to government involvement in the education of their children should either make an exception for skills testing, or pursue some other way to make it very obvious that they are "making the grade."
-Trent VanderZee; Crown Point, Ind.
Bravo to Belz and Bruce Shortt. As a homeschooling father of four, I am always thrilled when someone points out that the emperor is wearing no clothes when it comes to the standard, tired arguments against homeschooling. Public education is about indoctrination, not diversity, and it encourages a boring homogeneity. Homeschooling is about learning to understand the world around us, why we're here and where we're going. No wonder Reich and his fellow travelers are running scared.
-John Carpenter; Dayton, Tenn.
Women and men
Andrée Seu has it right, again, when she points out that the Industrial Age separated us from wider community support systems, leading us to depend upon our spouses for all our emotional support ("Sharing the freight," Jan. 27). But it is more than that; creeping into society was a larger and larger sense that the women were in charge of morality, that women had to watch over men to keep them out of trouble. Men need time with men-time to plan, and do, and reminisce. We women need to back off our reluctance to such gatherings.
-Ursula Smith; Chesterfield, Mo.
Much of the movies and most radio music make romantic love more than it should be. I have said for years to my daughters, "The secret to a great marriage is lots of girlfriends."
-Wendy Hinman; Carlsbad, Calif.
"Classroom Christianity" (Jan. 27) mentions that the bookstore at UNC Chapel Hill carries copies of A Field Guide to Evangelicals and Their Habitat as an example of anti-evangelical bias at the school, claiming that the book "crassly lampoons evangelical beliefs and practices." However, the author is a Christian satirist whose work has provided hours of amusement for me and quite a few other evangelicals.
-Jonathan W. Wilson; Syracuse, N.Y.
Jimmy Carter has courage ("Spreading conflict," Jan. 27). Why can't we be pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian? Well-meaning but misled Christian Zionists share some of the blame because of their naïve and unquestioning support of Israel and their mindless hostility toward Palestinians.
-Ralph Lord Roy; Plantsville, Conn.
What the doctor ordered
After reading PATMOS Clinic founder Robert Berry's ("Robert's rules," Jan. 20) testimony to Congress, I agree that this could be the greatest thing to happen to health care. He lays out how his practice, and others similar to his, save time and money, not only for the patient but also the doctors and the economy as a whole. I especially like how he compares health insurance with car insurance. Do you carry car insurance to cover the costs of oil changes and brake jobs? We expect health care to cover these expenses on our bodies.
-Jonathan Magee; Fort Worth, Texas
Reach out-or not
Marvin Olasky, in his debate with Dinesh D'Souza ("A question of linkage," Jan. 13), takes exception to the premise that American conservatives can make meaningful alliances with Islamic conservatives. But I am convinced that our difficulties in Iraq are a direct result of our failure to "know our enemy." We have made a big mistake by failing to reach out to moderate Muslims in the United States and in foreign lands, and by not taking into account the long history of this conflict. Let us pray it is not too late for a mid-course correction.
-S.T. Bogan; Norman, Okla.
Proclaiming our allegiance to Judeo-Christian values will not reduce anti-Americanism among Muslims. Islam is not compatible with democracy, and they will hate the West no matter what we do. Shariah is Muhammad's law, not God's.
-Rachel Garcia; San Antonio, Texas
Happily N'Ever After was produced by Vanguard Productions and the German animation house BAF (The Buzz, Jan. 20, p. 12).