I really appreciate the series profiling 2008 presidential candidates ("Barrier riffs," Feb. 10). I trust WORLD's information, knowing that it comes from a Christian worldview (which is not to say that I agree with every article). I'm finding it helpful to have nonpartisan information about candidates without the hype that will soon abound, and I eagerly await the next profiles. This series will help me when it comes time to vote.
-Anne Johnson; Newport, Ore.
I disagree with your labeling of Duncan Hunter as "anti-immigration" on your Feb. 10 cover. This is like labeling the pro-life movement "anti-choice." Maybe a more accurate label of Hunter's position would be "pro-national security" or "pro-law enforcement."
-Rocky Belcher; Vandalia, Ohio
A burning issue
Thank you for your straightforward column on ethanol production ("Pass on the corn," Feb. 10). It is not sustainable for the reasons you listed and many more. It is nice to see a cautionary bent in a Christian magazine on a hot-button issue.
-Tauna M. Powell; Laclede, Mo.
Corn and other vegetable ethanols and ethanol blends are not an immediate substitute for our oil-based transportation and manufacturing economy; however, they provide the best alternative that I see today in the near term and possibly long term for a renewable, less expensive, and environmentally friendly resource. Initially, ethanol may be more expensive and energy intensive to manufacture, but it may be more competitive than oil after the government helps the industry get going and then gets out of the way for the market to take over.
-Joe Trusty; Miami, Fla.
The ethanol industry has made great leaps in efficiency since the '70s, such as integrating plants with cattle-feeding operations. Yes, it is costing money, but so is securing our vital interests in the Middle East. At least the money spent on ethanol is returning to our own economy. Farmers buy cars, tractors, computers, groceries, magazines, and all kinds of services. Most of us are not even supporting terrorism.
-Peter Cernek; Gratiot, Wis.
We already spend billions a year on artificial price supports called farm subsidies that could be used instead to help produce ethanol. That money would stay at home, as compared to giving it to Middle Eastern oil producers who smile while taking our money but curse us when our backs are turned. Despite the naysayers, being more self-sufficient is to our advantage.
-Chuck Roehrich; Grand Island, Neb.
I find it interesting how Muslims wish to wipe out opposition to their faith ("Kangaroo court," "Hate or debate?" Feb. 10) and yet I see few, if any, instances of Muslims proselytizing. Marvin Olasky's column on Wilberforce ("Humble courage," Feb. 10), who "emphasized teaching about Christianity but not imposing it," cuts to the quick. Too bad many Muslims feel they can convert others, not by teaching and opening their scriptures, but by fear, torture, or silencing nonbelievers.
-George Nettleton; Willow Street, Pa.
When will Canada's pro-homosexual agenda and hate-crime laws protecting homosexual rights come into conflict with that country's growing desire to allow Shariah law? Shariah severely punishes not only homosexual acts, but homosexuality in general.
-Dennis Turner; Fredericktown, Ohio
Marvin Olasky's column on Wilberforce was one of the finest we have read. It made us wish for a man like Wilberforce to rise up in our U.S. Congress. Where are men of that stature today? Oh, that every one of our senators, congressmen, cabinet members, staffers, etc., would read that column and contemplate, with all honesty and seriousness, the driving forces in their own political lives and efforts.
-Richard H. Hess; Eden Prairie, Minn.
Kerry's cultural imperialism
It's not freedom Islamic cultures fear so much as all the flotsam that comes with it. Homosexuality, abortion, radical feminism, and the bilge pouring out of Hollywood comprise a type of cultural imperialism that traditional cultures abhor. John Kerry is in the embrace of all those who have debauched our freedom, making it unpalatable to others ("No little people," Feb. 10). Before attributing all our problems to the current administration, perhaps a little introspection is in order for Sen. Kerry.
-Thomas M. Beattie; Mt. Vernon, Va.
Status quo keepers
I love the work that Lillie Epps and Care Net are doing regarding abortion in the African-American community ("Urban battleground," Feb. 10). Black churches must stop focusing on themselves as victims and start standing up against the more devastating moral issues of our day. Racism is a legitimate and important issue, but making it the No. 1 priority only results in liberal leadership in Washington whose agenda, ironically, maintains the status quo. This has led to a de-emphasis by black pastors in rebuking the "breakdown of families, acceptance of premarital sex, and an antipathy toward marriage" in their communities.
-Neal Hooks; North Las Vegas, Nev.
There is an abandonment mentality that pervades black culture, and one of its many tragic consequences is abortion. It seems to me that the black abortion rate will not improve until black fathers stop impregnating and then deserting women who are not their wives. A pro-life message won't get the job done.
-Dave Parker; Key West, Fla.
Does it really matter if abortion takes one-third or half of black pregnancies, or how many black women have abortions versus how many white women? If any baby, red or yellow, black or white, is aborted, it is one too many.
-Kimberley Cotten; Spanish Fort, Ala.
Klavan and clay
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed Marvin Olasky's interview with mystery writer Andrew Klavan ("Too nice for vice?" Feb. 10). I had never heard of him before and I'm so grateful for Klavan's Christian voice in the world of mainstream fiction.
-Sarah-Ann Byron; Gardner, Mass.
Klavan observed that some Christians "make a mistake by placing God in opposition to science-it's like pitting Him against His own creation. But by the same token, the greatness of science-the purity of its materialism-is also its limitation." Indeed. Should the clay dictate to the Potter? God is both in His creation and its Sustainer and Master.
-Anthony R. Kopec; Eatonville, Wash.
Eating its own
State-sponsored gambling preys on the addictive potentialities of the state's own citizens ("'Out came this calf,'" Feb. 10). Gambling is motivated by only two desires: greed, and the repeated adrenaline rush that anticipates the possible satisfaction of greed.
-Jack Brooks; Georgetown, Ky.
My cousin, a bank president, tells me that many, many seniors have gambled away their life savings. Society will take care of these people eventually, so we are paying for their gambling. My husband's biological father was a gambler. Although he had a good job, his family lived in a literal tarpaper shack without running water or electricity. I don't think we can easily put this genie of state-sponsored gambling back into the bottle. Surely we should not expand it.
-Kathleen Isaacson; Iron, Minn.
Debated to death
Joel Belz wrote in "Evangelical steamroller" (Feb. 3) that some NAE leaders, like their secular counterparts, think "the discussion is over and that it's time for action" on global warming. It's too bad that Christians can't muster the same attitude toward issues that have been debated to death such as homosexuality, the sanctity of marriage, abortion, the Islamic War against the West, the defense of Christianity, etc.
-Paul Hair; Dillsburg, Pa.
On the mark
As usual when my WORLD came, I turned first to Andrée Seu's column ("Sharing the freight," Jan. 27). It was right on the mark, crafted with precision and grace. This week it also exactly answered the problem my church elder has just asked me to ponder with him.
-Char Decker; Frankfort, Mich.
I love your magazine. When we get it, we fight over who gets it first. I go straight to the political cartoons or to the movie reviews.
-Luke Rope, 13; Vaughn, Mont.
The soldiers in the photos accompanying "Surge protection" (Feb. 17) are from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division (p. 20) and from the 82nd Airborne's 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment (p. 21).
The website for Dalit Freedom Network is dalitnetwork.org, and the national director of Dalit education for Operation Mercy Charitable Company is Albert Lael ("Let my people go," Feb. 24, p. 16).