I found your articles on slavery very interesting ("'Into captivity they shall go,'" Feb. 24). I was shocked to see the United States right there in the middle of the chart of world leaders in human trafficking! I turned the page and couldn't stop reading. How very little I know about this "free" country, which passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act only seven years ago. How can I point the finger at India when we have three pointing back at us?
-Katie Bigelow, 17; Bloomfield, Conn.
"Slavery at your door" (Feb. 24) was an amazing glance at human trafficking in the United States. I fear an even more subtle encroachment: Isn't allowing businesses to rely on illegal aliens for cheap labor a way of creating second-class citizens? It is also possible that abortion and euthanasia, because they degrade humanity, are just other facets of the slavery issue. We need to stop slavery, and abortion also, by winning hearts and minds as well as winning political battles. What a great issue.
-Gary Lindberg; Olathe, Colo.
Your articles about Wilberforce were most interesting, and after watching Amazing Grace we are greatly inspired. While Wilberforce most often gets the credit, it was Thomas Clarkson's brilliant research that greatly informed the debate in Parliament. His visual evidence depicting the inhuman conditions of slaves crammed like sardines for the three-week journey across the Atlantic was pivotal in changing public opinion. After more than 20 years of debates, sermons, and boycotts, the conscience of the public was awakened and Wilberforce's bill to abolish slavery was finally passed.
-Christine Crowner; Saline, Mich.
I was glad to see WORLD honor Wilberforce but would like to point out that other early Christian opponents of slavery were not Reformed in theology. For example, John Woolman, an American Quaker, began his own quiet work in the 1700s to persuade others that Christians ought not to be slave owners. He left money for slaves who waited on him as he visited wealthy friends, and made it a priority not to use slave-produced goods-a concept we ought to think about in our own time of cheap goods from nations that "employ" bondsmen.
-Margaret Harris; Whittier, Iowa
In response to the question of who in American history most resembles Wilberforce ("Doing good and helping the poor," Feb. 24), Eric Metaxas says, in short, no one. Maybe not in quite some time, but America had its own physically short, intellectual giant who labored in Congress for years to abolish the slave trade, and this after serving his term as president: John Quincy Adams.
-Jason B. Watson; Brookneal, Va.
Never have I seen a more cogent presentation of the essential immorality of gambling than in Timothy Lamer's "Plundering for fun" (Feb. 24). Anyone with a family member obsessed with this addiction will sympathize with his observations. Christian gamblers willing to plunder their neighbors truly are breaking the Eighth Commandment against theft.
-Ted Cameron; Redondo Beach, Calif.
Thanks to Lamer for the insightful commentary on Charles Barkley and gambling. I suggest that the 43 percent of evangelicals who do not think gambling is morally wrong ponder this question: Whose money is it, anyway? That leads to the next question: How might I better use it to further the kingdom.
-Susan Peisker; Cedar Park, Texas
Another sinful aspect of gambling is the gambler's trust in the god of "chance" as opposed to an unwavering trust in the God of providence. The gambler may as well say, "Trust in the Lord with some of your heart, trust in the lottery with the rest."
-Steven Thom; North Aurora, Ill.
In your coverage of Oscar trends ("Oscar madness," Feb. 24), you refer twice to the movie "Spiderman." The superhero's name is actually "Spider-Man," and the hyphenated spelling was carried over from the comic books to the movies. As an American, I'm thankful to live in a nation with enough peace and prosperity that I can comment on something so trivial. As a pastor, I'm troubled that I cannot list the 12 disciples from memory but the misspelling of Spider-Man's name leaps off the page at me. The results of misspent youth, no doubt.
-Rick S. Jones; Michigan City, Ind.
I thought "Oscar madness" was excellent. This year we were urged to rent Little Miss Sunshine. The only thing worse than watching this bad movie was finding out Hollywood considered it for Best Picture. We watch a lot of movies each year, generally PG or PG-13, and see some very good films, yet these never get Oscar nominations.
-Terry Dempsey; Moultonborough, N.H.
A simpler system
Joel Belz longs for a simpler tax system ("Waiting for my refunds," Feb. 24). Such a plan has been reintroduced this session of Congress. The FairTax Proposal would replace the income and estate taxes (among others) with a national sales tax. Instead of discouraging people from working hard, saving, and investing by taxing all these activities, the FairTax would encourage these behaviors and spread the burden of taxation out among everyone, including those who currently work "under the table" and those who profit from crime. We would also be very clear about just how much we are paying in taxes, and so more likely to demand that our money be spent wisely.
-Andi Michelson; E. Sparta, Ohio
Why is Belz waiting for refunds from his federal and state income tax returns? A properly completed W-4 form permits only money due the government to be withheld from his income. A tax refund is not a financial reward; it means that we lost interest that we could have earned on our own money.
-Hiram Hayes Silvey; Kalamazoo, Mich.
Blessings on Andrée Seu for "'Out came this calf'" (Feb. 10). I've long cringed over all the TV ads for the lottery.
-Myrtha S. Witkop; Sellinsgrover, Pa.
Gaetan Roy wants Western nations to apologize to China for the Opium Wars ("Forgive us their trespass," Feb. 17), but associating the imperialist problems of those days with Christians will produce irreparable harm to Chinese Christians today. His attempt will give Chinese police and other persecutors additional ammunition to justify the imprisonment, torture, and killing of Christians. After over 20 years living and working in China and Taiwan, I have never heard any complaints, or mention, of those long forgotten difficulties.
-Bob Heimburger; Birmingham, Ala.
A subsidy by any other name
Many Americans are critical of the government subsidies for farmers and the ethanol industry ("Pass on the corn," Feb. 10), but if we could be more self-sufficient, we could save the billions of dollars it is costing to protect oil interests in the Middle East.
-Larry Gifford; Fort Ripley, Minn.
The wrong tree
James Kublin says he wants to prove that malaria, not sexual promiscuity, is the reason AIDS has spread so quickly in sub-Saharan Africa ("All one fight," Jan. 13). I suggest he visit the tiny mountain country of Lesotho within the borders of South Africa. There he will find that malaria is nonexistent due to the country's high altitude, yet a very large percentage of the population is infected with HIV. Nothing but a change of lifestyle is going to make the disease go away. When scientists stop treating the symptoms and see AIDS as a lifestyle disease, there will be hope that Kublin and his colleagues will realize that they are barking up the wrong tree.
-Gerd LePoidevin; Nampula, Mozambique
I appreciate so much your articles and columns. You speak the truth in love and your worldview is so important. Thanks for all the in-depth profiles of "Daniels" and the projects truly making a difference.
-Eunice Will; Springfield, Mo.
Since subscribing to WORLD I now recognize the secular humanist slant of Time and US News & World Report. I have canceled them.
-Richard R. Gallagher; Ruckersville, Va.
Your magazine doesn't impress me as a Christian magazine. I usually am not like this, but I felt as if I had to tell you. Maybe I am being too judgmental, but cancel my subscription anyway.
-Sue Burdick; Marquette, Mich.
Reginald Coupland is among British authors writing about William Wilberforce ("Doing good and helping the poor," Feb. 24, 2007).