Special thanks for your cover story about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her life under Islam ("'Infidel,'" March 3). We need to learn more about the inner workings of Islam, especially how it treats women and those who value freedom of speech. Her new biography does that in very personal ways. Hopefully, Ali will learn more about the roots of American freedom that came in good measure from the Christian faith of its founders.
-Robert Oberst; Syracuse, N.Y.
I was more than touched by the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her escape from Islam. I was infuriated by the disturbing mistreatment of women, saddened at the sufferings of the oppressed, humbled by my own ignorance and indifference, and thankful for my blessings as a Christian and an American citizen. I also felt helpless because of the sins against humanity, yet motivated to act on behalf of the afflicted. Thank you. This article has given me perspective.
-Kathleen Vasquez; Centennial, Colo.
As we attempt to create new democracies in other parts of the world, we should remember that democracy, historically speaking, is the child of Christianity. By forsaking the root of democracy, we are offering the world a freedom no one wants. We point the finger at the abuse of women in Islam and say they are not free; they point the finger at our divorce rate and exportation of pornography and say that this is what our freedom brings. Note that in her escape from Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali became an atheist. Before we continue telling people that they should be free like us, perhaps we should take a good look in the mirror.
-John Longmire; Quarryville, Pa.
The more we know about the Islamic agenda and life under Islam, the better equipped and motivated we will be to fight it. If more people in the 1930s had bothered to read Mein Kampf, they might have tried harder to stop Hitler; now Ali is warning us about Islam. Every American should read this book before we allow defeatist Democrats and liberals to take us down Chamberlain's suicidal path.
-Mike Martin; Montrose, Colo.
I grew up in a very conservative church where outward expressions of praise were seldom heard. Occasionally one old man would bellow out an "Amen!" Heads would jerk around as people wondered, "What got into him?" Many times my spirit has expressed a "Hallelujah!" during the sermon at church, and my tongue has actually formed the words, but clenched teeth and lips refuse to let the sound escape. I read "'Amen! Preach it!'" (March 3) one day while my staff was preparing for the next cat spay. At the end, with people around who might wonder, I boldly whispered "Amen!" Thanks to Andrée Seu. I needed that.
-Donald Lutton; Newburgh, Ind.
True doctrine, an accurate teaching of man's real condition and what God has done for us through Christ, inspires our God-ward praise. When one can see what God, through Christ, has done, then the response in worship and all of life will be the communion Seu is looking for. Any other worship habits without doctrine to back them up, no matter how effective, are only fads.
-David Blauw; Minneapolis, Minn.
I, too, find myself interacting with the sermon. I finish verses in my mind when my dad (the pastor) leaves them unfinished and answer questions to myself. This really has helped me to pay more attention and apply it to my own life. My family has been at our current church only for a little over a month. At our previous church the pastor was lucky to get a single "amen" in his sermon. At this church all of the people, however, "amen" and mutter to themselves throughout the entire sermon. I love it!
-Chelsea Ferguson, 15; Thomasville, N.C.
As a Vietnam-era veteran, it saddens me to know that the enemy is aided and comforted by the new Jane Fondas and Ramsey Clarks of the Iraq War and the war on terrorism. Their opposition encourages terrorists to kill as many of us as they can, and so our men and women who keep us safe are dying needlessly ("The half-seen ledger," March 3). My hope is that there will be an accounting for this ignorance someday.
-Max L. Binkley; Williamsburg, Mich.
Worthwhile deaths? Wait 50 years? I don't have to wait. Our young men are having their lives thrown away in Iraq.
-David M. Massoro; Cleveland, Ohio
Students love 'em
Yea for Elizabeth Kantor! ("Spring cleaning," March 3). I've ordered her book on English and American literature, but where was she when I needed her? The biggest surprise of my university teaching career was finding that modern students still love Jane Austen, John Milton, and Nathaniel Hawthorne almost as much as English department heads hate them.
-Kathryn Thompson Presley; Bryan, Texas
The rights price
It is within Google's rights to censor YouTube video blogger Nick Gisburne, who posted quotes from the Quran ("Raw footage," March 3), and it is increasingly exercising this power as YouTube is pressured by peeved copyright-holders. However, censorship comes at a price. It generated a massive backlash within the web community and it was unnecessary. Only when the extension of our rights threatens others' basic freedoms should rights be denied. Did Gisburne's video posts limit Muslims' right to assemble? To print? To exercise free speech themselves? I think not.
-Nate DeJong; Grand Rapids, Mich.
Timothy Lamer argues eloquently against gambling ("Plundering for fun," Feb. 24) but misses the main point: It's God's money, not ours. God has provided a full, legitimate framework-hard work, savings, giving, prayer-within which He provides His money to meet our needs precisely. When we step outside that framework, we've decided His methods and His money just won't do.
-Clint Sherwood; Lake Peekskill, N.Y.
In "Doing good and helping the poor" (Feb. 24), Eric Metaxas doubted whether anyone in American history resembled Wilberforce. At that same time period, one individual immediately stands out: New York's own John Jay, who knew and corresponded with Wilberforce and met with him when Jay was in England. Jay was instrumental in forging anti-slavery bills in New York and formed institutions of learning for slaves and ex-slaves.
-Karl Crantz; Nineveh, N.Y.
As a founding member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Wilberforce is a model for contemporary evangelicals. We can and should display God's compassion over all He has made, both humans and animals. Sadly, the latter is ignored in the evangelical community today.
-Craig DiBenedictis; Brick, N.J.
Despite a slight cold, I went with my mom to see Amazing Grace. The film pulled no punches about slavery and did a great job of putting us in the historical background.
-Phillip L. Peacock; Leander, Texas
Fighting fire with gas
Your coverage of the annual Academy Awards was most enlightening ("Oscar madness," Feb. 24). Hollywood has long ceased to reward quality and now only pats itself on the back for its immorality and leftist political agendas. What concerns me is that a large percentage of that box-office revenue comes from the pockets of Christians, and the profits support causes to which we are diametrically opposed. We may as well be fighting a fire with gasoline.
-Bob Moore; Houston, Texas
Knows the world
After reading your interview with author Andrew Klavan ("Too nice for vice?" Feb. 10), I got copies of his books, Shotgun Alley and Damnation Street. Your warning about the graphic nature of these books is well-founded, but I'm glad I read them. Klavan sees through the vain philosophies of man: romanticism, naturalism, and positivism. He knows the world for what it is, and now he knows our Savior. Praise God!
-Rich Asper; Watertown, S.D.