No to Newt
Newt Gingrich for president ("Don't run, Newt," April 14)? No! Your observation about his "negative image" because of his "tendency to vilify his opposition" is the kindest way to express what's wrong with him. Our current Us vs. Them political climate with all its fallout-a disastrous war in Iraq, political gridlock in Congress-is largely the result of chauvinists like Gingrich. Intellectual brilliance doth not a decent leader make.
-John TenBrook; Wilbraham, Maine
No one but Gingrich presents such valuable ideas for the future of our country. It's a very interesting article, because it presents the difficulty of weighing someone's self-indulgent character traits against his ideas that have the potential for greater good than any other candidate. What to do? For now, I think, "Newt '08!"
-Matt Milligan; Sac City, Iowa
I cannot believe how many Christians are touting Gingrich for president. I think his confession about the affair was all staged, and he never did mention he was sorry about divorcing his wife while she was in the hospital. Yes, he is brilliant, and he is playing the Christian right for all it's worth.
-Kern R. Pegues; Baton Rouge, La.
Marvin Olasky examines ethical considerations regarding Gingrich's potential presidential race as if for a pastoral search committee. The majority of past presidents have not met the high standard of marital fidelity, although it is ideal. We need Newt because of his insights, intelligence, frankness, and experience for the future of our nation, not our churches.
-Cinda Marturano; Malvern, Pa.
After Newt's chat with James Dobson, I thought that there should be one more divorce in Gingrich's future: The church needs to divorce former politicians, pundits, and would-be presidential candidates who say all the right things about our faith but don't do them. Enough hypocrisy.
-Eric Bierker; Mountville, Pa.
I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Newt and Bill Clinton. Both are recognized as brilliant politicians and both have moral failings regarding marital fidelity. I'm not sure either party can claim the moral high ground when it comes to marriage.
-Eddie Herring; Tuscumbia, Ala.
The price of a life
Lynn Vincent's article on the negative effects of abortion on women, "The mourning after" (April 14), was very much on target. This isn't new, however. In a 1989 interview, psychiatrist and obstetrician Dr. Julius Fogel, who had himself performed 20,000 abortions, told The Washington Post that abortion is not a harmless and casual event: "A psychological price is paid. . . . Something happens on the deeper levels of a woman's consciousness when she destroys a pregnancy. I know that as a psychiatrist." I also have seen this as a psychiatrist.
-David G. Crane; Bloomington, Ind.
I spent three days with Emily Brazelon when she was writing her New York Times magazine article titled, "Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?" Brazelon saw 24 of the over 1,000 women I have worked with in the last seven years in Texas prisons. These women were grieving the loss of 62 aborted children that day, but Brazelon failed to acknowledge their tears and pain, instead choosing to focus on her own ideas. Over 62 percent of the women that I work with in Texas prisons attribute their incarceration to their abortion. When you believe a lie, and act on a lie, you become in bondage to that lie.
-Rhonda Arias; Houston, Texas
What a joy to read "The mourning after," which referred to aborted, innocent life as a "baby" or a "child" instead of a "fetus." When pregnant women decide to take that life it becomes a "fetus," a psychological ploy convenient for them and the abortionists.
-Robert H. Bickmeyer; Troy, Mich.
I agree that the dichotomy between what man has created and what God has created is false ("Vacation worldview," April 14). It's a perversion of our calling to be imitators of our Creator to imagine our work to be independent somehow of God's. Vacations are an excellent time for this kind of reflection, and hopefully we can avail ourselves of this perspective day by day in the midst of our "routine" work.
-Dick Friedrich; Caledonia, Mich.
Perhaps rather than taking that big vacation to Disney or Maui, we should be more diligent stewards and donate the money to a missionary. Even more apt might be to use that time to go on a short-term mission trip. Some of the most beautiful places in the world are also the neediest.
-Donna Murphy; West Sand Lake, N.Y.
Every believer's duty
Regarding "Personal & political" (April 14): Well said! People must support the work of nongovernmental agencies, especially Christian agencies. It is every believer's duty to pay attention to the needs of the community and meet those needs where his gifts are useful. The Christian left must stop thinking the government is the church and the Christian right must start serving the community to supplant the government's monopoly on social work.
-Mac Davis; Vancouver, British Columbia
Hats off to Janie B. Cheaney for "Joy to the world" (April 14). Matthew describes how, in a notable display of humor, Jesus told His listeners of a man whose servant owed him 10 thousand talents, the equivalent of thousands of years of daily labor. When, in Jesus' story, we see this man begging his boss for more time ("Be patient with me! I'll work it off!"), His listeners must have burst into uproarious laughter. At the same time He was reminding them, and us, of how much God has forgiven us.
-Ray Elliot; Tahlequah, Okla.
The April 14 Buzz item on Iran's release of the British sailors reminded me that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that it was in honor of Muhammad's birthday and "the occasion of the passing of Christ." No media I read considered whether it was intended as an insult to the British and to Christians everywhere. I am sure, however, that no reasonable person would view his actions as a "gift" of any sort.
-Keith Allen; Peru, Ind.
Unmeasurable, but real
Can we really believe that all the smoke and emissions aren't bad? "Tighten your gas caps" (April 14) admits that scientists nearly universally agree that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. Does it really matter that currently we may not be able precisely to measure the damage being wreaked on our landscape and atmosphere? We don't have to like where the message is coming from, but we can't ignore it just because it doesn't come from an evangelical, conservative voice.
-Jane H. Hursh; Orlando, Fla.
Know and be moved
Thank you for "Alone again" (April 14), regarding President Robert Mugabe and the dire situation of Zimbabwe. I often hear from friends living there but rarely hear the full truth in American news sources. I wish that everyone knew and would be moved to action by the fact that millions of people are starving to death, and that most of the population does not have enough money to buy simple items like soap. The prospects for future generations appear dim as well because few children are able to attend school.
-Anna Hull; Loganville, Ga.
Fully informed consent
Requiring a woman to view her ultrasound or information, as a South Carolina bill is proposing ("A thousand words," April 7), is not so different from being "required to hear" or "required to see in writing" the information about any other surgical procedure prior to signing a consent. It is a necessary step in informed consent. If there is any issue of "rights," the unborn baby's right to exist ought to trump the mother's "right" to deny her child's existence by refusing to view the ultrasound.
-Ann Johnson; Burnsville, Minn.