Tawfik Hamid ("Fixing Islam," June 16) calls himself "Muslim by faith, Christian by heart, . . . and above all, human." This is an impossible position at best and double-speak at least. Jesus said you cannot serve two masters; you will hate the one and love the other. Hamid is not seeking to "reform" Islam but to falsely "inform" his hearers regarding the true belief system of Islam.
-Judy Hansen; Auburn, Wash.
If Islam is not Truth, and the dedicated Christian must realize that it certainly cannot be, then how can it be "fixed"?
-Lewis Blodgett Jr.; Asheville, N.C.
I found "Fixing Islam" very interesting. It's so sad that so many people are brainwashed and don't or can't think for themselves, or perhaps don't have information that would cause them to consider other ideologies and ways of life.
-Evelyn King; Princeton, Minn.
The big picture
Joel Belz's "What about Israel?" (June 16) is astute analysis to be sure. Radical Islam and non-radical Islam both want Israel's existence to cease. This won't be an easy war and I think the United States has lost sight of the big picture on this one.
-Richard Gelina; Lynchburg, Va.
Belz's reference to Rep. Ron Paul floored me. If Paul is a "radical" because he believes in upholding the Constitution, limited government, a sound monetary policy, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, then I say we need more radicals.
-Karla Jensen; Gothenburg, Neb.
No country in the Middle East really wants to see Iran's Ahmadinejad detonate a nuclear warhead in Israel, no matter how anti-Israel those countries are. No one can predict whose country will be in the way of the drifting radioactive fallout.
-Claire Hughes; Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Hurray for ethics
As a physician, I say "hurray!" for Susan Kelley's conviction and courage to face a possibly painful appendectomy under spinal anesthesia ("Life of the mother," June 16). "Boos!" for her surgeons who told her a general anesthetic would "likely kill" the growing child. True, non-emergency surgery is usually best delayed until after delivery. However, general anesthesia is commonly given, when necessary, to mothers in early pregnancy without harm to the baby.
-Scott Riley; Augusta, Ga.
I am strongly against abortion, but as a physician I would point out that doctors are keenly aware of the potential for malpractice litigation, which can be personally and professionally devastating. In this case, the physicians likely knew that their only defense, if sued, would be that they had stayed within the standard of care. Doctors will do whatever necessary to avoid a lawsuit. Ethics, unfortunately, take the back seat to that reality in most instances.
-Richard S. Downey; Petoskey, Mich.
I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and have performed spinal anesthesia for several such abdominal procedures for pregnant women. I find it amazing that there was such a runaround in this case. I wonder if there is such absolute non-recognition of the fetus as a child that many have no ability to think outside the box to save both lives in these cases.
-David W. Shepherd; Bluffton, Ind.
As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, I echo Kelley's pro-life words about her son, who went on to become a gymnast: "He's valuable because he is a child of God and made in His image and for His eternal purposes and glory, and to me because he's my son and I love him, whether he ever accomplished anything or not." Thankfully, this is the unconditional love which God shows us.
-Cindy Bossaller; Washington, Mo.
Marvin Olasky deserves an ovation for his sharp kick in the tail regarding self-indulgent trips ("Conspicuous kids," June 16). A Kenyan woman caring for her 35 orphaned grandchildren is praising God for the food they receive for a mere $200 per month. Only a heart hardened by sin would enable a person to spend a similar amount on a throwaway item.
-Michael Lipparelli; Eustis, Fla.
Al Gore seems to travel the world unchallenged in his obsession with global warming while, at the same time, positioning himself for another run at the presidency ("Unplugged," June 16). He may say, "I'm not planning on it," but plans change and I believe his will when he thinks the time is right. Meanwhile, he gets to demean President Bush without having to pay for advertising because of an accommodating press.
-Henry McBride; Everton, Mo.
You know, avoid 'em
"Coach Dad" (June 16) cited many good lessons, but one that stood out for me was the reference to Cleomae Dungy's insistence that young Tony avoid phrases such as "you know," two words that have by their frequent misuse become trite and inane.
-Ralph W. Schultz; West Liberty, Ohio
Encouragement, not hankies
Enough already! The June 9 cover story ("Goodbye again") is just one more in the endless parade of daily stories about casualties in Iraq. Yes, we are deeply grieved for the death of each brave American, and we can only imagine the pain of their families. But honor their sacrifice by reminding us that our soldiers are not just fighting in Iraq but in the Iraqi front of the War on Terror.
-Jim Heggie; Camano Island, Wash.
"Goodbye again" concentrated on the pain of soldiers and their families. "Supporting the troops" does not mean pitying them or bringing them home before their mission is complete. Why not speak more of their successes, such as their effectiveness in killing and capturing the enemy, and making life better for the Iraqis through rebuilding? For example, while I was serving in eastern Baghdad in 2005, we oversaw the completion of many infrastructure projects started by the 1st Cavalry Division of Fort Hood. Give a soldier a pat on the back, not a handkerchief.
-Joshua S. Conary; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Credit where due
I appreciated Megan Basham's review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ("Off course," June 9). As fans of Capt. Jack Sparrow, my family went to see it for our daughter's 14th birthday just days before reading your article. Basham's description of Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom as "dead weight" helped me understand my relief at their "demise." Still, I left the theater feeling great about one thing: that Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner actually got married before spending their one day together.
-Melodee Seelye; Kalispell, Mont.
The more things change
I'm very familiar with the issue of women's head covering ("A symbol of glory," June 2). I grew up in a Scandinavian church begun by immigrants. In the early 1900s our church split, mostly over this issue and over whether men should be allowed to wear neckties. Most of the church my family grew up in took the position that these should be preferences, not mandates. In the other church, the women still wear scarves during worship. The few women in our church who now wear scarves say it means they are "subject to their husbands." I notice the Russian and Romanian immigrants in our area are going through the same struggles our immigrant church did: the "old ways" of head covering versus the "new ways."
-Laura L. Matson; Battle Ground, Wash.
The issue of head covering may be worth only one column, but the radical obedience to the Word of God that prompted it is worthy of multiple articles. It is time that evangelicals got over the embarrassments of a legalistic past, regained our spiritual nerve, and stopped making excuses for the Scriptures.
-Ralph E. Ritter; Brooklyn, N.Y.
The "Step 3" quote in Andrée Seu's "AA revisited" (May 19, p. 43) is from co-founder Clarence Snyder's pamphlet "Going Through the Steps."