The worthy walk
Thank you for the articles on faith-based organizations ("The audacity of real change," Aug. 23). A young man in our congregation is trying very hard to come out of a life of addiction, and we in the church's leadership have been struggling to help him in his daily struggles. Thank you so much for reminding us how God is working in our country to help these new believers "walk in a manner worthy of the calling."
-Wayne LaFond; North Branford, Conn.
I look forward every year to the "Samaritan Award" issue. It is so inspiring to read about people who are being reached for the Lord through these wonderful programs. I just can't put it down until I've read every one of the articles.
-Nancy Stanley; Fair Oaks, Calif.
The man and his record
I have been very disturbed to realize how many Christians have been swayed by Barack Obama's silver and eloquent tongue ("Messiah complex," Aug. 23). We need to remember the importance of appointing Supreme Court justices and McCain's long-proven pro-life record instead of being swayed by words that sound good from a man who has never voted against abortion. Pastor Joel Hunter of Orlando is fooling himself if he feels that placing "pleasing" words in the Democratic platform will bring any change to that party's historic stance (The Buzz, Aug. 23).
-Anne Johnson; Medford, Ore.
Excellent column by Gene Edward Veith. I remember Bill Clinton's arrival on the national scene in 1992 when I lived in California, but this "Obama worship," by the media in particular, is far beyond Clinton worship back then. Of course, Clinton turned out to be less than a dud, shall I say. I would not expect Obama to do any better, but what damage will he do to the United States, and to world politics? But we need not worry for God is still in control; Jesus is our only Messiah and King.
-Terry Hyde; Chestermere, Alberta
Truth and options
WORLD cites, in the article comparing the McCain and Obama health-care proposals ("Second opinion," Aug. 23), the claim that "47 million Americans are uninsured." But according to the Business & Media Institute, that figure includes 9.5 million people who are not U.S. citizens and 17 million people in families that make more than $50,000 per year but choose not to purchase health insurance. That figure also includes those between jobs who have insurance again within four months. Before either candidate proposes vast, new, and expensive government programs, he should at least know the truth.
-Marlene Gardner; Manheim, Pa.
WORLD reports that health insurance for a family of four averages $12,000 per year. But that isn't the only option for privately insured families. Our family of nine costs $568 per month. Sure, I could pay $1,000 per month for a policy that has a lower deductible and office co-pays, but we budget for normal health-care costs and pay for insurance to cover large, unexpected medical bills. Lots of folks say that they can't afford health insurance, but they can afford BlackBerry phones, large houses, and Starbucks coffee.
-Bev Parrish; Houston, Texas
A heartless nation
Regarding "Our insane mental health system" (Aug. 23): One of my family members is bi-polar, and it has been a decades-long struggle finding the right medication and the best counseling. My stepson, also bi-polar, died tragically at age 29 in a state of confusion after going off his medication. It's a heartless nation that promotes "human rights" by casting its mentally ill to the wolves under the guise of "deinstitutionalization." This is as diabolical as promoting abortion to relieve society of those other "inconvenient" individuals. And we call ourselves enlightened? God help us.
-Claire Holdrick Hughes; Fredericksburg, Texas
E. Fuller Torrey touts the benefits of psychiatric drugs, but we need to take his prescription for helping the homeless "mentally ill" with a grain of salt. While deinstitutionalization has probably created as many problems as it has solved, the confused souls roaming our streets do not need mind-numbing drugs. Instead of billions spent on drugs, the homeless could benefit from affordable housing subsidies, job coaching, and transportation assistance. And of course the gospel, which is free. See Robert Whitaker's Mad in America for a sobering critique and history of institutional psychiatry.
-Jeffrey C. Danco; Bound Brook, N.J.
Mindy Belz clearly has her finger on the pulse as far as Communist China is concerned ("Beyond the arena," Aug. 23). The government of China is no friend of freedom, and hopefully not everyone will forget this after watching the spectacular public-relations efforts in Beijing.
-Paul E. Taylor; Vineland, N.J.
Thanks for the double whack upside the head. As the pastor of a church of 80 that refuses to grow according to my will, I am prone to complaint and discouragement. Your picture and caption of one pastor's self-supported ministry in the slums of Manila ("Houses of God," Aug. 23) and Andrée Seu's admonition to take responsibility for our heart's condition ("The active heart," Aug. 23) set me straight after a particularly difficult day.
-Tim Kirkes; San Dimas, Calif.
The world has lost a great man in Alexander Solzhenitsyn ("What men live by," Aug. 23), but we can thank God he left his trace upon this earth. His words have affected and deeply moved many people, including me. The music of some Russian composers (such as Shostakovich) will too seldom be heard because they were too afraid to anger the Communist government. But through agony-and years in the gulags--Solzhenitsyn refused to let governmental whims determine what and how he would write. As long as people love God and liberty, Solzhenitsyn will not be forgotten.
-Danielle Shirley, 15; Pecatonica, Ill.
Neither is waterboarding
After 30 years of heroin/opiate addiction and four years as a substance-abuse counselor prior to a relapse (leading to my present incarceration), I know something about this subject, and so I'm concerned about Theodore Dalrymple's book, Romancing Opiates ("Drug of choice," Aug. 9). His notion that heroin users have "made a determined effort to become" addicts is absurd. My own experience, and the lives of scores I've known, refutes the assertion that addicts "do not become criminals to support their habits." True, medical assistance is not normally required for heroin withdrawal, but only because withdrawal is not typically life-threatening. Neither is water-boarding. The "horrors of withdrawal" are real and the primary reason why those who want to stop, don't. Further, to claim that heroin is not highly addictive is to embolden vulnerable young people who would otherwise rightly fear experimenting with the drug.
-David Peterson; Jackson, Mich.
Too much love?
I appreciate WORLD but am very troubled by Janie Cheaney's concluding question to "Disorganized religion" (Aug. 9): "How can you [who claim to follow Jesus yet remain outside His church] love Christ and despise His body?" Perhaps there are those who love Christ and His true body too much to support any group calling itself His church that would knowingly deny Him. I do love Jesus Christ and His body of true believers. But we have been in many churches over many years and been grieved and nearly overwhelmed by the reality that they are deeply corrupted. We wonder at what point they are not churches at all.
-Tom Viets; Forest, Va.
Clearing up memories
The "Remembering the summer of '68" issue (Aug. 9) was amazing. Boy, did it bring back memories, and it clarified a few things too.
-Joe LoGiudice; Lakewood, Calif.
NYU visiting research scholar Jeff Sharlet considers himself neither an atheist nor an assailer of Christianity ("Power vs. Love," Sept. 6). He celebrated Hanukkah when he was 5 years old. He states that he does not yearn for power-"That's why I'm a journalist"-and has been "greatly impressed and persuaded by Cornel West's thinking on the 'love ethic,' as well as the centrality of love in Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and teaching."
One Nation, a sponsor of the Islam program at the Religion Newswriters Association's annual conference this month, is a nonpartisan organization representing American Muslims ("Conference on covering Islam," Sept. 6, p. 11).