Both times I was pregnant there was never any doubt that the fetuses were alive, although Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe so ("A moral evil," Sept. 6). And although Barack Obama says that he would seek to decrease abortions ("His to win," Sept. 6), he still wants to prevent government restrictions on abortion through the Freedom of Choice Act. With this issue and others, Obama seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth.
-Elizabeth Patchet, Eau Claire, Wis.
For Rick Warren to characterize Obama, who supports unrestricted abortion, as a "thoughtful consensus builder" ("His to lose," Sept. 6) is appalling.
-Christopher Cooper; Oro Valley, Ariz.
I am tired of the inaccurate mantra of the left, repeated by Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, that pro-lifers care only about making sure a baby is born but do nothing to ensure that baby has a healthy and safe childhood. In my small community, at least three conservative groups run organizations that cater to new mothers and their babies in need. The selfless generosity of such people should not be overlooked because of political bias.
-Lisa Williams; Milford, Pa.
Richard Rorty ("Rorty's rebels," Sept. 6) admitted that he was "trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable." Why is this acceptable? We send our kids to government schools to sit under government employees for hours each day, 180 days each year, and expect them to cling to the values taught to them by their Sunday school teachers and pastors for two hours each week?
-Dan Bowers Jr.; Crestview, Fla.
Someone defined insane as "doing the same thing and expecting different results." I can see that kind of attitude in Obama's education proposals ("Making the grade," Sept. 6).
-Matthew Smithson; Romulus, Mich.
"Reading at risk" (Sept. 6) hits the nail on the head. As a dyslexia tutor, I make good money correcting the mistakes of our schools. I spend my time teaching students to break words into phonemic parts and applying rules of phonics not offered in school. By using a sensory approach, I can help them make new pathways between the left and right sides of the brain (one main problem with dyslexia) so that they can properly process what I am teaching. While I appreciate the income and am amazed at the results, it frosts me that the schools aren't doing the job in the first place.
-Lynne Burke; Campbell, Calif.
Unfortunately, "Reading at risk," as do many treatments of reading pedagogy, draws lines of difference between perspectives in inappropriately harsh and combative terms. No one disputes the value of using sound-symbol cues in recognizing printed words. Rather, the issue is a matter of how much phonics, and what kind of phonics, is helpful.
-Tom S. Schroeder; Muncie, Ind.
No divided loyalty
I just read Marvin Olasky's article on how we are becoming more of a society of "from one, many" ("Subtract and divide," Sept. 6). Recently my mother, whose parents immigrated from Sweden in the early 1900s, described how she spoke English in her household growing up. As her father said, "I am an American now and I speak only American." No divided loyalty there.
-Diane Christianson; Grand Rapids, Mich.
Learn without baggage
A phrase that jumped out at me in "Barack to school" (Sept. 6) was "encourage universal voluntary preschool." I am an anthropologist and work in a former French colony in Africa where parents who want to be modern strive to enroll their children in preschool as early as age 3. French educational philosophy attempts to break the parent/child bond so the child picks up the government-mandated culture, not the parents'. Christian parents would be better off educating their children themselves, as you say. "Free" education in Cameroon is expensive, so I point out that with parental help a child who begins school at age 8 can learn in a few months what others learned in the previous five years, but without learning to despise his parents and worship the state.
-Marian Hungerford; Guider, Cameroon
Work more, worry less
Thanks for the story on J. Budziszewski's book for Christian students at secular colleges ("Show and tell," Sept. 6). As a Christian professor in a secular university, I've felt the sting of misinterpretation and outright hostility at previous universities. However, not all professors at secular universities are left-leaning atheists. And I have had Christian students attack me at the first syllable that came out of my mouth-although I'm a Rick Warren type of evangelical! Instead of thoughtfully prepared essays based on logic and evidence, they send me long personal testimonies, hoping to bring me to Jesus. Students should go to campus and seek out Christian professors to bond with. Then they should do good work, and worry less about The Attack of the Atheist Professor.
-Pamela H. Long; Montgomery, Ala.
Needed but biased
Thanks for Mindy Belz's column on the importance of print media and journalism ("Freedom isn't free," Sept. 6). As a 20-year-old whose interest in the news has grown with the rise in online news, I had not understood the value and importance of journalists on the ground. She deftly pointed out what now seems obvious: The structure of a local print newspaper can provide facts that would otherwise remain unknown.
-Mary Bull; Seoul, South Korea
These days our local paper, which was once very good, just rips left-leaning stories off the AP wire, while local news is sparse and also heavily biased to the left. To subscribe to the paper is to subsidize the left. I get my news from a variety of online sources and am aware that this deprives these papers of income, but I cannot in good conscience pay money to newspapers that represent a political point of view diametrically opposed to mine and that typically sneer at people of faith.
-Robert Hellam; Seaside, Calif.
The Warren effect
Thank you for the summary of the interview with Rick Warren ("Ordinary man," Sept. 6). It would be nice to have him answer some hard questions, from his views on Roman Catholicism to global warming to sitting down with Muslims. I have tried to be somewhat tolerant of the Purpose Driven movement, but as a pastor seeking to have a biblically ordered church, I wish it were so simple. So much of what he does affects people coming through our doors and, regretfully, a great deal of it is not good.
-Jeff Gwinn; Woodland Park, Colo.
How encouraging to read about the emphasis on Scripture and biblical worldview at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, and that prospective members must "be willing to sign our [four-part] membership covenant." Thank God not all mega-churches are created equal.
-Peter Kushkowski; Portland, Conn.
You noted the Democratic National Committee's anger over McCain's association with Ralph Reed (Human Race, Sept. 6). I am confused over this because the DNC seems to have no problem regarding Obama's associations. He attended Rev. Wright's racist church for 20 years without any repercussions and had some connection to Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers. Why are their standards different and why do so many seem not to care?
-Deborah Turner; Selmer, Tenn.
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.
I saw the photos and write-up about the New Hope Methodist Church in Marietta, Ga. (Houses of God, July 26) and was totally frustrated and grieved. I think that the greatest temptation facing believers in Western cultures is our love of creature comforts. Seeing this pastor keeping his flock as "comfortable" as possible in a drive-in church just reinforced this belief.
-Debbie Tobler; Makakilo, Hawaii
UPS is apparently not a current contributor to Planned Parenthood ("David versus Goliaths," July 12, p. 68). A UPS local branch in 2004 gave $100 to Planned Parenthood of Susquehanna Valley.