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"Mailbag" Continued...

Issue: "Ready or not, here we go," March 28, 2009

Faith-based delay

I helped establish the Faith Based Initiative when I served in the Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003. Former director John DiIulio's distinction ("A faith too saturated," Jan. 31) between "faith-based" programs (eligible for federal funds) and "faith-saturated" (ineligible) is, unfortunately, the current Supreme Court interpretation. My office and the White House advocated early and often to "voucherize" many federal programs, giving the choice to the program beneficiary and making even "faith-saturated" programs eligible for federal dollars. However, Congress was very reluctant to do so and the Constitution's separation of powers hampered us in the executive branch from implementing voucher programs unilaterally. That separation is also delaying changes that the current administration wants to make.
-James A. Davids; Virginia Beach, Va.

Surprising

I enjoy your articles, but I was bothered by your recent review of TV shows ("On the small screen," Feb. 14). Three times the reviewer refers to shows that have overt sexual content but encourages us to watch them anyway. This shrug-of-the-shoulders response to adultery and fornication is surprising.
-Cedric Hohnstadt; Bloomington, Minn.

Convenient compassion

Rep. Heath Shuler believes that Democrats show more compassion for Americans throughout their lives ("Blue dog comeback," Jan. 31), but I don't find creating, and now enhancing, dependence upon government to be compassionate. Rather, it creates a permanent underclass that (quite conveniently) votes Democratic. Although his heart may be in the right place, his solution isn't.
-Karl Schafer-Junger; Santa Cruz, Calif.

Shuler says he isn't a Republican because they are "every man for himself" and that goes against his Christian values. I feel that the more I can gain, the more I can, and do, give to charities, which should be the role of the church and individuals, not the government. The Democratic Party "helps those who cannot help themselves," yes, but it does so with money taken by force from others.
-Robert Lumbrix; Vincennes, Ind.

Hearts can be won

I think the Jan. 17 issue on abortion was one of the best we've ever read. Thank you especially for writing about the history of abortion in America ("Lessons from the past"). I was shocked by the facts, although I shouldn't have been, and yet they gave me hope for the future: Hearts can be won and changed and lives can be saved, even if the laws remain the same.
-Monica Ault; Catonsville, Md.

Worthy Adult Index

As an MIT numbers guy, I well understand how the notion that "you can't manage what you can't measure" has crept into family life ("Keep the numbers up!" Jan. 17). With the significant demands and struggles that parents face, people should not be surprised that parents use the "Worthy Child Index" of grades and awards. Other indices apply to more than our children: cars, boats, vacations, salary, charitable giving, and countless other things we use to try to satisfy our weaknesses (and for which there is only one true saving grace).
-Glenn Sosa; Sarasota, Fla.

Corrections

No Republicans represent northeastern states in the U.S. House of Representatives ("Party of Steele," Feb. 28, p. 44).

Republican U.S. Senator John Thune is from South Dakota ("Cutting the honeymoon short," Feb. 28, p. 48).

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