"The mule and the lamb" (Jan. 15)
Marvin Olasky's article about George Friedman's new book presents a chilling analysis of our country's past and present foreign affairs incompetence. Since 1945 our egos and arrogance have shown us to be international dunces rather than diplomats. Increasingly spoiled Americans vote according to "what's in it for me" rather than what's best for the country. Friedman's book may well provide this country's epitaph if we can't bring ourselves to consider seriously the world's real issues.
Don Keene; Edmonds, Wash.
"Ending the fibbing" (Jan. 15)
Having recently retired from the military, I believe that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will have dire consequences. Now gays can serve "openly." What does that mean? How many additional hours of sensitivity training do the troops need now? Instead of combat training, we will conduct classes on how to tolerate straights, lesbians, homosexuals, cross-gendered, and those who are questioning. Where will this lead?
Roman G. Golash; Palatine, Ill.
Conduct in the military should be totally devoid of any sexual concerns. Troops need to react instinctively to commands, with implicit confidence that there are no ulterior motives in those commands. When David saw to it that Uriah was assigned the most dangerous position on the battlefield and then killed, surely the troops took notice and David's credibility as a commander was destroyed. Our nation's survival is not a social experiment.
Pete Malone; St. Charles, Ill.
Two or three years ago my company added the phrase, "showing aversion toward an individual because of . . . sexual orientation, gender identity" to its policy defining offensive conduct. This year it decided to provide benefits to same-sex partners. So, now gays can be open about their sin even if it is offensive to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but it's not OK to make statements about it. Why does this not make sense?
K. Meyer; Chantilly, Va.
"A bold venture" (Jan. 15)
Many thanks for your most recent article about a New Year's mission statement. These seem to be very exciting times to be a Christian. As I read, listen, watch, and think, it seems that God is moving deeply in His church to help us do what you advocate: Step into those waters before they have parted.
Mary Flickner; Duncanville, Texas
After reading "A bold venture," my wife and I read from our favorite devotional book by Fredrik Wislof, in which he says: "Dear God, grant that the tapestry of my life may be properly woven. I give Thee the shuttle. Do with me as Thou wilt, if only Thy image may some day be the design in my tapestry when the threads of my life are cut off and the tapestry is judged." From that I made the following mission statement: To have Christ's image as the design in the tapestry of my life each day.
David R. Christenson; Lynnwood, Wash.
"Swearing off pork" (Jan. 15)
The article by Emily Belz and Edward Lee Pitts was very enlightening. I pulled out my old four-function calculator to figure out the per "porkchop" price for those 9,000 earmarks in 2010, but it didn't have enough digits to enter the entire $17 billion. Using my daughter's school calculator, I came up with $1.9 million per pop. If Congress can't cut down on earmarks, we're in for continuing rough waters.
Tim Sizemore; Freehold, N.J.
This was a great article highlighting the untiring efforts by a determined minority to stop the earmark gravy train, but you didn't mention Sen. Jim DeMint's heroic efforts. It was he who challenged the Senate last November to a two-year earmark ban. His persistence persuaded Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to have a change of heart on the issue.
John Hutcheson; Greenville, S.C.
"Choice denied" (Jan. 15)
It is truly shocking that nurse Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo was pressured to participate against her conscience in a late-term abortion. Shame on Mount Sinai Hospital. At the same time, she was not "forced" to participate. She was "pressured" to participate and she chose to give in. She could have refused and accepted the consequences, probably losing her job. But the value of human life far surpasses the value of one's career.
Geoffrey L. Willour; Brick, N.J.
"Worthy western" (Jan. 15)
I was glad to see WORLD give a positive review of True Grit, but I have to point out that the film's "comic gore" cannot be laid at the feet of the Coen brothers. The scene in which one bandit cuts off the fingers of another comes straight from the source, Charles Portis' excellent novel, which is well worth reading even if you've seen the movie.
Jordan M. Poss; Tiger, Ga.
"Tron: Legacy" (Jan. 15)
I had to groan when Rebecca Cusey stated that the reason to see Tron: Legacy "is for the experience. Lights flash. Radiating discs hurl through the air in 3D. The music pounds. In the end, you're left exhausted and satisfied." I couldn't help but draw the parallels to Huxley's Brave New World, in which people regularly go for entertainment to "the feelies," sensational movies designed to satisfy the viewer with experience, not substance. In the end, the Savage says, "You're . . . making works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation. It all seems to me quite horrible."
Stephanie Webb; Plymouth, Ind.
"The pilgrim's progress" (Jan. 15)
The three wishes Andrée Seu suggested for the new year resonated with me. I've already begun to pray over each of them.
Megan Centers; Tallahassee, Fla.
Quotables (Jan. 15)
The comic implying new House Speaker John Boehner cries too easily is ill-conceived and insensitive. Anyone who does not become emotional about some things (especially patriotism or the achievement of a long-sought goal) should check his pulse. Thank goodness that Boehner does not control his emotions like an actor. We already have quite enough of those in Washington.
Don Crawford; Kirksville, Mo.
"Remaking a religion" (Jan. 15)
Daniel Pipes suggests that yes, we should install faucets at airports to accommodate Muslim cab drivers. He compared it to establishing houses of worship, but I don't think that is a reasonable comparison. If a cab driver needs water for ritual washing, he can carry a couple of gallons in his vehicle. He must not expect support for personal rituals to be integrated into society's infrastructure.
Brian Schwartz; Portland, Ore.
"Not getting any younger" (Jan. 15)
While I heartily agree that the retirement age must rise now (this Gen Xer plans on working to at least 72), I still think that we need to increase immigration, a fundamental part of the building of this country. Perhaps fertility rates are falling in Mexico, but there are many other "prospects" in India, China, Africa, and elsewhere. A collaboration between industry and government would help both by drawing new talent for industry and new taxpayers for the government.
Kirk Vogt; Simpsonville, S.C.
Dispatches (Jan. 15)
Your brief item mentions Chatroulette as "the dubious and random video-chatting website." I must say that "dubious" is far too mild a description. It is quite simply "pornographic." Everyone I know who has gone to this site (children and adults) has been exposed to nudity and inappropriate sexual activity. How sad that it is such a popular site.
Beth Littlejohn; Blowing Rock, N.C.
"Long hours and little thanks" (Dec. 18)
You mentioned Dr. Roland Stevens, a surgeon working in Zimbabwe at the Karanda Mission Hospital. We just visited this amazing hospital with a team from our church. We saw Jesus in the AIDS wards, in the children's ward, in the faces of every caregiver. We are not the same.
Ken & Bonnie Pavkov; Pittstown, N.J.
Genesis 2:24 establishes marriage as the foundation of civil society ("A vanishing breed," Jan. 15, p. 20).