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Mailbag

Virtuous vision

"Salvation by transgression" (April 15) correctly connected the basic agendas of Hollywood and the political left, which together are a mutual admiration society. The script writers of American Beauty attempted to baptize the drug-dealing photographer's attempts to find beauty in ordinary things, like trash, with his claim that he was catching a glimpse of God. But this trash-exalting philosophy promotes the notion that we can stumble onto beauty in the most unlikely places and suddenly be more enlightened than all those conventional artists who work to reflect it or find it. This is as silly as the notion that we can stumble into advanced moral virtue with one sudden little deed of decency, like not sleeping with a daughter's cheerleader friend after seducing her. - Joel Mark Solliday, New Haven, Conn.

The long arm of Tinseltown

The story on the Oscars was excellent, and WORLD's coverage of entertainment is a valuable pursuit. Hollywood greatly influences the way citizens in this country think-just listen to the discussions around your office on any given day. Christians cannot turn a blind eye toward the long arm of Tinseltown, and we should be aware of current thinking and trends. - Adrian Yelverton, Raleigh, N.C.

You're welcome

Thank you for your probing and thoughtful movie reviews, which have been improving by the issue. I like to let movies stand the test of time before I watch them. Due to your reviews, my wife and I recently enjoyed Life Is Beautiful and The Winslow Boy. It's also nice to know about the bad stuff in the other movies out there so that we can avoid watching them. - Samuel Sanseri, Milwaukie, Ore.

WORLD secularized

Congratulations on the complete secularization of your movie review section. I had to look hard to find any difference at all between WORLD and movie reviews in People. - Steve Holle, Billings, Mont.

Be there

As an aspiring Christian filmmaker, I am frustrated by our attitude toward Hollywood-always "them" vs. "us." We complain about movies but we have been absent from the film culture; consequently films are not about Christianity. - Matthias Shapiro, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

Then and now

The article by Cal Thomas on self-control instead of more gun control is exactly right ("Why not self-control," April 15). I grew up in an area where we drove to school with rifles in our gun racks. No one ever shot anyone at school. We now have thousands of gun laws in this country and school shootings seem to occur regularly. - Stephen Fogler, Tucson, Ariz.

Who needs journalists?

I find it comical that journalists are so outraged at the selection of Leonardo DiCaprio to interview President Clinton for the Earth Day news special ("Anchors away," April 15). The typical American newscast has become a cafeteria dishing out bits of distracting entertainment. It should come as no surprise that an actor was chosen to fill the role of the "news" correspondent. - Douglas Johnson, Zionsville, Ind.

Who needs journalists?

I find it comical that journalists are so outraged at the selection of Leonardo DiCaprio to interview President Clinton for the Earth Day news special ("Anchors away," April 15). The typical American newscast has become a cafeteria dishing out bits of distracting entertainment. It should come as no surprise that an actor was chosen to fill the role of the "news" correspondent. - Douglas Johnson, Zionsville, Ind.

No, they're over the line

I am responding to a letter in your April 22 Mailbag alleging that the article on the white slave trade "went over the line" ("No sale," March 25). The people who force women into prostitution are the ones who have gone too far. I do not consider myself a religious person, but I read WORLD regularly, and "No sale" was one of the most informative and distressing pieces you have published. - Nathan Cain, Fairview, N.C.

Safe, for now

I passed out "My sidewalk survey" (April 15), about what Americans don't know about the Bill of Rights, to my public-school Senior History students as a quiz. The 28 students willing to complete the quiz for a grade managed to list between three and nine rights. One student listed "Trial by Jerry." When I asked what that meant, another explained, "Springer." I figure that the republic is safe until the end of May, when some of these students will graduate. - Max Forsythe, Columbus, Ohio

Mean extortion

Thank you, Joel Belz, for your thoughtful editorial, "O' both your houses" (April 8). But to excuse the extortion efforts of the government against the tobacco companies is uncomfortably close to the doctrine that "the end justifies the means." - Paul W. Chase, Anoka, Minn.

About time

I listen to Dr. Laura every day when picking up my 11-year-old sister from school ("Tolerance no more," April 8). She and I love Dr. Laura very much. There are plenty of highly opinionated people on television and radio; it's about time we got someone who actually has morals and supports the Ten Commandments. - Becky Cannon, Visalia, Calif.

Hang in there

I commend the executives of Paramount on their stance concerning Dr. Laura's show, and encourage them not to give in to the bigoted and hypocritical outcry from those who seek to prevent Paramount and Dr. Laura from exercising their rights of free speech. Those promoting the homosexual agenda through such heavy-handed techniques build barriers of separation that lead to hatred and violence. - Ben Torrey, South Windsor, Conn.

Making peace

Even though it appeared that Mr. Alberty was on trial, the message has still come through-America legally aborts unborn babies and sells the remains for profit ("Anatomy of a debacle," April 1). The truly amazing thing is that this is a shocking revelation. Why is selling the body parts of aborted babies for profit worse than aborting the babies for profit in the first place? I am horribly ashamed to admit that I was once pro-choice. I have made my peace with God, and am trying to help end this gruesome part of our culture. I pray that pro-choicers appalled by the selling of baby body parts would wake up to their hypocrisy and do the same. - Glenda Carnes, Indianapolis, Ind.

Winning to win

I support Alan Keyes but voted for George Bush in Tennessee, rather than possibly contribute to putting Mr. McCain in the White House. There is no benefit in losing the war on principle now when you can win a smaller battle which will help you win the war later. The war will be won after several more battles. - Phil Wade, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Americans don't care

Too many Christians incorrectly assume that a majority of Americans care about the issues these third-party candidates so passionately articulate, and that an "all or nothing" approach to politics will make a difference in today's secular society. In November it will come down to a choice between a man who will sign a ban on partial-birth abortion and a man who defends everything surrounding abortion. Those who make a "vote of conscience" will inadvertently bring about the second. - Laurie Liberati, Columbia, Md.

Don't say it

While I am no friend of big government, I don't see how the SEC project to monitor Internet discussion groups for investor fraud using automated computers infringes on anybody's right to privacy ("We're from the government, and we're here to help," April 15). Every freedom has responsibilities, and every openly shared thought is subject to public scrutiny-and archival. In other words, if you are not ready to bear the consequences of your words, don't utter them in public. - Randy Kreisel, Robbinsdale, Minn.

The question

To the letter writer who asked, "Would Jesus carry a gun?" (Mailbag, April 8), I ask, Would Jesus need a gun? The proper question is, Does God allow men to defend their families and property? - Lisa A. Ebling, Moclips, Wash.

Orthodox existence

While the update on Kosovo was generally good, it failed to recognize the work of the Orthodox Church in the region ("Smoke hasn't cleared," April 8). This article describes Albanians as Muslim, not even mentioning the existence of the Albanian Orthodox Church, which suffered greatly at the hands of the communists. They are very much a part of relief efforts and a legitimate part of Albanian society. - Robert D. Sexton, Editor

The Orthodox Reader, Fresno, Calif.

You're an idealist

Regarding Joel Belz's column on Howard Phillips, I would point out that America was established and made great by some of the most "idealistic" men who ever lived, like Patrick Henry ("In an ideal world," March 25). Voting for the lesser of two evils still gives you evil. Some may brand me an "idealist," but I'm voting for Howard Phillips. - Peter Kershaw, Branson, Mo.