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Mailbag

Mr. Maxwell depicts conservative NEA delegates in glorious prose, then takes great care to document the potbellies and body piercings of those on the other end of the political spectrum. Such cheap descriptions have no place in your magazine. - J.K. Hassett, Alexandria, Va.

To see how Europe will evolve in the future, keep a close watch on Belgium. Feminism is mainstream, abortion can be done until the day before birth, and girls as young as 13 can get abortions without the parents being informed. Homosexuals have almost all the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. Euthanasia is allowed for minors, against the will of their parents, and a depressed person can get it within one month. - Lionel Roosemont, Heuvelland, Belgium

Media prophets?

Certainly PBS repeatedly reveals its presuppositions in stories like the ones Mr. Belz mentioned ("Making distinctions," July 26). We cannot, however, dismiss every attack on conservatives as false prophecy. The most important item in the news happens to be the integrity of the administration based on the reasoning it used to justify the war in Iraq. Therefore, continued analysis by the News Hour could hardly be called "another rehash" or a "tired story." The news media are tenaciously holding the president accountable for his war case. At least someone is playing the role of the prophet to the king. - Stan Wiedeman, Morton Grove, Ill.

As someone who likes to keep up with current events, and is on the road a lot, I listen to NPR. Since I have started to read WORLD, I now listen to their broadcasts with a little different perspective. That is why I enjoyed Joel Belz's "Making distinctions." - Richard Stover Jr., Abbottstown, Pa.

No help

Joel Belz suggests a constitutional amendment clarifying marriage ("Line in the sand," July 19). Yet how would that help? Our Constitution is nearly ignored already. The government should not sanction homosexual marriage, or, for that matter, heterosexual marriage. Marriage is God's jurisdiction, not the state's. - Greg Wallace, Moweaqua, Ill.

My family turned off the TV a long time agowe watch moviesso we were all glad to see your list of 50 family films ("Heart, brains, courage," June 28). We would add Life is Beautiful, Courage Mountain, and two films about young boys with physical disabilities (with some objectionable elements, but they should be acceptable with parental guidance), Simon Birch and The Mighty. - Melinda Yoho, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Choice is a must

The NEA is a disgrace to the public-education system of this country ("Erasing reform," July 26). NEA leaders should focus on improving the education of our children instead of furthering their liberal political agenda. Their vocal screeching is as productive as fingernails on a chalkboard. Is it any wonder that our children's public education has been compromised? No wonder many parents support a voucher system; choice in the education marketplace is a must because in a private-school classroom the NEA has no voice. - Harold Walker, Addison, Texas

Although I commend the conservatives for trying to make public schools better, it would be better for them to homeschool. - Timothy Merkel, 13, Ellicott City, Md.

An NEA representative once told me that the only way we could change the NEA was to work from within. Your article shows that such would not have happened during my 20-plus years of teaching. I don't join the Democratic Party to change it from within. I join the GOP, or the Greens, or other parties to oppose it from "without." That is what needs to be done with the NEA. - William H. Oliver, Lakeside, Ariz.

Aliens and strangers

Mr. Veith might also have noted that often churches in the Southern Hemisphere are in places where persecution is most severe ("Southward shift," July 26). While becoming a Christian in these countries may cost a believer his job, his freedom, and his life, here millions can't be bothered to get out of bed on Sunday morning. I suspect that Christianity that costs very little is worth very little. - Cheryl Johnson, Oscoda, Mich.

Regarding Mr. Veith's comment that we need missionaries to come to America and Europe, it's already happening. On the evening of July 4, I heard some 5,000 Korean voices rocking the Georgia Tech Coliseum in Atlanta as they cried out to God to have mercy on America. This gathering of Korean Americans was the third national conference of JAMA (Jesus Awakening Movement for America and the world). JAMA was started by Professor John Kim to bring back to America the gospel that Americans had brought to his homeland a little over 100 years ago. The young people gathered left there to carry this gospel to the ordinary Americans in their daily lives as well as overseas. - Ben Torrey, South Windsor, Conn.

Box cutting

Russell Board writes that "Secularism has fashioned a religious box to cover and contain the light of the Christian witness" ("Everything in its place," July 26). Ironically, the only "box" that hinders the spread of the gospel is the "box" that most Christians carry God Himself in. It is not the tenacity or eloquence of our arguments that will make disciples of all nations, but rather the power of the living God helping us live lives that draw all men unto Him. - Mark Lapolla, Scottsdale, Ariz.

I was shocked to read "Line in the sand" and "Ruing a Roe-like ruling" (July 19). Withholding votes from a president who seeks God's heart just because he does not move mountains as fast as we would like seems pretty small-minded. Not voting is actually voting for his opponent. Have we so quickly forgotten the eight years under the Clinton administration? - Doris Ahr, Austin, Texas

Books and movies

"Western culture's top 50" (July 5/12) is a slam dunk. It's fascinating to read of these books that have informed our education and shaped our culture. Congratulations to Mr. Veith and Mr. Olasky for their bold choices. - Emily N. Thomas, Shelbyville, Ky.

As I read your excellent article, with its annotated reading list, I recalled my own enjoyment in reading some of the same books so long ago. I have drifted away from the classics in the past 20 years, but have made a list from your article and am checking each one off as I complete it. - Kay Lovingood, Augusta, Ga.

Romania's future

Regarding the article on Romanian orphans ("Salvaging the unsalvageables," June 7): We just got back from two and a half months in Romania, and intend to go back long-term. Not all the orphanages are brutal placeswe visited several directors who really do care. In many cases, they are understaffed and scramble to do their best. But they are underfunded by the government and struggle to supply enough food. The kids are scrawny, and institutionalized life does them great harm no matter how caring some directors are. But international adoptions aren't the best for Romania's future. The population is already in decline due in part to abortion. We met some tremendously talented kids who, with some help, can go far. They are Romania's future, and our goal is to make them productive citizens of their own society. - Brian Schwartz, Nashville, Tenn.

Correction

The spelling of the last name of California's prime gubernatorial candidate is Schwarzenegger (Aug. 2, p. 19).