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Dispatches The Buzz

A northern Democrat hasn't won the presidency in decades, but the lukewarm support for Mr. Bush is concerning. Mr. Kerry's liberalism won't solve any of America's problems. We need to give Mr. Bush our full support, even though we may disagree on particular issues.

-- Fred Hardwicke, Lubbock, Texas

No limits

Thank you for Andree Seu's updated "modest proposal" ("Multiple choice," March 13). Or should that be "immodest proposal"? Either way, it sounds like a logical argument. After all, if the term marriage is no longer exclusive to "one man and one woman," why should we be so narrow-minded as to limit the number of partners involved?

-- Elizabeth G. McCandless, St. Louis, Mo.

Andree Seu has solved a dilemma. Living near San Francisco, my "wife" and I were planning to take our two poodles up to that city and marry them; but since one is male and one female, we have delayed because we couldn't figure out who should marry which. How shortsighted. Clearly, we should both marry both of them. Well, maybe not this year, but within a year or two it will surely be legal.

-- Larry Rippere, Mountain View, Calif.

I would find even more humor in Mrs. Seu's column if I didn't suspect that it all might come to pass.

-- Howard Peek, Lake Zurich, Ill.

Too Catholic?

I commend WORLD for this insightful column ("Stirring up passions," March 13). Our family saw The Passion of the Christ the first week, and Gene Edward Veith expressed my sentiments exactly. Could this be our Lord using Mr. Gibson, in this virtual 11th hour, to prick the souls of a lost world? I think so. Perhaps Mr. Gibson will motivate secular society to verify what they have seen on the screen.

-- Silas D. McCaslin, Savannah, Ga.

Mr. Veith said that some evangelicals see the film as "too Catholic," but I think that misses the point; it is that it is unscriptural in many places, full of inaccuracies and extrabiblical information, and can leave people confused.

-- Julia Kulish, Center Point, Iowa

The senior pastor at my nondenominational, Bible-believing church has decried The Passion for being "too Catholic" and focused needlessly on the goriness of Christ's crucifixion, which Scripture doesn't explicitly describe. I saw the movie and walked away with a fresh realization of Christ dying for my sins, a message I've heard hundreds of times since I was a child.

-- Ron Whipple, Garfield Heights, Ohio

After the movie, I wanted to lay my head down in my lap and cry. Ever since I saw it, almost two weeks ago, I have been reflective and am trying harder every day to be more Christlike. Thank the Lord for His grace, mercy, and the blood He shed at Calvary.

-- Kerri Crawford, Burleson, Texas

If we want a "picture" of what Jesus did for us, why are we not content with the symbols He chose? Why did He keep it so simple if not to direct our thoughts to the spiritual dimension of His sacrifice, which, after all, was the most torturous suffering of our Messiah?

-- Kenneth D. Harris, Pollock Pines, Calif.

Keeping score?

I find Mr. Belz's statement that conservatives haven't done "one-tenth of what you liberals have done in enslaving women" to be inappropriate in light of the sad scenario playing out at the University of Colorado ("Easy target," March 13). Mr. Belz seems to be treating the incident as a chance to keep score in some sort of conservative-versus-liberal sporting event.

-- Michael Hawk Gates, Wheaton, Ill.

As one of the few conservative students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, thanks to Mr. Belz for "Easy target." A contributing factor to the "women-as-objects" mindset he forgot: Many women on campus dress in ways that encourage men to view them as sexual objects. Blame Hollywood if you like.

-- Jerusha Whitney, Boulder, Colo.

System failure

Mr. Thomas's column only begins to scratch the surface of how poorly Baltimore city schools are run ("Out-of-control school spending," March 13). Their fiscal incompetence at the highest level let the deficit run wild, and teachers and administrators entrenched in the system are determined to defeat all attempts to improve the schools. My wife was a first-year teacher in a Baltimore public school as part of a federally funded teacher-training program until she resigned last month. She and other new teachers experienced mainly antipathy and resentment from the teachers and administrators who were supposed to be assisting them.

-- Scott Appelbaum, Baltimore, Md.

Putin's people

I liked the article on Russian President Putin and his ideas ("Putin's romp," March 13). I think Russia is going backward to the old way.

-- Petter Lund, 14, Cincinnati, Ohio

President Putin easily stayed in power after the election, but it is not only due to heavy-handedness or subversive tactics on his part. The Russian people sincerely like and support him and his style of leadership and government, as I have seen firsthand. They cannot cope with the chaotic form of democracy that ran wild under Boris Yeltsin and is closer to what we have in the United States.

-- Lewis Codington, Sheffield, England

Tape then edit

Maybe the Oscars were better than usual ("Lord of the Oscars," March 13) in some areas (no see-through dresses, no anti-war protests), but I was embarrassed by Billy Crystal's nude stint in the opening montage (mimicking a Diane Keaton movie scene). Since it was rated PG, my 11-year-old was watching the first half hour with me. Next time I'll know to tape and then edit.

-- Laraine Viss, Glenside, Pa.

Help wanted

Although new safe-staffing laws won't solve everything, they may help ("The nurse is out," March 13). As an RN, I know that nursing can be physically and emotionally gruelling. Many nurses would return to work if they could be in situations with adequate staff. Forced overtime can also drive nurses away.

-- Franklin Ferguson, Brookline, Mass.

Green ground

Thank you for "Natural allies" (March 6), which addressed how the Green Party and conservatives can find common ground. I am 13 years old, a radical, unashamed Christian, and I tend to be left-wing when it comes to labor unions, taxes, gun control, foreign affairs and, probably more than anything, the environment. At last I have been able to read your magazine with a release of angst.

-- Robert Sapunarich, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.