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The right symbol

We were troubled by the cover photo of the girl placing her left hand over her heart ("One nation under God," June 26). This is just one more piece of evidence that America is quickly losing its time-honored traditions. I noticed in the photo on page 21 that the teacher seemed unconcerned that children know the proper way to perform the Pledge of Allegiance, with their right hands over their hearts as a symbol of love and respect. We are also dismayed by the number who do not place their right hands over their hearts when the flag passes by.

-- Delores & Magnum Tulfo; Tacoma, Wash.

I read your magazine every week and was stunned by the cover photo of Sara Orr saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I showed the picture to my staff and asked, "What is wrong with this picture?" They all got it right.

-- Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash. 7th); Washington, D.C.

Jay Sekulow likened the act of young people reciting "one nation under God" to one of the nation's most important and cherished traditions. Considering that this small phrase is a recent addition to the Pledge, I find his statement misleading. God gives us freedom and works through earthly governments for the equality and peaceful rule of all people.

-- Kelly Burns; Baltimore, Md.

Longer odds

Regarding "Bad hearing aides" (June 26): Joel Belz suggests that lawmakers are shying away from supporting the FMA when so much of the American public favors it because the people are simply ahead of the Washington "intelligentsia." I disagree. The real answer is that evangelical Christians don't vote, at least compared to the homosexual lobby. Politicians know that if they mess up with the gays, they'll pay come election time. With Christians, it's a 50/50 gamble as to whether a political career will be damaged.

-- Jay L. Pyburn; Fort Worth, Texas

Delegates to the United Methodist General Conference in May in Pittsburgh voted 624-184 to "support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman," yet Mr. Belz stated that even "the nation's biggest denominations have sounded either a false or an uncertain trumpet on the issue." The United Methodists are the second-largest Protestant denomination in the country. This trumpet vote doesn't seem false or uncertain to me.

-- Richard D. Leach; Hydro, Okla.

Not alone

Thank you for Mr. Olasky's column, "Long, twilight struggle" (June 26). I read it after a restless night, getting up at 3:50 a.m. Those words pretty much describe how I've felt this week, especially after seeing all the positive coverage of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. As for praying for more time so that our society might not perish, my prayer has been, "Even so, come Lord Jesus." The column helped me see that, like Elijah, my feeling like I was the only one left was so wrong.

-- Jenny Doig; Croton, Ohio

I was a little surprised to read the Geisler/Turek quotation in "Long, twilight struggle," which stated that God has left "ambiguity" in the "evidence" for Himself. Doesn't Romans 1 say that God's "invisible" qualities are "clearly seen" in creation? If there is any disconnect between men and God, we must chalk this up to willful ignorance and not a lack of perspicuity in God's special or general revelation.

-- Michael Osborne; Greenville, S.C.

Remembering Ty

We loved the column about Ty Sutton ("Ty that binds," June 26). We were stationed in Hawaii for five years when we were first married and attended church with Ty and Jean. They were a wonderful couple and it was neat to hear more about their life.

-- Ralph & Anne Borgeling; Brownsburg, Ind.

Missing note

I think Andrew Coffin's review of The Notebook ("An emotional note," June 26) missed the most important aspects of the film: the love of a husband for a wife unable to return that love, and the power love can have on a person beyond the reach of modern medicine. In a day when families are being encouraged to send such "problems" away so they can "get on with their lives," or to withdraw food and water to hurry the end of the misery (whose misery?), it is very encouraging to see a movie that supports the traditional Western values of self-dying love and the culture of life.

-- Bob Gutjahr; Raleigh, N.C.

Phil fan

To be able to coach, lead, and keep together a team of not just great players but great egos takes a man of remarkable wisdom and composure. Ex-Laker coach Phil Jackson is just that ("Say 'om,'" June 26). He is the greatest coach in the history of the NBA.

-- Pete Andreas; Pella, Iowa

Fresh approach

"Heavenly free-fall" (June 26) expressed succinctly and beautifully recent random thoughts of this aging boomer whose cultural roots are in the "me generation" but whose heart yearns for a deeper and more meaningful Christian walk. Mrs. Seu's fresh approach to the concept of laying down our lives for another was refreshing and renewing to my soul even as it delivered the kick in the seat of the pants that I needed to press on.

-- Joy McArtor; Hot Springs, Ark.

"Reagan, ja!"

I lived in Sweden when Reagan was president ("Ronald Reagan: 1911-2004," June 19). The Swedes either didn't like him, didn't trust him, or were afraid of him. A Polish friend, however, who had escaped her Soviet-controlled country, held quite a different opinion. With the few words we had in common, she passionately stated, "Reagan, ja [yes], Soviet, nej [no]!" No doubt she would be a Bush supporter today.

-- Cheryl Irish; North Augusta, S.C.

Ending the wait

Ever since the film To End All Wars was featured at the Indianapolis Heartland Film Festival in 2002, I have watched for it to be released. Thanks for letting us know that it has been available as of June 15 ("'R' for redemptive," June 19). It is a must-see.

-- Elaine Stephens; Carmel, Ind.

Closing Garage

My husband and I greatly enjoy the gift subscription to WORLD that a family in our parish gave us last Christmas. We were tickled that Gene Edward Veith spotlighted American Choppers ("Cinderella for guys," June 26). My husband observed that we also used to watch Monster Garage, but its increasing bent toward glorifying evil and humorously referring to Satan turned us off.

-- Natalya Cherry; Knoxville, Pa.


The Scott Peterson murder trial in Redwood City, Calif. ("The O.J. decade," June 26, p. 32).