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Slower to speak

As a 78-year-old pilgrim who has made more than his share of stupendous blunders, I am appalled at the audacity of two other seniors. Pat Robertson and President Carter ("Tighter lips?" The Buzz, Feb. 18), by this time, should have learned the value of James' admonition "to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger." The temerity of their public statements and the egotism of their defenses are an embarrassment to the cause of Christ. They should retire from the microphones and return to building and feeding.

-Paul B. Clingen, Rifle, Colo.

Ten years after attending Regent University, I would argue that most of the stereotypes ring false. While I was speaking with a faculty mentor, Mr. Robertson pulled up curbside in a flashy new sports car. "A black Ferarri, Pat! What does that say?" mocked my prof. "Go for it!" shot back the Reverend. This hints at the real reason for much of the animosity. He is a bona fide believer and a hugely successful high roller who puts his money where his mouth is. Sure he has strong opinions, but they are shared by millions of viewers and donors. Sophisticates in the evangelical subculture may smart when he whittles away at their hard-won respectability, but no one can deny his impact or integrity.

-Joe Martin, Virginia Beach, Va.

Thank you so much for your article on Pat Robertson. He has blessed many people through the years, including myself. However, in reading your interview I was looking for humility on his part and didn't find much.

-Betty Nelson, Riverside, Ill.

I admire Mr. Robertson's faith but, as someone with family members in Venezuela, his comments calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez were totally out of line. My relatives are in a desperate situation, very frightened of Hugo Chavez, and Mr. Robertson's comments have indirectly caused the expulsion of American missionaries. He needs to think before he speaks

-Joseph S. Canzurlo, Macedonia, Ohio

Spearing

Thank you for standing up for the producers of End of the Spear ("Raining on Spear's parade," Feb. 18), and shame on those who tried to spear the Spear. Many people missed seeing the movie who should have seen the grace and forgiveness displayed. Perhaps this was the only time Chad Allen will be confronted with real Christianity. Let's pray for him and look toward the future.

-Barbara Secrest, Phoenix, Ariz.

Marvin Olasky's attempt to justify casting a militant homosexual activist in the role of Nate Saint was disappointing at best. Instead of excusing the decision on the basis of erring on the side of grace, Mr. Olasky should have condemned it on the basis of truth and righteousness.

-Gary Small, Bellingham, Wash.

End of the Spear was the best Christian film we have ever seen, partly because it does not preach at people. I did not know that a gay activist was in the movie when I saw it. Now that I do, it makes no difference. Mr. Olasky is correct when he says that "beyond prudence and law lies grace."

-Harry Swofford, Oregon City, Ore.

Mr. Olasky makes a solid argument, but the producers still should have re-cast the role. Yes, there must be grace and hopefully a couple of seeds were planted in Mr. Allen's life. But having a gay activist play the role of a Christian missionary is absurd. This film was meant to be an evangelistic tool. I may see this movie, but I am sadly disappointed.

-Josh Nelson, Lewisville, N.C.

Standing up

Thank you for insightful columns by John Piper and Gene Edward Veith on the widespread violence over cartoons of Muhammad ("Being mocked," "Cartoon violence," Feb. 18). I was disappointed, however, that you passed on the opportunity to stand with our courageous European allies by printing the drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, or else explain why you didn't.

-Don Poundstone, Temecula, Calif.

Having gotten to know and like several Muslims over the past several years, I'm always interested in constructive ways to understand our differences. "Being mocked" provided the type of constructive education and understanding that will be necessary for all of us as our religions and cultures continue to clash.

-Bryan Lynch, Houston, Texas

Birthday wish

Congratulations on 20 years of publication ("Light 20 candles," Feb. 18). I have been an avid reader for several years and, as an English teacher, I have been impressed with your consistently well-written articles. Unlike many popular news sources, your syntax is crisp and your diction lively. It's almost as if you expect an intelligent, educated readership. I wish you many more readers.

-Stephen Schuler, Golinda, Texas

Deeper

Regarding Mr. Veith's review of Dirty Jobs ("Dignified work," Feb. 18), that rough, grubby-looking potato farmer from Colorado also turns out to have a heart of gold and a deep spiritual sensitivity. He and his wife are members of the Baptist church where I attend and where he teaches a Sunday school class. Truly, you can't judge a book by its cover nor a man by his appearance.

-Roger Congdon, Cedaredge, Colo.

More, sooner

The abortion battle does not need fewer South Dakotas passing abortion bans, it needs more of them ("Roe in retreat?" Feb. 18). If more states defied the murderous rulings of our courts, I think more protection would come to more babies sooner, not later.

-Mark Robinson, Rosedale, W.Va.

A law prohibiting abortion may make the evangelical community feel good, but how does it help a woman with no other choice for an unwanted pregnancy? As ministers of God's grace shouldn't we be supporting organizations that provide services to women in need of God's love and grace?

-Robert Mehnert, West Bend, Wis.

Warmly debated

I hail the 86 evangelicals who called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gases (The Buzz, Feb. 18). Even if global warming is by natural causes, would it not just be a better choice to reduce emissions, especially when the facts show that the United States is the world's leader in emitting greenhouse gases?

-Rolf Goetzinger, Otis Orchards, Wash.

The earth may warm or cool in the future, but man will have little control over this. Meanwhile, the cost of reducing greenhouse gases will have the unintended consequence of reducing economic opportunities for citizens in the Third World who need the most help.

-Ralph G. Kraft, Monteagle, Tenn.