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Letters from our readers

Saving amendment

Joel Belz's article on Virginia's Senator George Allen ("Political survivor," Sept. 30) was fair, accurate, and articulate, but it did not mention one not-so-little detail that may significantly help Allen at the polls: The state Marriage Amendment protecting traditional marriage will be on the ballot. More than any other issue, it is energizing people.

-Emily Hamilton; Roanoke, Va.

Phone kick

Thanks so much for sharing the Mobile Cellular Phone Agreement between Emily and her parents ("Family calling plan," Sept. 30). I got quite a kick out of it and hope to use it with my kids.

-Summer Vespestad; Slater, Iowa

My heart goes out to Emily. It sounds like she lives under a dictatorship. What happened to grace?

-Terry Wintz; Minneapolis, Minn.

My two older kids each got a phone when they went to college-on their dime. (Now isn't that a metaphor that has gone the way of the pay phone?)

-Jeff Singletary; Lebanon, Ind.

Emily's parents should lighten up. Do they only get to use their cell phone when all their chores are done?

-Brenda Griffith; Vista, Calif.

Congratulations to Robert and Kristie Sulaski for the carefully written contract they negotiated with their daughter. It will teach her the responsible use of her cell phone, and make sure her room gets cleaned.

-Carol Cover; Northfield, Minn.

God of reason

Pope Benedict told the truth about Islam and he made some brilliant points in his speech; namely, that belief in God is not incompatible with reason (The Buzz, Sept. 30). We desperately need to hear this message. Also, you claimed that the pope "apologized" but he only apologized for the reaction his statement caused, not for the substance of what he said.

-Andre Traversa; Chicago, Ill.

Oh-so-difficult

Andrée Seu's column was excellent ("The thing we don't do," Sept. 30). How true it is that forgiving is oh-so-difficult, and perhaps impossible without being awash in the love of God and understanding, in our own little way, the sacrifice He made that we might be forgiven.

-A. Videtich; Big Rapids, Mich.

Sometimes a refusal to forgive is used as a shield to protect our hearts from further hurt. To forgive those who hurt us makes us vulnerable for more hurt, while the hardness of the shield also prevents us from reaching out to others.

-Lucia Goheen; Azalea, Ore.

Andrée Seu has packed more practical punch into one page on forgiveness than I've read in entire books. The example of forgiving in small sums over time will help me put into practice what has been heretofore an unwieldy effort.

-Angela Norell; Minneapolis, Minn.

As a Christian counselor, I use Seu's columns regularly in my practice. She nails it every time, and her wrestling with these issues helps my clients (and me) wrestle with hard and profound questions.

-Cynthia L. Eppley; Dublin, Pa.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Regarding the great mystery of how armadillos crossed the Mississippi River to get into southern Illinois (Quick Takes, Sept. 30), I was amazed at the explanations some scientists offered, from armadillo smugglers to stowing away on boats and hopping on boxcars. I would like to suggest another possibility, ingenious devices that were invented a few years back: bridges.

-Allen Brooks; Sheridan, Wyo.

Go McCain

Seldom do I disagree with you so strongly as with your comments regarding Senator McCain of Arizona ("Content driven," Sept. 30). I am glad that a man who withstood torture is fighting against it, and I honor his attempt to get money, if not out of politics, at least distanced from it. I was not offended by Senator McCain's comments about Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson because I knew he wasn't referring to me. Although I consider myself a "religious right" conservative, I do not identify with either. Who can disagree with the statement, "The politics of division and slander are not our values"? Finally, I am troubled by so many illegal immigrants streaming across the border, but I feel that harsh action against them is anti-Christian.

-Phillip Turfle; Waynesboro, Pa.

Worthwhile

Thanks for "Preaching the gospel of change" (Sept. 30). That kind of writing makes WORLD worthwhile.

-Rachel Garcia; San Antonio, Texas

Balmer's response

Thank you for the kind, gracious treatment you afforded me and my book in the pages of WORLD ("Balmer's lament," Sept. 23). My purpose was to introduce another evangelical voice into the conversation, and I've been distressed that most of the voices coming from the right have failed to engage the substance of my arguments, preferring instead to lob gratuitous insults or misrepresent my positions. You did neither.

-Randall Balmer; New York, N.Y.

Balmer needs to reconsider his beliefs about letting millions die in order to preserve the "worth and dignity" of one terrorist. I was equally puzzled that he chose to compare the screams of terrorists being tortured with the screams of fetuses during abortions. A terrorist chooses to perform illegal activities designed to harm or kill as many individuals as possible, whereas a fetus, incapable of "choosing," is guilty only of trying to survive. To compare the two is morally, theologically, and philosophically repugnant.

-Tim Webber; Dallas, Texas

I was expecting a bleeding-heart-style rant from Balmer. Not this time. His point that we are all sinners and flawed is right on. His comments on originalism seemed very sound to me, as did his position on Social Security. He seems more responsible to me than liberal.

-Harold Seigworth; Grove City, Pa.

Balmer is good at criticizing the religious right, but he seems to kowtow to the left's line of thinking. He has written elsewhere that he wants abortion to be "unthinkable" instead of illegal; applying that logic, he should have no interest at all in torture being made illegal. Balmer may make some valid critiques of the abortion movement, but I would paraphrase D.L. Moody on evangelism: I prefer the religious right's way of working against abortion to Balmer's way of not working against it and attacking those who do.

-John Kreiner; Casselberry, Fla.

Enough Baylor bashing

Now that Baylor University president John Lilly has overturned the decision of the faculty committee and granted tenure to conservative Christian scholar Francis Beckwith ("Baylor boot," Sept. 23; The Buzz, Oct. 7), perhaps the Baylor bashing can halt. Much good is happening at the college. As to faculty, the hires under former president Robert Sloan and former provost David Jeffrey form about half the faculty; those who opposed Beckwith and the move to more serious Christianity are, for the most part, those hired earlier. This decision shows that the college's commitment to the principles of Baylor 2012 is real.

-Brian Lee; Pompton Plains, N.J.

Image is everything

In an age where image is everything, is it significant that Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, at his victory celebration ("For better or for worse," Sept. 23), is wearing a tie with images of horses-which are more like donkeys than elephants ?

-Phil Evaul; Soddy Daisy, Tenn.

Attaboys

I was so blessed to read "Blogging teens" (Sept. 16). It is one of the most encouraging things in all my 78 years. I have sent them "attaboys." Who says it looks dark for our future?

-Robert K. Morris; Atlanta, Ga.