Reader Mail

Americans in Service to Americans

Ben Stein strikes another chord. Plus: Lisa, one and only. Help me, Hillary. Afghan understandings. Ireland pays a price. Socialized water. Oscar Ben in permanent reruns. And much more.

3.29.06

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OUR SERVICE SOCIETY
Re: Ben Stein's Better People Than I Am:

Mr. Stein, please do not sell yourself short.

I have heard Walter Williams, the professor of economics from George Mason University and TownHall.com commentator, remark that our economic system is built upon service. I serve my employer by contributing to the successful completion of his business venture and he serves me by taking a portion of the revenue and paying me for the contribution. My grocer serves me by providing fresh, safe foods and I serve him by sharing the wealth provided by my employer so that he can improve his facilities, buy replacement products, and provide for the needs of his family. Similar transactions are repeated billions of times every day and are the basis of successful capitalism. Let us not forget that it is our service to others that is the investment that leads to our being served.

In early Christianity, the Apostle Paul defines the social order in the new church as one of many members each with different talents and skills contributing to total health of the new organization. The comparison used is to our physical bodies of numerous parts, each performing a function for which it was designed, and damaging the function of the organization if that part hurts or becomes corrupted. The parts may be powerful or weak, very visible or modestly covered, seemingly important or weak, but nonetheless each is required in its own way to fulfill the mission of the group.

The system fails in two ways: when we fail to prove the service that is our part to provide or we try to serve in a way that is not part of our design. Both are personal failures and not imperfections in the system.

As for you Mr. Stein, you serve me often in ways that only you can. Your insights serve to pick up my spirits when I do not feel like serving as I should. You remind me of the important things. You entertain with your talents. Your financial commentary is part of the vast amount of info I use to pick my own investments. My service to you is that I am a subscriber to TAS, and I buy products that are advertised so that your employers can compensate (serve) you.

The volunteers that you so rightly lionize in your commentary are neither more or less deserving of our praise than is anyone else that has accepted their particular call to service. Is some service more financially lucrative than others? Of course. Is it more important to the overall effectiveness of what society accomplishes? I do not think so. Without a doubt, the delicate balance tips and society moves incrementally toward chaos when folks accept service, i.e. get paid, without serving others and when we attempt to serve in ways in which it is not our destiny to serve.

Thank you, Ben, for your service.
-- Joe Strader
Glasgow, Kentucky

From all that I've read on this site, your readers regard you as The American Spectator's resident philosopher. How old are you? Are you just now discovering that one can only be first by putting others first. Even the writers of Groundhog Day had learned that lesson.
-- Tom Wolenski

Thanks Ben, good article. Have a story about the egg-laying hens. I live in the country and wanted to raise hens for fresh eggs, so I went to one of the egg farms and bought some of their three-year-old used up hens. Just so you know some of these "old" hens lived many years, but the fun part of this story is when I would get these poor hens home and put them on the ground they acted like it was going to kill them. They had never had anything but wire under them. Always made me feel good to see how happy they were to be able to scratch in the dirt and just be a chicken.
-- Elaine Kyle

Please tell Ben Stein that the wild horses of Montana are not "shot by riflemen in helicopters." He has succumbed to animal rights propaganda, easy to happen in Hollywood.
-- Ann
Ohio

I appreciate Ben Stein's humility and appreciation of the fact that those who should be held in highest honor are those serving others -- quietly, consistently, and without need for, or expectation of, recognition. However, when he says: "...and hope, some day, to learn from them," why not make it today? To Ben, and everyone one of us, I would say: while it may not be too late to serve others, especially in obscure ways or obscure places, it certainly is never too soon.
-- Nick Hauser

Relay to Ben Stein that his latest article on who the truly great are in this country is a classic. I am in awe of the humility he displays in this article!
-- unsigned

WELL-STATED ILLS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Life After Two Deaths:

Lisa did it again. She captured our troubles today in a succinct manner, exposed the darkness of our current culture, and elucidated the manipulation and recklessness of today's mainstream media, while supporting the goodness and greatness of our country by its more responsible citizens who believe in morals and values. Each time I see an article written by her in The American Spectator, I read hers first because she has such clarity, thoughtfulness, common sense, dignity and respect for what is important to our country and its future. Thank you for publishing her work. I gain a lot of insight from her writings and recognize so much of myself in her thoughts and beliefs as do other Americans who know what makes this country great and understand what it takes to retain it.
-- Frances Meehan
Santa Barbara, California

STAYED TRUE
Re: Nicholas Thimmesch II's Lyn Nofziger: An Appreciation:

Amen to Thimmesch's piece. Lyn Nofziger was the model for those of us who hoped we could come to D.C. to do good and stay to do more good. A difficult course. Lyn stayed it.
-- Neal Freeman

"Lyn was a stand up guy in a town full of men who sit down when they urinate: he will be sorely missed."

As Milton Berle often said, "I wish I'd said that... And I will!" Sure beats Arnold's "Girly Men" quip.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

HEALTH SCARE
Re: Robert M. Goldberg's Liberal Hypocrisy on Medicare:

I don't believe you have ever been without health care. And it appears you are more interested in the businesses profiting than the people having access that are not in your great position. Be this cynical, when you or a love one has cancer or something worse and you don't have health insurance. Things and situations change.

Your bashing Mrs. Clinton doesn't negate the fact this administration has not done anything for seniors or those without insurance or underinsured Americans struggling to pay for treatment. I don't think you have the capacity to be trusted with writing an article this important.

"Mrs. Clinton cannot be trusted to be truthful on health care. Over a decade ago, she was shrill and commandeering." Says who -- YOU. Tell me this when no one is representing your interest. Oh, you were the wealthy, big business, and this administration.
-- Barbara Brisco

INERTIA'S WASHINGTON EPIDEMIC
Re: Quin Hillyer's Judge Knot:

It's about time someone has brought this back to the forefront. Well done!
-- Bruce

"The utter cluelessness of the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate continues to show itself..." It's not just in the Senate, as Quin Hillyer says, but it's in the House and down at that big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. One wonders how many of them, whatever their address, are RINOs masquerading as Republicans?

Regardless, should the elephants lose in 2006 and then in 2008, wonder if they'll even be aware enough to understand that they lost?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

In my humble opinion, what the Republican Party needs to do is to collectively, under the leadership of Senator Frist, take a field trip in order to solve their complete lack of intestinal fortitude problem. Now, one might ask what a field trip might accomplish? Very good question indeed and I have the answer.

Senator Frist and the boys and girls in the Republican Party collectively, need to take a page out of Dorothy and Toto's travel log. The field trip should include following the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz. Once in the Land of Oz, they can all visit The Wizard of Oz and ask and or beg, the Wizard for some courage. And with any luck, they can take that courage back to Washington, D.C. and use it. Perhaps in the end, they can collectively pull their collective tails out from between their collective legs and stand up for true conservative principles. And what a wonderful change that would
be.
-- Jim L.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

DEMOCRACY'S INSECURITIES
Re: G. Tracy Mehan III's Misunderstanding Afghanistan:

Mr. Mehan is correct, Afghanistan is misunderstood. Unfortunately, he also misunderstands exactly what the U.S. and the world need in the Middle East. While we need allies in that part of the world, the last thing that the world needs is a Muslim regime, stable or otherwise, in the Middle East. For that matter, any regime that holds fast to dogmatic religious teachings that discriminate against members of other religions or oppress their own followers is undesirable, anywhere. History has shown that all that do either start out or become oppressive. This is true of some social systems as well (Fascism, communism, Nazism). What is needed are governments that respect certain standards such as, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, equality of all citizens, etc. Demanding that the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq adhere to these standards will do more to ensure the security of the U.S. than trusting to the goodwill of an oppressive regime that does not embrace standards held by this country.

The world has shrunken considerably in the last fifty years. In 1950, what happened in China may not affect the United States for several days, weeks or even months. Now, it is only a matter of minutes or hours before effects can be felt around the world. A global society is on the build, and stable societies are built upon common standards. Standards that are held, or at least understood, by most of the members of that society. Now is the time to introduce positive standards of civilized behavior and to reinforce them whenever possible. Some people, and states, may continue to hold and display behaviors that are considered anti-social or uncivilized by the rest of society. Those that do so are either ostracized or chastised by their peers.

We need short-term allies in our war on terror, but we must never lose sight of the long term changes that we would see happen in the world. I want the Earth to enjoy a stable, tolerant society. After all, the Earth is where I keep my stuff.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It is more than the fate of an individual Christian convert. It is the culture that kills such a man or that goes on rampages over cartoons published in a newspaper published on nearly the other side of the world.

For as long as I can remember, Americans have looked at caustic regimes and said, "They're not bad people, they just have a very wicked, evil government." Sometimes, that notion is true. Sometimes, it isn't.

We continue to pretend that there could never be an evil culture with popular (actually zealous) support. We explain away the Nazis as having had little support among the German people. The left glosses over Stalin's five year plans and Mao's Cultural Revolution. Select a current American college student at random and ask, "Killing Fields, your thoughts?" Don't expect an answer about Cambodia.

The Islamic Third World has a problem: Grassroots Islamofascism.

Today, that means bad things for Afghans who convert to Christianity.

What does it mean to us? What does it mean to us if the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan falls? What does it mean when Iran gets the bomb?

The silliness of presidential rhetoric regarding the "religion of peace," "democracy," and "freedom" have sounded to me like a typical awkward, acne-pocked, my-dad-helped-me-write-it high school "student council" speech from the start. We're not going to win this war against Islamic terrorism by reasoning. We haven't been attacked by reasonable people. Rahman is not under popular threat of death by reasonable people.

We win this war against Islamofascism by beating it into submission. No matter how unfair that is. Now matter how "undemocratic" it is. Now matter how much it "imposes our morality on others." Just do it. I don't want to get nuked.
-- Mark Stewart
Jacksonville, Florida

The tragedy of Abdul Rahman? Hardly.

He was spared. And what nearly led to his execution points out, once again, that Islam is not the "religion of peace" -- much less, tolerance -- when it comes to other faiths or religions, especially Christianity.

The tragedy? That this president and his administration, and even their opponents, wishing to and continuing to portray Islam as peaceful and tolerant.

Another disaster? The president, his administration and America, in general -- because the president and his administration are so muddled and non-communicative -- forgetting that the only reason we're in Afghanistan is to kill the terrorists, whether or not they're called Taliban.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

SLICE OF THE ROAD
Re: Peter Hannaford's You'll Get Your Kicks on, er, I-40:

It would've been interesting for Hannaford to have told us something of his trip from D.C. to Knoxville, especially if he went down the Shenandoah Valley and then into eastern Tennessee.

Regardless of route, though, there's a whole lot of America he passed through getting to Knoxville that's rich in American history and Americana.

And in it all, including near I-40 -- sometimes in the midst of, or just beyond, the periphery of that usual cluster of overnight accommodations and fast-food eateries -- there are sites, restaurants, motels and attractions, and even truck stops that are anything but homogenized. They're uniquely American, usually with lots of local flavor, but you've got to look for them.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

CONSERVING FREEDOM
Re: Huw Peach's letter (under "Wet Science") in Reader Mail's Road Scholars and David Holman's Schweitzer's Folly:

"The Spectator is a conservative publication. What is it in favor of conserving?" -- Huw Peach

Mr. Peach should use his soon to be restricted in the name of public safety Internet access in the UK to do more realistic research into the "climate emergency." The party line of the new communist "global warming" clowns are using the "emergency" to do what 60 years of Soviet cold warfare failed to do for them, deconstruct capitalist democracies. The argument about CO2, 207 billion pounds entering the atmosphere each year of which mankind is responsible for 7, is the least persuasive with 30x that water vapor naturally occurring each year as well and being a -- far more potent than CO2 -- "greenhouse gas." Climate cycles are naturally occurring and have been for millions of years, moderate, solar linked and entirely natural. As well as being impervious to amelioration by humankind in any case. What has changed is an international political elite that has found The Issue that they feel will gain them global power and control. This "war" is every bit as insidious and threatening as the Jihad of Islamists and in some way more dangerous. Nihilists kill, socialist climate clowns plan to grab the planet by the throat and rule forever. I am in favor of conservation Mr. Peach, conservation of my and my children's freedom, the UK is, sad to say a socialist dictatorship in all but name and not an example that a (still mostly) free people should emulate.
-- Craig C. Sarver, Behind enemy lines
Seattle, Washington

MORAL COSTS OF IRISH PROSPERITY
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Rioting for Ineptitude:

Many years ago, while traveling through Portugal, a wise man told me that you cannot have good roads and good bread at the same time; one must choose. I thought of that as I read Professor Reiland's evaluation of the entrepreneurial skills of the Hibernians, because what he does not see, and, consequently, cannot describe, is the dilemma that success has created amongst the Irish: Eire may have come to experience an economic boom, but it has given up a great deal in the process. Man does not live by bread alone, or shouldn't, but the case of Ireland may illustrate the emptiness of that aphorism.

Our youngest lives in Ireland and has for nearly five years. She has often stated that it is accurate to say that Ireland's GDP has soared, but also fair to say that there has not been a reasonable distribution of that largesse throughout the country. Certainly not in the "country" in County Wexford where she resides: grocery bills are astronomically high -- as they may also be in France -- and the public health system is not one most U.S. citizens would choose, but that is still not what concerns me. My sense is that, on the road to success, the Irish have lost a good deal of their past.

Among historically "Catholic" nations, Ireland was at, or near the top, of the list. The novels and poems of their masters, along with the stories of William Trevor (a non-Catholic), describe the influence of the Church and the priest in everyday Irish life. I suspect that, along with most of Western Europe, those historic ties have vanished, and two examples may serve to illustrate:

a. for the first time in memory, not one priest was ordained last year in the Diocese of Dublin. This is a trend that has been developing throughout the entire country, but now has reached rock bottom even in the nation's capital.

b. for the first time in Irish history, the Prime Minister or Toaiseach, Bertie Ahern, has set up a GLEN: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network liaison office to deal with, and support, homosexual activism. I am not making this up. This year the Irish Dail (Parliament) will surely follow the rest of Europe and legalize homosexual unions, providing them with basically the same rights and privileges of "the other kind."

One need not be clairvoyant to see the results of these two calamities will have on Irish life: to those decreasing numbers still devoted to their churches, the world has turned upside down. The other thing that must be said is that we should be very careful what we wish for.

Pax tecum.
-- Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

OUR KIND OF AMERICANS
Re: Leighton M. Anderson's letter (under "Just How Illegal?") in Reader Mail's Immigration Truths and Jed Babbin's Rebuilding the Welfare State (Illegally):

I don't usually like to chime in with an unimaginative "Me, too." but in regards to Leighton M. Anderson's letter I feel I need to. There are more of us out here who have a problem with the current immigration system. My problem is I don't have the raw data that some people do. All I have are personal observations. The (legal) immigrants I work with are harder-working and more conscientious than most of the local-born citizens.

If you take a look at American history, it is filled with mass immigration of foreigners speaking a foreign language, keeping to the customs of their forefathers and largely failing to assimilate. Their children did though, or their grandchildren. If our culture isn't strong enough to make them want to assimilate then maybe it's not worth keeping.

I would also like to quote P.J. O'Rourke, (imperfectly): "Dammit P.J., these people are enduring deprivation, hunger, thirst, and risking their lives to get here and work. These are the kind of people we want here. We should be greeting them at the border with citizenships."
-- Troy Harmon
Albuquerque, New Mexico

IN OR OUT
Re: "Interior Enforcement" letters in Reader Mail's Road Scholars, "Just How Illegal?" letters in Reader Mail's Immigration Truths, and Jed Babbin's Rebuilding the Welfare State (Illegally):

Letter-writers and many bleeding-heart liberals protest that Americans cannot "afford" to work at such low-paying jobs as those that illegals do. Many of the Haitian, Guatemalan and Mexican, Polish and Bahamian workers at the hotel I work at have to work two jobs to make ends meet. Guess what? When I was younger and inexperienced in the workplace, that is exactly what I (and many of my "American" friends) did in order to pay the bills. After working hard and advancing in the career path I had chosen, I made the decision to survive with one salary. During later points in my life, when the need arose, I took that second job again.

Entry-level positions are just that. They are not designed so that the pay rate will support a family of four. If you have a family of four, barring illness or calamity striking you, you should be past working at the bottom rung of the ladder. And if you are not, take the second job and make sure your spouse works. Or put off having kids.

Just don't expect $28,000 a year for washing dishes or changing sheets. There ain't no such animal.
-- Marcus Bressler
Tequesta, Florida

I just want to say, I have NO PROBLEM WITH LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. LEGAL, just as someone who kills, robs, or other crimes are held to their actions so must non legal residents in the country.

Here's something I could never say better, why not live by what was said in 1907!

Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American.... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag.... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
-- Theodore Roosevelt 1907

I think every American citizen needs to read this.
-- Barb Johnston

THE GOVERNMENT'S WATER
Re: Fredrik Segerfeldt's The Myth of Water Privatization Failures:

Mr. Segerfeldt is a lonely voice in the privatization debate right now.

At the World Water Forum earlier this month, both public officials and CEOs of water companies stated that water would be best served in the public interest.

The global movement opposed to the corporate control of water is growing because people have personal experience with private water providers -- and in many cases, it's a very negative one. That's why 20,000 people marched in the streets of Mexico City during the water forum.

Water is a right, not a luxury or a privilege. Corporations have a bottom line, profit, and that bottom line has not served customers well. It usually translates to cutting corners, slashing staff and hiking rates.

Water companies such as RWE, which is now attempting to get rid of its U.S. subsidiary American Water, failed on both accounts. Shareholders weren't happy because the company wasn't making money on water, and customers weren't happy with the service, or lack of service, they were receiving. Now RWE is stuck with debt and can't find a buyer for American Water. Communities are on edge because they want to buy back their local utility from RWE, but so far, RWE is ignoring the offer, choosing instead an Initial Public Offering.

It is easy to manipulate statistics to support your argument. But you cannot manipulate the voices of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are dissatisfied, and increasingly more vocal, about water privatization. Privatized water will never deliver safe and affordable water for all.
-- Wenonah Hauter
Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
Washington, D.C.

FOREVER BEN
Re: Ben Stein's Missed Tributes and T.S. Slemp's letter (under "Ben Fest, Week Two") in Reader Mail's We're Having a Party:

In reference to Ben Stein's work, I find that he is an All American Patriot, to begin with. Secondly, I find the article by LTC T. S. Slemp, of the Third Herd, Fort Bragg, very refreshing, indeed. Colonel Slemp hit all the nails squarely on the head. However, I would like to add my concept to the Hollywood genre.

What the folks in Hollywood fail to understand, is the fact that they are nothing but ACTORS. Yes, actors, those who pretend to be someone else. In this falseness, they tend to take on the character of someone else, and in doing so, they have this grandeur of self importance and being. In other words, they take on an air of self righteousness and importance, which they are not entitled to, nor do they deserve either.

Again, we are addressing ACTORS, who couldn't hold a candle to any of our men and women who are giving their all to quell the reign of terrorism in the world. As we used to so bluntly state, they wouldn't make a pimple on the head of a ... on any soldier.

When President Bush was running for office, so many of the actors in Hollywood stated, "If Bush is elected, I'm leaving the country!" I haven't seen any of them leave the country, so we must assume they were in their mode of acting again. Quite frankly, I feel that I can make one statement, and speak for all the professional service members, and that is: "We all wish the folks in Hollywood would leave the country, and stay out. Go to Mexico for example, I would assume that El Presidente Fox would welcome you with open arms. At least until you tried to tell him how to run his country. Then you would become another statistic.

We respect your right to pursue any form of employment, and your talent, or lack thereof, for being an actor, is acknowledged, yet, why are there not any movies which are presentable and entertaining any more. You may be actors, but you fail in the form of entertainment, in addition to causing great dissent within our country.

I am a retired First Sergeant, with 26 years of service, from October 1950 until I retired in January 1976. I served thirteen years of that time in Special Forces, working in Special Operations. I served in Korea, and with Military Intelligence units prior to joining Special Forces, in 1960. Why am I, telling you this? Because, I would like you and anyone who reads this, if it is printed, to understand where I am coming from.

For those who belittle the military and its members, keep one thing in mind they, we, I are not, did not, do it for the money, because there was none. I started out making $62.00 a month, and $40.00 of that went to my mother to help out the family. When I retired as a First Sergeant, with nine years in grade, I was making far less then a private fresh off the street, makes today. Today, with the economy as it is, our soldiers make at or just above scale labor, some with families on food stamps.

Rather then belittle our soldiers, try joining them and do something useful with your lives. If you are not part of the solution, stop belly aching about a problem. On second thought, I doubt very seriously if any of the boots on the ground would fit.
-- James G. Ringland, First Sergeant (Ret)
US Special Forces/Special Operations
Holts Summit, Missouri

I'm a junior enlisted man in the U.S. Air Force. I would just like to extend my appreciation for Ben Stein's forwardness in his recent article "Missed Tributes." It's rare to see an actor that recognizes the military in a positive view. It seems to me in this day and age, there are few people who know what integrity is. Hollywood seems to be all about getting people to sell themselves, even if that includes getting rid of all their values.
-- unsigned

I agree with all of your article except the part about the oil companies. They are hardly making an effort to help the people of the United States. Did you miss the news item several months ago where at a meeting of Independent Oil Refiners the keynote speaker mentioned that there was no reason to increase production as it would decrease profits? This fellow allowed himself to be videotaped saying this and it was picked up and shown on one newscast. No other mention was ever made. Also how do you explain the profits of the oil companies? If they are suffering along with the rest of us, why are their profits at record levels? I'm sorry Mr. Stein, that doesn't wash. You have the Hollywood phonies down pat but are giving an easy go to the oil companies' greed. Their only contribution is to inflation.
-- unsigned

THANK YOU for what you've said in this column. And there are lots of us anxious to offer alternatives to Hollywood's drivel -- we'll get there.
-- Randy Tayler

A friend emailed a copy of Mr. Stein's March 6 article. I grew up in Los Angeles, had early contacts with the Hollywood environment due to an interest in the performing arts, then followed a medical career to include 28 years in the United States Army. I retired in 1994, still work in the healthcare arena, and have a son-in-law on active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Congratulations to Mr. Stein, and The American Spectator, for the publication of his article. It is a great reality check on what is wonderful, and what is not so wonderful, about the privilege and stroke of luck we enjoy by being born in America.
-- Joe Michels, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret)

I just read your article "Missed Tributes" for the first time. You are amazing. Finally, someone has put into words precisely the feelings that I've experienced in my view of modern-day Hollywood.

Congratulations for having the courage to make this statement. I hope that many people read it and really think about the things you've said.
-- Greg Abbott

GAYS CAN MARRY... WOMEN
Re: Peter Linder's and Murray Eaton's letters (under "Another Ben Wave") in Reader Mail's Road Scholars:

In response to the question posed by Murray Eaton (who presumes to lecture us on what's "wrong" with America from Ontario): In the United States, there is no discrimination when it comes to marriage. All persons are treated equally. A so-called "gay" man can marry any woman who will have him -- exactly like a "straight" man can do. What homosexuals are agitating for is unequal (read: "special") treatment.

And, if I may, a brief aside to the vitriolic Peter Linder: Mr. Linder, you asked when we would read an article describing the capture of a real terrorist...the guys who blew up our World Trade Center. Kindly take a breath and ponder, if you're capable, the stunning lack of logic thereby expressed.
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

IN THE BIBLE, NOT BIBLICAL
Re: Jeff Lawrence's letter ("Murderers, Sinners, and Polygamists") in Reader Mail's Road Scholars, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" letters in Reader Mail's Mixed Blessings, and "One Man, Many Headaches" letters in Reader Mail's Human and Divine:

And I am really amazed, though, how people can selectively read about Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, David... and find any passage of scripture that shows God condoning their behavior. Study beyond the headlines. Yes, in many instances these were great people of God, but they had their problems too. In most of these situations the polygamy destroyed their family, usually by the next generation. We are not under the Old Testament, but it is there for our study.

To quote Jesus in Matthew 19: 4: And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

Two principals should stand out in this scripture, "from the beginning" and "TWO shall become one flesh." Jesus didn't say "from today onward" or "four shall become one." There is not a SINGLE scripture in the entire Bible that supports polygamy. The scriptures state that David was a man after God's own heart. But i.e. David had Bathsheba's husband murdered after their scandalous affair. Does this justify adultery and murder? Of course not, nor do examples of polygamy justify itself.
-- Kevin W.
Morgantown, West Virginia

Jeff Lawrence should realize that just because something is in the Bible doesn't make it a right way to live. Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon all created some almost unbearable circumstances out of their unfaithful polygamy. Has a similar bunch tried to use Lott's family structure as a model?
-- Clifton Briner

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