Faith in the White House
Thank you for the excellent report on the presidential candidates ("The Faith of George W. Bush" by J. Lee Grady, November). Your coverage on Bush, Gore and Lieberman reflected the strengths and imperfections of all three men and was very insightful.
I am a missionary living outside the United States, and I appreciated your honesty in writing this article. It was truthful without giving us a biased perspective of the candidates. I also enjoyed "He's Just a Man" by J. Lee Grady (First Word), and how Lee's daughter reminded him that politicians are just men. Sometimes it takes a child to help us keep things in perspective.
It pains me to write you after seeing the November issue. On the cover you shamelessly airbrushed Bush's wrinkles and whitened his teeth, while you colored Al Gore's face and teeth yellow, squinched his eyes and bared his teeth, as if he were an animal.
Do you really expect Holy Ghost-filled believers to miss this and go merrily to the polls without an iota of sense and vote Republican? You also printed an article on the lynching of African Americans. It seems to me you have tried to lynch Al Gore.
The front cover depicting Bush and Gore is rendered with subtle differences that tend to make one choose Bush over Gore. You made Bush lighter and sharper and placed him in front of Gore. Then you made Gore a little out of focus. I don't think this was a mistake, but purposefully done to influence your readers.
I need to let you know of my objection to your article about Al Gore. Assuming that Gore is a Christian based on his words is ridiculous, especially considering his works. Faith without works is dead.
I was sad to see that you printed 3-1/2 pages on George W. Bush's faith and one little page on Vice President Al Gore. Shame on you. Your partiality is showing!
The article about Bush should have included another underlying reason why African Americans and many white Americans in the working class are not favoring him: During the Reagan-Bush era we saw the massive shutdown of our manufacturing base and its transfer to Third World countries.
The glue that holds a family together is the ability for parents, black or white, to be able to take care of their families. During the Reagan-Bush years we heard, "It's great to have a man of God in the White House." But history may repeat itself, and Christian families may be betrayed again.
* Although the editor says Charisma doesn't have a preference, the editorial staff seems to be leaning toward Bush. I am not sure if this is a proper role for a Christian magazine. The fact that you did not ask Gore for an interview, simply because the Clinton-Gore administration had never granted one in the past, makes me call into question your journalistic impartiality.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Bush is the devil in disguise, and I think he has duped you. He has nothing to offer our society but guns, violence, higher taxes and God knows what else. Let's not even go to health care and Social Security. You have misrepresented the truth.
It was a disservice to readers for you to present a seven-page publicity spread on Bush, but one page on Gore in which you implied his Christian beliefs aren't sincere. I'm capable of analyzing both candidates and being led by the Holy Spirit to vote for the one who comes close to representing my beliefs. I resent the assumption that Christians should support the Republican agenda.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Editor's note: For our cover, we intentionally used the photos supplied by the campaign offices of Vice President Gore and Gov. Bush. We did not manipulate them to make one candidate look better than the other.
America's Ugly History
I do not feel it was wise to run the graphic photographs that appeared in your article about the lynching of black Americans ("The History America Chose to Forget" by Valerie G. Lowe, November). How many times do you feel our generation must repent for the sins of our white forefathers? When will enough be enough? I've asked God to forgive me, and my ancestors, several times.
Every time these atrocities are brought back to the surface, it brings back the pain associated with that generation. It's time we cast a vision of unity among races, not point out past sins and faults.
I want to thank you for the courage it took to run this article and the photos. It was a painfully honest look at something we as white Americans have labored for so long to keep hidden. The images of bystanders' casual, smiling faces at a lynching haunt me still.
Glenda Joy Clark
Mark Pollard is correct in his biblical argument of the righteousness of restitution. I would strongly encourage any American who has been owned as a slave, injured in a lynching or discriminated against to seek restitution through the civil court system immediately.
However, Pollard's demand for racial restitution for all African Americans by all white Americans is the highest order of racism. To him, all white Americans are guilty of these atrocities by association-- we are guilty because we are white. If that's not racism, I don't know what is.
Kannapolis, North Carolina
Though obviously very disturbing, this subject needed to be addressed. I would like to see the church in the forefront of reconciliation and restitution, rather than lagging behind, blinded by its own prejudice and small-mindedness, as I feel it was during the Civil Rights movement.
West Lebanon, New Hampshire
I was torn apart by your article because I believe all it did was stir up animosity. It took us back to old hurts and did not take us forward.
I don't want my children to see this stuff. I want them to know that we are all made in the image of Christ and that we all walk in brotherly love. In the future, have consideration for those of us who are not of the past generations and who have broken the curse of our forefathers on our lives.
I can't believe pictures such as these would be printed in a magazine such as yours. This goes far beyond poor taste and crosses the line into "sensational journalism" with the intention of provoking great harm and damage to a situation that needs all the care and understanding available to soothe and heal, not to cause further hurt and division.
I was deeply disturbed by the photos in this article. The story served no purpose but to incite wrath between the races. It did absolutely nothing to promote racial reconciliation, which should be paramount among believers. By publishing these photos you have resorted to the shock journalism so typical of the liberal media.
Middletown, New York
You crossed the line of good taste with your graphic photographs depicting the atrocities perpetrated against black Americans. I had to tear those pages out of the magazine and run them through a shredder before my young son could view it.
I'm sure the articles surrounding the horrific photos needed to be written, but I never got the chance because I was too busy settling my stomach. If anything like this appears in your magazine again, I will petition God to censure you.
Kevin E. Lynch
I was touched to see that Charisma had the courage to print the graphic and controversial article and photos of lynchings in the United States. Your actions show you truly desire reconciliation.
These terrible sins were not just committed against African Americans but against the entire country. Slavery was supported by the government, and the effect of such support still ripples today. An apology from the government is the least that can be done. Our hearts need to be led to repentance by the Holy Spirit.
Watford City, North Dakota
I am bothered by the teachings today that suggest the current generation of European Americans is responsible for what our ancestors have done. Should I repent for something I took no part in? Should I pay restitution for something I did not do?
The part I was specifically looking for in the lynching story was the fact that groups like the Ku Klux Klan used the Bible to justify their actions. Most white Christian churches knew this and at the very least tacitly supported this kind of terrorism. White Christians have a lot of atoning to do for these awful crimes.
I was shocked as I opened this issue of Charisma. I couldn't believe the photos. But then I read your reason for printing the article: calling people to repentance.
I want to be the first to repent. We cannot ever be Christlike until we repent of all our hatred toward other people. Thank you for your courage, wisdom and leadership to help bring about healing and revival in our nation.
Thanks for having the courage to tell a story nobody else will tell. I've lived 15 years in this country and never once heard about this atrocity. That explains the spiritual darkness and apathy in this land.
Those people grinning in those photos are our grandparents and great-grandparents. We have sinned. It's time we own up to it and fall on our faces in repentance, crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness.
Born-Again Rock Stars
Your recent feature on rock artists was mesmerizing ("Born-Again Rock Stars," September). I've been sharing it with others, and I'm getting some terrific responses. Artists such as John Lodge have been sharing uplifting and inspirational thoughts through their music for decades. Your writer did a beautiful job on this.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
After reading some of the recent letters to the editor, I was disappointed at how fellow Christians responded to what our Lord is doing to reach the lost through music. If anyone has trouble with the brave approach others are taking to reach the lost, what are the complainers doing to reach them? We need to make sure we don't grieve the Spirit by complaining about others' efforts instead of repenting for our lack of action.
Georgetown, South Carolina
You recently ran two articles, in Charisma News Service and in Charisma, (People & Events, June), concerning the difficulties experienced by WinePress Publishing. I would like to let your readers know that there are two different publishing companies with this name. As the president of "the other" company, I would like to point out that our name is spelled slightly different: Winepress Publishing. Both companies are based in the state of Washington, but in different cities. They are independent of one another and have always been two separate entities.
Harold R. Eberle, president