As a member of a minority religion, Eckankar, I found "America the Theocracy" (by John F. Sugg, Mar. 24) disturbing. America is not a Christian nation in the year 2004. It is a diverse religious plurality. Even more striking is the fact that 30 million Americans, or 14 percent and growing, claim no religious affiliation at all. This diversity is made possible through tolerance and freedom -- the two values on which American liberty are based.
As flawed and imperfect as our political and legal systems are, they still provide great opportunity and individual freedom. Our founders -- those who supposedly created a "Christian nation" -- understood the corrupting nature of political power and placed checks and balances and limitations on its use so no man or group could seize the reins of power for very long.
The lesson of all the world's theocracies and theocrats throughout history is that they are corrupted by power, just like everyone else. And because they do what they do in God's name, their harm goes unchecked. This was true of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. It is true of the Taliban. It will be true of the American Theocrats.
At least we have all been warned. Like Hitler or Napoleon and countless others who seized power, dismantled the existing political and legal system, and worked to remake the world as they saw fit, the theocrats are upfront about their intentions to do the same. If they ever succeed, let none be surprised. Worse things have happened.
-- James M. Perry, Davidson
The Bible Tells Me So
As I read "America the Theocracy," I wondered exactly what would America look like if we lived in a society similar to one that people like Rev. Don Boys and Gary DeMar envision?
If we suddenly followed the "word of God" to the letter, our nation would quickly become consumed with the stench of rotting and burning flesh pleasing to the Lord. Anyone who is guilty of homosexuality would be put to death (Leviticus 20:13), but the orders to kill would not stop there. Anyone who curses his father or mother, anyone who commits adultery, any man who sleeps with his daughter-in-law, anyone who has sexual relations with an animal (Leviticus 20:9-16), any man who claims his new wife is not a virgin but is proven wrong (Deuteronomy 22:20), rebellious children including drunkards (Dt 21:19-20), kidnappers (Dt 24:7), those who worship other gods (Dt 17) and any man who sleeps with a woman who is committed to be married to another man would all be put to death either by stoning or by fire.
Other things that are detestable to the Lord include mating different kinds of animals, planting fields with two kinds of seed, and wearing clothing made of two different materials -- better check to ensure your Fruit of the Looms are 100 percent cotton but not with an elastic band (Lev 19:19). I also noticed that the pictures of Gary DeMar and Flip Benham depict two men clearly in violation of Leviticus 19:27: "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard."
In a good God-fearing nation, a leader like President Bill Clinton, who clearly committed adultery and attempted to cover it up, would not have been put to death for his sins, but God himself would ensure that his wife would be raped in public by his kin (2 Samuel 12 and 16). Oh what a beautiful place America would be if we stayed true to our Biblical heritage!
-- Rob Jacik, Charlotte
The Genius of Woo
Lindsey Grossman is a genius! I just read her "Woo!" article ("I Am Woo Girl," Mar. 10), and I was bent over the whole time! That was so very, very true, and any hoocharific honey who tries to deny it is lying out of her bleached teeth. Lindsey, thanks for officially adding a new word to the English vocab. . . . I'll be sure it gets used! Keep up the good work!
-- Jenny Payne, Jackson, TN
Why Marriages Fall Apart
I laughed very hard when I read Quinn Cotton's article, "Groin Mate vs. Soul Mate" (Mar. 3). Nothing is more disturbing to me than to be standing in a grocery store check-out line when a married couple (i.e., "groin mates") ahead of me is backbiting, airing out all of their "dirty laundry." In such cases where the couple is more or less continually at each other's throats, the relationship is typically "dead-on-arrival" by the time the couple enters psychotherapy; marriage counseling very quickly becomes divorce counseling.
What caused the death of this marriage? I think that it is partly an invasion of personal space by interests outside of the marriage (e.g., best friends, hobbies), and partly disrespect in assuming (consciously or unconsciously) that "I know you" rather than "I have known you" in a marital relationship. After all, "you" are continually changing, and if I insist on seeing "you" through the haze of memories or ongoing psychological projections, I have destroyed the possibility of having a mystical, sacramental relationship with you in the eternal present.
-- W.F. Daniel, Jr., Charlotte