Fearing divorce, men eschew marriage

The July 17 article "Vow or never," was interesting, but failed to point at the principal reason there are so few marriages. Men are becoming increasingly aware that they have no rights at all in marriage - nothing, just responsibility, responsibilities that will continue after their wives divorce them, which they are very likely to do.

Men don't want to raise and love children, only to have them stolen away, along with their financial capability of having a reasonable life or indeed any chance of ever having children again.

I also object to the quote from the marriage therapist Karen Gail Lewis: "For women, the covert message is: It's your job to find a man. That's part of the cultural message that has been passed down through the generations."

Rubbish. It has always been the man who is expected to risk rejection, to hunt out a suitable bride, to woo her, sweep her off her feet and beg like a dog on his knees, asking her to do him the favor of being "oppressed" (which she might do if the diamond ring he offers is big enough). Since modern women are more likely to be employed, receive equal pay, and in the event of a divorce, will receive the house, the children, and alimony, men just aren't playing this one-sided obscenity anymore. Do you blame them?

Alan Carr Chelmsford, England

If a woman wants to get married, she needs to credibly assure the man that she won't destroy him if she leaves. That means equal parenting after divorce and equal child-support expenditures.

Neil Steyskal Washington

'Red Suspicious'

Your July 20 editorial "Bitter fruit" about the decline in the quality of fruit was superb! Who needs DVD, virtual reality, or a Palm Pilot? I'd die for a decent-tasting apricot or tomato!

Sharon Lawrence Austin, Tex.

It's probably been 40 years since I bit into a delicious apple and found a worm in it, but chewed around and still enjoyed the apple.

Today the apples, peaches, nectarines and plums all look juicy, but taste like their cardboard shipping boxes. The fruits may look delicious today, but not even a worm would have any part of them.

John Galletta Palm Coast, Fla.

Monkey house without the odor

What a magnificent idea to transform old-fashioned zoos into true educational experiences using IMAX technology ("Sanctuaries or animal jails?" July 19, book review). I've avoided zoos for years, preferring cruelty-free documentaries and books, but I'd be first in line at a virtual zoo. I'm also getting in line to buy Hancocks's "A Different Nature," thanks to Lori Valigra's review.

Liz Welsh Virginia Beach, Va.

Let scholars become pastors

In response to your July 19 article "Where are the young clergy?": Obviously the shortage of clergy is the result of a number of issues. It is noteworthy to consider that many prospective ordinands are second-career seminary students, and some view their mission field as one that encompasses both the academy and the church. Unfortunately, in some denominational conferences, these students are told they can only be "called" to one arena, with ordination and appointment likely only if their choice is the church.

Apprehensions toward the "scholar" pastor and the gifts they can bring to the church are worthy of further study.

Debra Washington Mubashshir Beloit,Wis. Instructor in Philosophy and Religion Beloit College

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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