Islam hasn't been too accepting of Christianity, either

Patricia Dunn's May 18 Opinion piece, "Are you praying on my team, or not?," is a good example of the pot calling the kettle black. What is never mentioned in Ms. Dunn's piece is that Islam has historically had at least as difficult a time with those who depart from the Muslim faith as have the Christians whom she discusses.

Today - as recent events in Afghanistan remind us - in many (if not all) nations shaped by Islam, apostasy under Islam is punishable by death. Fortunately for her, Dunn is a convert to Islam in America, instead of a Muslim convert to Christianity in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. In these countries, she would probably fear for her life, not for getting harassing e-mails.

As a Christian, I believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, though arguably in different and mutually incompatible ways. But I also believe that Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, Buddhists - all of us - have an obligation to be as forthright and truthful about our lives as possible. Dunn's piece manifestly fails that test.
Charles Mathewes
Associate professor, religious ethics and the history of Christian thought, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Va.

For students, grants better than loans

Regarding the May 17 article, "For graduates, student loans turn into an albatross": As a recipient of a free college education paid for under the GI Bill set up in 1944 for World War II veterans, I was saddened to read about our young people being saddled by the onerous loans they need to take out to attend college. It is hurtful to students and our country.

While it was generous for the government to pay for my education, I came to realize it also served as a loan. It enabled me to earn more than I would have otherwise and, as a result, my greater taxes have repaid the government many times over. Moreover, the professional skills I acquired as an actuary have been applied to enable other workers to retire with more adequate incomes, increasing their purchasing power and boosting the economy.

Our students would be more useful and suffer less if they were simply given the money for their postsecondary education. This will pay for itself and strengthen us all.
David Langer
Chappaqua, N.Y.

Don't deploy the Guard; enforce the law

Regarding the May 17 article, "Guard's impact at border": Using the National Guard to seal the border will never be enough as long as there is incentive for employers to dangle a green card in front of illegal aliens rather than pay them cash. The existing and proposed fines on employers are simply too low and too laxly enforced. If the IRS and Social Security administration would crack down on fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and tax deduction of wages to illegal aliens, another big gap in the border would be closed.
Randall Burns
Washougal, Wash.

Caring for pets and the poor is possible

What's disturbing to me about May Akabogu-Collins's May 15 Opinion piece, "My lesson in pets and potlucks," is her creation of an either-or scenario as it relates to helping the poor and practicing compassion toward the animal world. I would suggest that both are possible and that as we enlarge our circle of compassion, everything and everyone benefits. Conversely, as we narrow this circle, both the poor and animals suffer. Witness the results of habitat loss and its effect on animal and human species.
Nicholas Zerebny
Deerfield, Ill.

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