Readers write: Examination of Islamist moderates, cartoon cuts, protecting the Amazon, and sustainability of farms

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 5, 2018 weekly magazine.

Richard Mertens
Kayla Coehoorn, 25, at her family's farm in Angelica, Wis. Coehoorn manages the farm's dairy herd. Robots milk about 120 cows. She's hosing down the floor in room while a robot milks a cow on the right.

Examination of Islamist moderates

The Sept. 17 cover story, “Rise of the Islamist moderates,” was an excellent piece. I’m an Islam scholar and Middle East studies professor. This is spot on with what I’m seeing. Thanks for real journalism.

Jason Howk

Pinehurst, N.C.

Cartoon cuts

I’ve been a longtime fan of the Monitor and appreciate the reporting on our world. It helps me live in my own tiny one (materially speaking). 

However, I must protest changes in your recent issues. The pictures are still interesting, but do they have to be so large? And your three weekly cartoons are so precious. They have always been what I turn to before the week is out. They are the best! Please don’t reduce the number to two.

Mary Larsen

Mt. Lebanon, Pa.

Protecting the Amazon

The Oct. 1 cover story, “Camp Amazon,” was a wonderful article. I know so little about this area. Because it is a system of such value, we need to protect it.

Ann Watzel

Bloomington, Ind.

Sustainability of farms

Regarding the Aug. 23 Monitor Daily article “Want to keep ’em down on the dairy farm? Add robots”: “Diversity equals resilience” is an ecological principle that applies to the health of natural ecosystems as well as to the health of the farming industry. I wonder how we can enable the diversity of small farms to stay in business while at the same time adopting expensive technology that will incentivize young people to want to become farmers. Falling milk prices and rising technology costs are a recipe for fewer small farms and larger industrial farms. It’s a trend that doesn’t bode well for the diversity of our food system.

Dave Oakes

Hope, Maine

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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