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Religion Must Provide Practical Solutions to Everyday Problems

The last article in the series on religious thinkers "Making Room for Religion in America," March 18, gives assurance that the thirst for spiritual values is alive and well today. Christian Century editor James Wall makes an important point, that secularization has so penetrated every aspect of society today that it is itself like a religion. Secular standards not only measure success and determine public policy, but are generally accepted as the only means for solving "everyday" problems - including fa mily breakdowns, crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and unemployment. Shouldn't the "religious perspective" then be focused on how to provide practical solutions to these very problems? If the populace cannot look to religion to provide practical solutions to their daily problems, what then is the incentive for giving up secularism for Christianity?

The Holy Bible, Christians' spiritual resource book, illustrates how all kinds of insurmountable difficulties have been overcome by total reliance on a higher power - God. Diseases have been healed, broken lives restored. Have today's religious thinkers discovered the principle behind these practical spiritual solutions? Are religious thinkers absolutely sure that their own quest for solutions is not limited to the methods our secular world has endorsed as "possible?"

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St. Paul's advice to apostles of all times is to "work without limit." The real opportunity for today's spiritual thinkers, then, is to first discover, then contribute spiritually based solutions to society. The opportunity is without limit.

Joan Whiteside, Toronto

Romance on the silver screenBeing an ardent film buff, I find the article "Love in the Movies," March 12, extremely interesting. Romance in films has changed drastically since the 1940s - the richest period for classic romantic movies. I feel the biggest problem is the fact that we just do not believe that the romantic relationship is genuine. Intensity and honesty are missing. The one exception would be "Ghost." It is truly romantic in the same way as the the classic "Now, Voyager," a superb film made almost 50 years ago.

William Beyer, Belvidere, Ill.

Expand Security Council? According to your lead article "New Deals for World Economy," March 12, historian Walter Rostow suggests that Germany, Japan, India, and perhaps Indonesia should be made permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. This would, of course, give them veto power.

No nation which is unable or unwilling to furnish armed forces to maintain or restore international peace and security because of constitutional provisions, either fancied or actual, should become a permanent member of the Security Council. Indeed, United Nations Charter obligations should supersede any national constitution.

Thomas O. Broker, Roanoke, Va.

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Couch-potato patriots Jeff Danziger has done it again. His March 8 cartoon of the couch-potato patriot is worth more than a thousand words. Educationally second-rate, economically and competitively out of shape, ethically duplicitous, and sorely in need of something to be proud of, here is an America that is so gung-ho to fight, and yet so easily bored with underlying substantive issues.

Fifty years of emphasizing militarism rather than diplomacy may give the US a lopsided technical superiority in battle, especially against a third-world country like Iraq, but it will never make up for its lack of daring vision and foresight.

Eugene Schragg, Santa Cruz, Calif.

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