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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.

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