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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about religious freedom for US troops, unjust collaborative law, the purpose of Facebook, and more product choices.

Protect the religious freedom of US troops

Thanks for the Oct. 4 article, "Are US troops being force-fed Christianity?" regarding the question of religious evangelization in the military. My spouse and I have long experience with the military and were both shocked at what happened to our son as a Marine recruit two years ago.

On his first Sunday at Parris Island, he and his entire unit were ordered to attend an evangelical Protestant service. No exceptions were made. My son, who is Catholic, missed mass because of it, and one can only wonder about others who were of non-Christian faiths. The military used to respect all religions, but not anymore.

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Sue Brown

Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Farewell justice, hello collaborative law

In response to David Hoffman's Oct. 9 Opinion piece, "A healing approach to the law": Law has three sides to it – the claimant, the defendant, and the judiciary. The courts have always welcomed amicable settlement over protracted litigation. This is a desirable state of affairs. If we extend the principle of collaborative practice and popularize it by legal recognition, however, then we might be bidding farewell to judicial scrutiny, since none of these agreements could be appealed if unwarily accepted.

It will also give room to an unethical practice of lobbyists and a new profession of identifying the best collaborator. With some US states allowing advertising by lawyers (which I feel is unethical), the litigant public will be confused by offers and incentives offered by a new species in a noble profession. Novelty ushers change, but the profession should not be made a mockery of and render the judiciary mute.

Subramaniam Shankar

Kerala, India

Facebook isn't useless

I was disappointed to read Christine Rosen's Oct. 10 Opinion piece, "What are Facebook friends for?" The author talked about the need for status and about the shallowness of revealing everything about yourself to the world.

Facebook and MySpace are simply tools, and it's how people use them that varies. The author mentioned the chance for a user to engage in "identity play," to be someone else online. She also talked about the "distinctive sameness" of the information and the types of expression found throughout the networking sites. However, the author misses the point of these sites.

Of course if you troll MySpace or Facebook as a visitor, much of it will look the same, but why shouldn't it? They are groups of people sharing small bits of their lives to keep in touch with friends. Their purpose isn't to entertain the visitor, such as this author.

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I have found Facebook to be a helpful tool in communication. I'm in my mid-40s and created a page for my wife and me to help keep in touch with my son, who is away at school.

He uses his Facebook page to connect with friends who are now in different parts of the country. It's a shame that the author didn't look beyond the easy shots and see the general "out-of-touch parent" view of a new technology and method of communication.

Mike Stock

Holland, Mich.

The more product choices, the better

In response to the Oct. 5 humor commentary, "A real convenience store," this article was hilarious. But I have to disagree with it. I'm one of those people who wishes there were even more choices – ones that aren't governed by computers, advertising, market forces, and popularity.

Margarette Bull

Kirkland, Wash.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to letters@csmonitor.com and Opinion pieces to oped@csps.com.