Vaccination Abstinence

As an enthusiastic new subscriber, I was stung by the article “Death by Individualism,” by Danny Duncan Collum (May 2012). My family abstains from vaccinations, but “selfishness” is certainly not our motivation. After two of our children were diagnosed with autism, we have made many choices that set us on a path apart from the crowd, and we have made these choices out of love for our children. Please be careful when generalizing.

Citizens vs. Citizens United

I wish Bill McKibben’s “‘And God Created ... Corporations’” (April 2012) could magically appear in the inbox of each state and federal senator and representative. A corporation is a soulless, incorporeal, supranational, immortal legal device for assembling, managing, and deploying wealth. We should be thankful that corporations do good things. They feed, clothe, house, and entertain us pretty well. However, a corporation cannot be expected to deliver the values that a human, God-fearing society needs.

Comparisons For the Cross

Regarding your review of James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree (“Were You There?” by Andrew Wilkes, March 2012): Cone’s point is an important one. But given that the crucifixion is presented by the gospels as largely following legal procedures, another way to help Americans appreciate the meaning of the cross is to compare it to the electric chair. We are the followers of a man who was publicly, officially executed in the most horrifying way.

Norm Mundhenk
Poulsbo, Washington

Resisting Prison Profiteers

Thank you for printing Michelle Alexander’s commentary “When the Spirit Says Go” in your March issue. Due in large part to Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, more and more people are coming to understand—and resist—how mass incarceration devastates communities of color, locking up millions and relegating those branded as criminals to a lifetime of legalized discrimination.

Don't Mourn—Fact Check

I am reading the March issue of Sojourners and want to correct a small error in “‘Do Not Grow Weary or Lose Heart,’” by Vincent Harding. The quote “Don’t mourn. Organize,” attributed to Mother Jones in the article, was actually an admonition from Wobbly songwriter Joe Hill—born Joseph Hillstrom—shortly before his execution in Utah on trumped-up murder charges that were designed to cripple the labor movement. Mother Jones’ most famous admonition was “Raise more hell, and less corn,” given to the miners in West Virginia, urging them to demonstrate more and drink less.

Just Say No

Thank you for your articles on human trafficking (“Ending ‘The World’s Most Savage Cruelty,’” February 2012). They played an essential role in shaping my sermon last Sunday; Jesus’ work of freeing those who are possessed makes a powerful connection with the work of rescue and restoration you highlighted.

A Good Word

I was delighted to see the article on forgiveness by Brittany Shoot (“Forgive and Forget?”) in your January 2012 issue. Since she mentioned Archbishop Tutu in her article, I thought your readers would appreciate seeing an original quote from one of his 2007 speeches. The archbishop said, “Forgiveness does not mean ‘forgive and forget.’ It stares the beast in the eye, names the hurt, and refuses to return it, seeking not to punish but to heal.” There could be no better description of the amazing and Christlike response of the Amish community in the face of tragedy.