Readers: Bush buddy Ken Lay has no worries about doing jail time; Karl Rove is a "messianic megalomaniac" for thrusting partisan politics into the church.

Published July 12, 2004 7:14PM (EDT)

[Read "Oh, the Stories he Could Tell," by Robert Bryce.]

In your coverage of Enron's collapse and Ken Lay's misdeeds, you miss one fact which helps explain the "quo" in the "quid pro quo" of Enron's support of the Bushes: Gov. Bush's role in deregulating the Texas energy market, which allowed Enron to get into the trading business in the first place.

I vividly recall seeing on the cover of "Enron Magazine" (then up for auction on E-Bay) a picture of the good governor signing the deregulation bill into Texas law, with Kenny-boy standing next to him smiling ear to ear. That picture, it seems to me, may truly be worth a thousand, if not million, words. Certainly the fact that the legislation was passed during the governor's short time there, especially with Texas' short legislative sessions, is very telling.

-- Jim Cady

Although it's nice to see former Enron chairman Kenny Boy Lay being charged with a crime, he'll never go to prison: He's the reason Bush is president.

There's no doubt that Bush is going to pardon him -- especially if he loses this election. Republicans take care of corporate criminals like Ken Lay. Some people -- like Bush and Lay -- are just above the law.

-- Marc Percel

[Read "The Gospel According to Karl," by Mary Jacoby.]

When I was a born-again Christian in the '70s, our pastor never brought up any hint of partisan politics, even though he was a scriptural literalist. Furthermore, he would have found it an odd choice to vote against the party that helps the poor in favor of the one that despises homosexuals.

In our evangelical church there were a number of gays in attendance who were checking out the faith. And, rather than pointing out how wrong homosexuality was, we preferred to show them how attractive our faith could be. If anyone had suggested that we march around the country opposing gays, at the expense of preaching the gospel or serving the underprivileged, I think people would have stared in disbelief. When our pastor retired, still a believing born-again Christian, he warned us against mixing religion and politics.

By the way, he did eventually, as a non-pastor, become politically active. He's now a raging Democrat and pro-abortion advocate, though this is not the kind of mobilization Karl rove would have prayed for.

-- Mel Thompson

I applaud Salon's coverage of the diversity of political opinion amongst American religious organizations, but I am dismayed at the sloppy terminology used. It would be helpful, in an article that is describing Evangelical Christianity to an audience that does not, presumably, comprise many self-described Evangelicals, to describe what it is that Evangelical (with a capital E) Christians believe that set them apart from conservative Christians of other sects such as Southern Baptists or Pentecostals.

Technically any Christian who believes that he or she has some obligation to spread the gospel, passively or actively, is "evangelical." But this term is so broad as to include all Christians everywhere since Christianity's belief in the universality of its message is one of its defining characteristics.

Likewise, the term "fundamentalist" is sloppily applied to William H. Pryor. No Catholic should be described as a "fundamentalist," because the term applies only to those who believe in biblical inerrancy -- i.e. Creationists, which Catholics doctrinally are not.

Sloppily lumping all Christian groups together in a maligned Republican/redneck basket has ill-served the Democratic Party in the past. Ironically, it's precisely that conflation of the political and the religious that the article complains about.

-- Pete Sweeney

Maybe if the rank and file of some mainline religious groups really knew what hardcore Evangelicals think about them, and knew the vital role that the Christian Coalition and organizations like them are playing in this year's election, then some, especially Catholics, might be galvanized to vote for a liberal Democrat like Kerry. Hardcore Evangelicals, who think they're saved and everyone else is not, figure Catholicism on par with devil worship.

Let's hear the crowd at Bob Jones University witness again how the pope is Satan's spawn. They're still doing it there, just keeping it off the evening news. The religion-centric views of Bush's base must be exposed; and Rove and his ilk must be revealed for the messianic megalomaniacs they are.

-- Peter Barry

By Salon Staff

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