As fans of the CBS Evening News and Dan Rather, we believe that Robert Draper’s “ Dan Rather Is a Good Ol’ Boy” [ TM, November 1991] is a fair and unbiased account. It is a mystery to us that Mr. Rather provokes such controversy. He seems to make every effort to go after the truth of a story. It is exactly that aggressive, honest journalism that gives one the feeling that Mr. Rather alone, in the mix of evening anchormen, is the genuine article.
MR. AND MRS. VICTOR PASETTI
DAN RATHER AS A GOOD ol’ boy? The article shows Rather sitting on a porch of an old building with a grin on his face, pretending to act like a real Texan. It also states that he is a real Texan because he spits tobacco juice. One look at that picture, however, shows that he’s obviously wearing a pair of brand-new boots; you can see, looking at the sole of his right boot, that very little of the black has even been scuffed off. Furthermore, those jeans look brand-new. It’s a totally posed picture.
BERNARD K. WEINER
MANY THANKS TO JAN JARBOE for “The War for Thee University” [ TM, November 1991]. As a non-Baptist Christian who attended Baylor in the mid-seventies, I have tried repeatedly to describe to family and friends just how stultifying the atmosphere was on that campus. Few could believe me. Ms. Jarboe at least scratched the surface of that Machiavellian realm. The irony of it all is that I find myself rooting for McCall et al. against an even more despotic gaggle of zanies. Welcome to Byzantium on the Brazos.
JAMES F. GARDNER, M.D.
I’M A BAPTIST PASTOR, but I never attended Baylor or any Baptist college or university. My congregation has forgiven me; some of my colleagues haven’t. Nevertheless, I, like every other messenger to the convention, headed off to Waco to try to save Baylor. Trite as it may sound, Baptists are fighting about Baylor because Baptists care about Baylor. There is considerable precedent for determining what will happen if liberals take over the university. In previous cases such institutions have adopted a thoroughgoing liberalism and sometimes have ceased to be recognizably Christian. There is less precedent for predicting what will happen if fundamentalists take over; apart from the last decade or so, fundamentalists have had little experience winning. Quite frankly, I cannot wish success to either group. The image of a fundamentalist Baylor is just as disturbing as the image of a liberal Baylor.
JAMES T. HICKMAN
Dawn Baptist Church
THE FUNDAMENTALISTS BELIEVE that they alone have the right to interpret God’s word. If I were speaking to one of those people, I would ask for an explanation of the significance of the rending of the veil in the temple at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. My understanding is that the meaning of that event was that everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior has direct access to God and need not go through any earthly mediator. I have a daughter and a son-in-law who are graduates of Baylor, and the young man is also a graduate of Fort Worth Baptist Theological Seminary. I am an ordained deacon in the First Baptist Church in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and have taught a men’s class in church school for 35 years, here and in Texas. I have never felt that any interpretation other than that given me by the Holy Spirit was necessary.
JAMES A. WELCH
Alto, New Mexico
ANOTHER UNILLUMINATING ARTICLE about Baylor University, written by a Texas Baptist about Texas Baptists. Ms. Jarboe missed the point of President Herbert H. Reynolds’ role in the creation of a new board of regents that promises to be independent of Texas Baptist politics. So unshackled, a free Baylor can continue her growth as an academic institution that recognizes multicultural diversity.
In my twenty years of teaching at Baylor, the only class I’ve heard of that opened with prayer is the one mentioned in the article. Half the faculty and half the students at Baylor are not Baptist. The success of Baylor graduates in law, business, medicine, and other professions can be attributed to the excellent education they received from a talented faculty within the context of a modern university. Some of these students and faculty are also Texas Baptists.
LEWIS M. BARKER
Professor of Psychology
AS A GRADUATE OF BAYLOR with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I was excited to read an article explaining the struggle of Baylor within the Baptist General Convention of Texas. I am not a Southern Baptist, and I always find the issues that pit fundamentalists against moderates confusing.
Ms. Jarboe did explain the issues on both sides, but I did not appreciate her narrow observations of campus life. She skipped the students who attend Baylor for its exceptional education. The “three main groups” that divide Baylor’s social life were ridiculous. I was neither a “fountain person,” a “Greek,” nor a “church person.” I was offended by such potshots at Baylor students (who were never interviewed, only observed) as “no one in the room had to be coerced into studying the Bible.” I understood the article to be about the Baptists’ fight for the university, not about the students.
The Second Revolution
GREGORY CURTIS’ “ TEXAS BREAKS AWAY” Fantasy (Fantasy?) [Behind the Lines, TM, November 1991] probably won’t get more than about 9,748 letters of approval, but here’s one reader who’s 150 percent for it. I may be a little long in the tooth to make it for the ceremony in 2067, but you’ve got a recruit here. Clear some of that