We all want to feel special when we win, and to have an excuse when we lose. Holding the Big Guy accountable for both conveniently satisfies all our needs.
—DEAN HINITZ, Reno
God and the Super Bowl
To see these men humbly drop to their knees and pay homage to God for His intervention in their lives is impressive (Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?, Jan. 26). I commend them for their conviction. As a high school basketball coach, I have often led my team in prayer. We never pray for victory. We pray for the safety of the competitors and give thanks for our abilities.
TIMOTHY P. LANGE, Altamont, N.Y.
I find it distressing to see noted theologians limit the Almighty's ability and set His priorities for Him. The issues that make the headlines and tear at our heartstrings are not diminished because God controls the events of our everyday lives, including athletic contests, using circumstances to bless and teach us. An omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful God can be involved in everything, even if the idea is beyond our limited comprehension.
BOB TOPP, Annapolis, Md.
It may seem silly to us to pray over a football game, but this is the athlete's livelihood.
JODY MINCEY, Rome, Ga.
To suggest that God really cares about the outcome of a sporting event is preposterous. Conservatively, 20 million people in the U.S. went to bed hungry on Super Bowl Sunday. A God who cares about the outcome of the Super Bowl is not a God I ever want to meet.
LUKE DE ROECK, Chicago
I wonder how many of those football players who pray for a win "only as a way to bring glory to God" give 10% of their paychecks to the glory of God.
STEVE WAGNER, Newton, Mass.
Whenever a Christian player points to the sky, kneels in the end zone or prays on the sideline, I am reminded of the Pharisees condemned by Christ in Matthew 6:1 for praying on street corners: "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven."
REVEREND ROBERT M. RAABE, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.
I worked in a legal, regulated Nevada sports book from 1980 to '96. I also worked for five months during '96 in an offshore sports book in the Caribbean that handled both telephone and Internet wagering (All Bets Are Off, Jan. 26). It was licensed, by the government of Grenada, but not regulated. Please understand that "licensed" in the offshore sense is not the same as "regulated" in the Nevada sense. In Nevada, a public authority ensures customers that a sports book observes approved and posted terms and conditions. In offshore, what odds are paid on what types of bets are subject to change without notice.
Nevada casino operators and the Nevada congressmen should lead the effort to legalize Internet and telephone gambling. Bring these and future technological advances into the worldwide gambling industry's most proven regulatory environment. The Kyl bill to prohibit Internet gambling is not the solution. Offer customers the alternative of regulated venues and then let the market prevail.
TERRY COX, Reno
I have placed bets on sporting events for five years by means of the Internet and telephone with sports books based in Antigua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom. I paid a price for this convenience. Language barriers, slow or improper payouts, lack of consistent management and regulation are just a few of the problems. As a consumer you have no recourse for lost funds or less than honest service.