Good cover pictures encourage people to read the articles they illustrate. We thought we had a winner in the painting of Uncle Sam on the cover of our March 19 issue. So many have asked who was the Uncle Sam model for that painting that I thought you might be interested in the story behind the picture.

Richard Neuhaus’s speech delivered at the Harvard Club in New York City raised the issue of who will determine the direction of America during the last two decades of the twentieth century. In the recent past, liberal leadership of the mainline denominations has provided that role for our country. Today its leadership is faltering. Who will take its place? If evangelicals (both in and out of the mainline denominations) would work together, they could assume that role and provide guidance and intellectual leadership for our nation during the next generation.

We wished to portray Uncle Sam cutting out the pattern for the future of America, and we wanted a model who not only looked the part but also symbolized in his character the rock-ribbed integrity we covet for our national leaders. I know of no one who fits that image better than Dr. Hudson Armerding, president of Wheaton College (Illinois). We asked him to pose for a photograph in full dress costume. He agreed, and we were happy with the painting. We hope you were, too.

We hope you will read the story of Robert Lavelle in the current issue. This Christian bank executive puts into daily practice what many evangelicals have been urging—the duty of the Christian private sector to come to the assistance of the poor and needy, particularly those hurt in recent federal budget cuts.

A sadder tale stems from Northern Ireland. In this troubled area of the world, concerned Protestants and Roman Catholics alike have felt at a loss for ways to quell the violence. Without glossing over the complexities of the situation, Arthur Williamson tries to sort out the issues and help us understand what keeps this land in turmoil.

Finally, Edwin Olson takes on a highly controversial topic—the evolutionist/creationist debate. We will devote an issue to this topic next fall, but here, Olson tries to define terms and uncover the real questions. If you think the debate among evangelicals appears acrimonious, take a look at secular scientific writers Robert Jastrow and Isaac Asimov. More than anything else, evangelicals need to sort out what are the real issues and determine where their biblical faith is at stake and where only traditional interpretations of Scripture are involved. Until we do so, the debates will continue to generate more heat than light.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.