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God, country and the in-between 

Street Smarts

Which makes for a better society: aligning public policy to religious beliefs, or keeping religion out of politics (and vice versa)? The debate rages on.

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Matthew McKinley of the Shooks Run area works in a climbing gym

Should church and state be kept separate? If they aren't, it's to the benefit of some, but the detriment of many.

How important is this issue? I come from a conservative Christian background. I understand why some people want their religion to inform public policy, but if they tried to impose that on me, this would be a massive issue.

Many people consider Colorado Springs a bastion of evangelicalism. Does it feel that way to you? Depends on where I'm at. It felt like that when we lived just up the street from First Presbyterian, but it doesn't feel like that where we live now, or in Manitou.

Relate the last time someone talked about religion to you unasked. Every time I go on Facebook. I don't even bother to read it.

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Susan Fletcher of Old Colorado City is a historian

How important is separation of church and state? The religious right getting into politics diluted both politics and the message of the Gospel. I want to be free to worship without government interference, and I don't think we want a theocracy.

Did religion once play a bigger role in public policy? Moral values rooted in Christianity may have played a bigger role, but not necessarily religion.

Does Colorado Springs feel like the capital of evangelism to you? I work for a Christian ministry, and we have a lot of sister ministries in town, and that's fabulous. As a west sider, however, I know people of many different beliefs, including atheists. We're not quite the Christian mecca people think.

How much does your own spirituality factor into your politics? My spirituality factors into every aspect of my life, not just politics.

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Joseph Daino of the Bear Creek Park area is self-employed

Does Colorado Springs feel like an evangelical 'ground zero' to you? Growing up here, Christianity was shoved down my throat. I had neighbors who didn't speak to me because I didn't go to their church. I see bumper stickers all over town with Christian messages.

When was the last time someone talked to you about religion unasked? Last week in a Wal-Mart checkout line, someone asked me if I wanted to go to his Bible study. I declined, but he went on and on about needing to learn God's message.

Does your own spirituality inform your politics? As a practitioner of Native American beliefs, I care about things like genetically modified seeds. Corporations like Monsanto are manipulating our food supply, which goes against everything my spirituality is about.

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