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Illegitimate organ

Cara DeGette's Public Eye last week on Rep. Dave Schultheis and UCCS student Megan Burns is an excellent example of why the Independent is viewed by the public as a fringe, irresponsible publication rather than a legitimate organ of honest journalism.

In addition to Ms. DeGette's defense of homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and alcohol and drug abuse on college campuses (and her condemnation of those suggesting that, perhaps, these are not activities conducive to a high-quality educational environment), her misreporting of the basic facts of the case (e.g., Miss Burns' Bible study was totally voluntary) are standard symptoms of personal prejudice overwhelming the truth.

Ms. DeGette simply does not like Christianity, she does not like a college student who would dare to publicly practice her faith, and she does not like a government representative who would defend her right to do so.

This is pure personal prejudice and hatred, and the fact that it is presented as journalism says more about Ms. DeGette and the Independent than it does about the honorable stands taken by both Miss Burns and Rep. Schultheis.

-- Dave Crater

Assistant to Rep. Schultheis

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The complete text of Rep. Schultheis' 5-page letter to CU-Springs Chancellor Pam Shockley complaining that student Megan Burns had been "harassed" for her religion, as well as Shockley's response, can be read online. Last week's Public Eye column can also be read online.

Man from Mars

It was interesting to read the letters about the Burns/Schultheis affair followed some pages later by Cara DeGette's terrific column [Letters to the Editor and Public Eye, March 13-19].

When I first read about this business I merely wrote it off as more flummery by our religious nuts, of whom our state and county seem to have more than their share. I'm glad that you pursued the matter further.

Schultheis seems to have achieved ubiquity -- it seems as though I see every few days in a newspaper some quotation of a ridiculous statement of his. Where do such people come from? Why is it our "good fortune" to have so many of them here?

Diligence is obviously required. Thanks for staying on top of it.

-- Lowell Morgan

Monument

Far right paranoia

Given the recent coverage UCCS has received in your paper, I feel compelled to offer a student's perspective on the controversy. Specifically, I feel that last week's letters to the editor from Don Fahrenkrug and Ryan Burns grossly mischaracterize my school.

A quick check of the student club roster reveals no less than eight Christian clubs and organizations at the campus. This translates to an average of more than one club per thousand students at the school (higher than any other type of club except the Greek system). Compare this to El Paso County with about 65 Christian organizations and 500,000 plus inhabitants (an average of approximately 1:7,700). You'll have a hard time making a case that Christians don't have a voice at our campus.

Furthermore, as I write this letter, Campus Crusade for Christ is holding a meeting in our newly built 100-seat theater room. If our campus had a true bias against the Christian viewpoint, would they have the need for such a large meeting room?

The truth of the matter is that UCCS has a campus that is open and receptive to both Christian and non-Christian worldviews. The real problem here, as beautifully displayed in Mr. Fahrenkrug's letter, is the far right's paranoia over the supposed "liberal bias" in the media and academia.

Frankly, I can't help but think that this "liberal bias" claim is nothing but the far right's attempt to silence political debate. If you claim a liberal bias every time an opposing viewpoint is expressed then you can easily dismiss all dissent as biased and therefore unworthy of serious consideration. Think about this the next time you hear the term batted around.

In the end, UCCS does not have a liberal or anti-Christian bias. What the campus does display is openness to many differing points of view. It is this openness and acceptance of difference that people like Messrs. Fahrenkrug and Burns seek to eliminate from our society. They will never be happy until we all think exactly as they do. How's that for "group think"?

-- Jason "Erici" Hendrickson

Executive Officer

UCCS Snowriders Club

Road to enightenment

In regards to the letter to the editor regarding the "lunatic left," and Rep. Schultheis ridiculous soapbox antics at UCCS. The topic of Rep. Schultheis' speech at UCCS was expected to have been academic excellence, as the meeting was held to honor students who excel in academics.

Rep. Schultheis got off on a bit of a tangent, I suppose, to emphasize his support for "conservative family values" or whatever your favorite buzzword is for the moral views that he purports to represent and support. He used the event as a forum for issues that were off subject.

UCCS student Megan Burns brought the guy in because she looks up to him, and honors his presence and opinions. If she brought him in with the knowledge that he would speak to these moral issues, and make these rather ridiculous assumptions about the moral decrepitude of UCCS students, then she was wrong to bring him in. The event would have been better served by another speaker.

In regards to Mr. Fahrenkrug's sweeping blather about the "radical left-wing," "socialists," "group think" and the automatic implication of universities, I would point out that UCCS is a very conservative environment. The student population is very conservative overall, and even the student paper (the Scribe) publishes such mindless drivel as to appear ignorant and a mouthpiece of the conservative status quo.

Even the Independent publication is a rather non-aggressive alternative weekly, certainly not so liberal or aggressively newsworthy as to endanger its advertising support by local businesses.

I would suggest to Mr. Fahrenkrug and all readers to pursue true news sources that aren't funded by U.S. corporations and business interests, such as Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! or Alternet.org, or listen to some shows on Free Radio Santa Cruz 96.3 FM (a low power, unlicensed radio station), or pursue some international news sources, such as OutlookIndia.com. Perhaps the ignorant American will be slightly enlightened.

-- Jason Moore

Colorado Springs

This is the norm

I had promised myself that never again would I waste my time with a letter such as Don Fahrenkrug's letter to the editor, but I thought, well, one more time.

His letter is ostensibly about student Megan Burns' illegal, evangelical attempt to require 18 of those under her supervision to attend a Bible study, but what it really was about was his chance to slur those who disagree with him.

Using such tedious buzzwords as "drivel," "radical" and "lunatic," he demeans rather than debates, but this is the norm for those of his sort. I'm sure he gets his talking points from conservative radio talk shows who initially got their cue from Ronald Reagan when he said: The government is the problem not the solution. This insipid, inaccurate comment unleashed the radical, driveling, lunatic talk shows that we endure today.

True, politics have always been dirty and mean because people are just that way, but in today's electronic world of 24/7 coverage, talk shows are infinitely more effective. People actually have to make an effort to get away from the onslaught of too much information.

Look at Rush Limbaugh. He is just an average Joe, but he has become a multi-millionaire and a top voice in the GOP by merely slurring the Clinton family on a daily basis. He realized that most Americans are gullible and vulnerable and if one beats the drum loud enough and long enough, most folks will believe just about anything. Limbaugh's success cloned others and now conservatives dominate the media. Hopefully, Democrats will learn to get down and dirty with Republicans and when you get them down, don't let them up.

I don't know if Democrats are that mean though. Look at me, I wrote a whole letter and never did slur Mr Fahrenkrug!

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Take a vacation

Don Fahrenkrug's letter to the editor would be a laughable caricature of a right wingnut's daft screeds -- if it weren't for the fact he takes his missive's content so seriously. But let's look beneath the Ditto-head veneer.

To hear the writer blather on, one would think the Springs is an "ultra" left-wing bastion. Hardly! It's more true to say that it's a think-alike conservative colony for pro-military rightists, Focus on the Family's Christianoid zealots, and the usual free-market fundamentalists that couldn't tell a "free market" from a coerced one (with governing monopolies) if it bit them in the collective ass.

The truth is that the "left" part of the political spectrum displays far more diversity of thought and opinion than the propagandized, Ditto-head right.

I've never seen lefties consistently seek to muzzle opinion or dissent like the right-wing wackos do. If they're not trying to get rid of The Boondocks' or get Donahue off the air, then they want to have all anti-war protesters "arrested" once this unlawful war starts, as commentator Michael Savage recently suggested on his MSNBC show.

Fahrenkrug (and his right-eous, Bible-pounding ilk) need to do themselves a favor and get out of the Springs every now and then. Get a view of how real democracies work. Those that provide for real free speech and dissent. Say, like France or Germany. Or even Barbados.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

No positive alternatives

It is obvious you don't like Rep. Dave Schultheis. Was there a point to the column (Public Eye, March 6) other than the fact you don't like Rep. Schultheis?

You offer no positive alternatives to your dislike of his views other than you don't like them.

Perhaps you could have Rep. Schultheis censored next time he is invited to speak, so no one will be offended.

-- Mark Anderson

Rocky Mountain Family Council

* Editor's note: In recent weeks we have been barraged with letters weighing in on the United States' plans to attack Iraq, which as of press time, our country appears poised to do. While we do not have the space to run all of these letters, many of them can be read online this week in an Indy Web special at www.csindy.com.

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