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The sad facts

It is unfortunate that April 21 letter-to-the-editor writer Paul McCusker isn't actually open to "learning from Mel White," as he states with sarcasm.

AIDS doesn't in fact "kill millions every day," and Paul might be surprised to learn that the heterosexual lifestyle is spreading AIDS in the world at a far faster rate than that of homosexuals. In fact, the fastest growing group of AIDS victims sadly consists of "straight" women.

It always strikes me as odd that people think of gays and lesbians only in terms of probable sex lives. Buck up, Paul. ... Open your mind and you might be surprised at what you could learn.

-- Donna J. Arnink

Colorado Springs

Called to the carpet

In his letter to the editor, Paul McCusker attempted to be ironic when he chided an activist he disdains for saying "very reasonable things." The real irony of his letter, however, is unintentional, for McCusker goes on to claim that "the homosexual lifestyle ... spreads HIV/AIDS and kills millions of people every day."

Whereas it remains a cherished myth among certain elements of the Christian Right that AIDS is a "gay disease," the facts demonstrate otherwise: AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease and has no respect for sexual orientations. Studies have shown that worldwide 98 percent of new AIDS infections are heterosexually acquired (source: globalchange.com, a Christian Web site that presents a wealth of facts and statistics). McCusker's scapegoating, hatemongering rhetoric provides a dangerously misleading picture of the devastating AIDS pandemic.

-- Allan Burns

Colorado Springs

The sin of blending fabrics

After reading last week's letters to the editor, which presented opposing views regarding homosexuality, I could not keep quiet any longer. The two sides will never resolve their conflict. The basic question is whether or not homosexuality is a choice. Letter writer Phil Kenny is absolutely correct in his assessment. It cannot possibly be a choice, not in one's wildest imaginings. Nobody would ever make a decision one day to be attracted to others of the same gender.

For the fundamentalists and conservatives to make such an asinine statement is for them to admit that they themselves have made such a choice. I would ask these experts on the sexual orientation of others if they can remember when they faced the option of being either heterosexual or homosexual, and if they can honestly admit that the choice was a difficult one to make.

Those who decry homosexual acts by citing the Bible must be reminded that the book of Leviticus condemns many other behaviors besides men lying down with each other. How many Bible quoters out there eat bacon or shellfish? How many Bible-believing men do not round the corners of their heads or beards? How many fundamentalists have married widows or divorced women? How many wear clothing with a blend of two or more fabrics? A person must either believe 4,000 years of traditional interpretation in its entirety, or not. True Bible believers cannot choose those quotes that are most convenient while ignoring the others that contradict their lifestyle.

-- Joseph F. Pennock

Idalia

The true and the beautiful

I am mostly conservative by intellectual choice. I am Christian from the inside out by God's inexplicable grace. I am green from head to toe because it's the right way to honor and steward God's creation, not to mention that that creation is one of our best windows to the good, the true and the beautiful.

Destructive exploitation of the environment is not only disrespectful to the Creator, but it is theft from future generations and clearly in violation of the eighth commandment. If perchance you need any other reason to be an environmentalist it should be obvious from any worldview that it is foolish to foul one's own nest.

Thanks to Ted Haggard for his wise and balanced words in the April 21 cover story, "Climate control." Hopefully he will be able to wake up my fellow evangelicals to one of the biggest holes in the outward manifestation of our faith.

Thanks also to Kathryn Eastburn for a thoughtful and non-hostile article in the Indy in regards to the Christian community. (It would be refreshing to see some more deep interviews of the wise leaders of our faith instead of always mocking the foolish or misrepresenting the wise.)

Finally, to my fellow believers, let's stop behaving like an auxiliary to the Republican Party and begin speaking with a prophetic voice. Let's give kudos to the liberals when they promote godly behavior. Let's give brickbats to the conservatives when they don't, and let's give big, wet raspberries to both when neither ideology measures up to biblical ideals.

-- Douglas Hammerstrom

Colorado Springs

Super smoke machine artist

I'm glad that Kathryn Eastburn got Ted Haggard on the record as an environmentalist. I'll be expecting New Life Church to take the lead in getting a publicly financed mass transit system in Colorado Springs and all along the Front Range. That will be either before or after they take the lead in a statewide "limits to growth" movement.

Actually, I have serious doubts that either of those things will be happening soon. Ted Haggard has been making these general noises for some time. The October meeting mentioned in the article was, of course, a month before the election in which they gave blanket support to the Republican Party's pseudo-environmentally friendly policies. It was curious that he mentioned super smoke machine artist Karl Rove as a potential ally in his movement.

I would suggest to Ted that Karl's already on the case. W. has been touting his environmental commitment for a term plus. It sounds an awful lot like Haggard's version, which touts the free market and exempts the military. Last time I checked, unfettered big business was a big part of this problem. And war is the most egregious destroyer of the environment ever devised by humans. And Ted likes it when America is smiting God's enemies in war. There's plenty of history on that.

I really believe this is nothing more than political opportunism. I have been searching for years to find some theological depth in Ted Haggard's writings and general operation. Every time I spend more than a few minutes in his supercharged nationalistic building on the north end of town, I almost suffocate in its banality.

On the other hand, I'm an eternal optimist and hope that Ted and the gang are for real.

-- Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

We'll get them, too

I am one of those Eeeeevil Republicans who does occasionally peruse your pages to get a different outlook and to keep an eye on what the other side is doing.

I read with interest the April 7 cover story "Roadkill," which included an interview with my friend Loren Whittemore, the chief of staff for Congressman Joel Hefley in El Paso County and here in Park County. Like El Paso County, our county is also a water-dependent high-growth area. Similarly, I am one of those new-school (at 55) free market proponents of property rights who believe the issue will eventually sort itself out by market forces.

Restricting ownership ability with public buy-up only drives the existing and remaining parcel values through the roof and fosters an elitist society where only the upper classes can afford to live. Do we want the entire state to become a Boulder?

Now, about animal cruelty to Coco the cat (News, April 7): I am pleased to see a couple of previous letters to the editor addressed Colorado College sociologist Dana Rosenfeld's gross denial. She appears to be in a parallel ideological incompetence universe with CU's Ward Churchill. Even laypersons such as myself are aware of the mountains of evidence relating cruelty to animals to deviant criminal behavior, including arson, rape and murder. Why the surprise at the outrage and size of reward? The described act was purely mean and evil. If some deranged sociopath tied a child up on a clothesline, shot him, then left him to die, you can bet the reward would be dramatically larger, and it would make national news.

But I really take umbrage at using an act of a sicko as a backdoor segue into carping about Iraq and war prisoners. Our soldiers are doing the right thing. They have banished the Taliban in Afghanistan; stopped a murderous dictator, Saddam, from further killing and enslaving his own people; and helped bring about free elections in both countries.

And, by showing the world what happens when you piss off America by hijacking our planes and killing thousands of innocent people, maybe the remaining terrorists will rethink their approach. And if they don't, we'll get them, too! And those criminals and terrorists in Guantanamo? They are prisoners of war, period. They would kill any of us in a heartbeat.

-- J.B. Gardner

Fairplay

The rest of the article

Bernie Herpin, president of the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, stated clearly his views on the "rights" of persons to openly carry firearms into El Paso County government buildings (Letters to the editor, April 14). He quoted most of Article II, Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution, which determines firearm possession. The entire article states, "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned shall be called into question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons. " (Herpin left out the portion in italics.)

While Mr. Herpin is confident that the article means "every person in Colorado has the right to keep and bear arms," and that this is "an unalienable right," one must ponder this carefully. A dictionary defines "unalienable" as "that which can neither be given nor taken away." If this right is unalienable, then every man, woman and child -- whether law-abiding or not -- can possess a firearm.

This brings up another point: Is a Colorado law allowing concealed carry unconstitutional, since the last clause of the article implies that concealed weapons are violations?

Mr. Herpin also states that it "is refreshing to see elected officials upholding their oath to protect and defend the constitutions of the United States and Colorado."

When referring to the U.S. Constitution, I'm sure Mr. Herpin means the Second Amendment. U.S. Supreme Court decisions, however, have stated two things: (1) The Second Amendment is a constraint only on the federal government. Within the confines of its constitution, a state can pass any gun laws it feels necessary. Such laws will not violate the Second Amendment; and (2) the right to bear arms is in relation to serving in the state militia (National Guard) and not an individual right (you can study this for yourself; don't take my word for it).

When the El Paso County commissioners decide on open carry, they can only base the decision on the Colorado Constitution and established precedents of that document.

-- William Gallegos

Colorado Springs

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