Two churches, one issue

It couldn't happen. Not twice. But it did.

Two Colorado Springs megachurches have been partially damaged by their longtime, high-profile leaders, due to their views against homosexuality.

First, Pastor Ted Haggard was spectacularly exposed and quickly defrocked at New Life Church amid allegations of drug-fueled and long-term gay sex. Now Rev. Don Armstrong at Grace Episcopal Church is splitting away from the Colorado diocese due to his hostile views toward homosexuality ("Grace under fire," News, April 5).

This is an ideological schism due to installation of a gay bishop in New England, ordination of women and recognition of same-sex unions. Rev. Armstrong and his faction disagree with this more flexible religious practice and want to go back to traditional views of "the inerrancy of the Bible" that the Christian Bible cannot possibly be wrong in any detail. The Bible must be literally true in all particulars.

But we remind ourselves that the Bible is an ancient book written by superstitious men 2,000 years ago, who could not have known anything about modern science. So this book has a talking snake, a burning bush giving an ethics lecture, a woman made out of a rib, etc. "Inerrancy" says that's all true! Can't be wrong. But the other faction believes in a bit of re-reading, for flexibility.

As a side issue, but still critical, is the allegation Armstrong is guilty of theft and tax fraud. Whether or not the diocese files criminal charges, ordinary citizens would expect the IRS to look into tax-fraud allegations with alacrity and thoroughness. It's their job.

One only wonders what our Hindu, Moslem, Jewish and Buddhist friends and neighbors think of all this. And our agnostic and atheistic neighbors must be shaking their heads at people praying to a God who ordered them to treat all others as wonderfully as they treat themselves except homosexuals.

Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

All wet

That was quite a review of Morimoto restaurant ("A matter of trust," Appetite, April 5)! The food sounds delicious, expensive, enlightening and, ah, yes, in Philadelphia. But let's put aside that small problem for a moment...

The restaurant in question may convey a "sense of being submerged in the sea," but the most pressing concern, Mr. Torres-Rouff, might be drowning your readers in pedantic allusions to, alternately, religion and money. I'm very happy for you, sir, that you had the opportunity and the means to travel to such a fantastic restaurant and were able, besides, to bring 14 friends, but unless those 14 are of the Colorado Springs area, your readership doubtless sees little importance or relevance in your very costly journey of self-discovery.

It's one thing to be enchanted by a dining experience, quite another to repulse your audience with crass, over-the-top sentiments and, frankly, the mentality of a pre-Revolution French socialite.

But, should you decide to return, I will gladly rescind these comments if you make me your honorary 15th friend.

Laurens T. Hare

Colorado Springs

Cartoon comments

OK, I admit I did not see the offensive fourth cartoon panel ("The City," March 29), nor do I feel the need to look at it.

My letter has to do with Rena Martin's response to it ("Offensive comic," Letters, April 5) and not the comic strip's sociopolitical content if there was one.

Ms. Martin never stated why she was offended, so I will assume it was just a visual thing.

1. Was Anna Nicole Smith a personal friend?

2. Are you offended by the treatment of women?

3. Is this out of respect for the dead?

It is called "humor" and meant to be funny. You know, rattle some chains of which you may need to loosen and squirm out.

I only know Anna Nicole Smith as a product of American Media Stew. That makes her fair game for any form of satire.

I would like to know where Ms. Martin draws her "line." Satire and humor boast no lines. It would be a sorry-ass world if there were. People like Ms. Martin keep trying to draw them. This is tame stuff compared to Mad magazine (of old), for example.

OK, I admit it. I could not resist. I just now looked up the strip.

I laughed.

The Independent is void of class.

That is why I read it.

Alan Joseph

Colorado Springs

Backing Merrifield

Recently, some partisan hacks had some fun at the expense of state Rep. Michael Merrifield. They found that he had written some intemperate comments about some political opponents in a private e-mail to a personal friend and colleague. Essentially, he expressed that he was so upset with how these opponents were acting that he thought they belonged where the sun doesn't shine (only the flames of the wrath of the Lord).

Could we hope that the people in Colorado Springs could find it in their hearts and souls to elevate the conduct of our local politics beyond the silly and mindless spin-mongering that has hurt so many other communities and our nation?

Michael Merrifield has been elected twice now by a portion of the community that knows who he is and what he stands for. To know Michael is to accept that he speaks plainly in sometimes-colorful language. His supporters take him as he is. Could we back off the opportunism that partisan groups find in exaggerating every minor flaw that anyone might make in public life?

Also, there is no honor in attacking a public servant at a weak time. Michael is fighting the fight of his life. He is standing against cancer as strongly as Lance Armstrong, Elizabeth Edwards or anyone else who must take on this powerful enemy. Now is not an honorable time to try to gain political points against him by trotting out such silly past comments. People of faith in this community might consider just praying for him because he is a good man in a difficult struggle.

There was a time in America, not too long ago, when being on opposite sides of issues didn't make you mortal enemies. America is better than that. Colorado Springs should be too.

Richard J. Haas

Colorado Springs

Enough recalls

I do not know where to begin on this pet food recall. I guess you could put it mildly and say I am outraged, not only in the light of people's family members dying due to what we feed them, but because we are in some sort of state of believing what they tell us.

We are already upset at ourselves that we did not rise up and ask questions in the name of our children when the whole peanut-butter recall happened and made several of our babies sick. So now, once again, our family members are affected. When will we stand up and ask questions? When is it time we demand enough is enough?

Jessica Hudson

Colorado Springs

Dangerous language

Warning! Figurative language in use!

Since when does metaphorical language in a private e-mail amount to a hanging offense? (Warning: A metaphor was used.) When one's opponents can use it that's when.

The hubbub (oops! Another figure!) about Michael Merrifield's frank allusion to the hypocrisy, tricks and deception employed by advocates of charter and voucher programs is, to be blunt, absurd. It reinforces the idea that logical people simply can't have a conversation with literal-minded, religious fundamentalists and the people they co-opt.

In his e-mail, sent from his personal account to Sen. Sue Windels' personal account, Merrifield discussed the situation during early December 2006 in Colorado Springs School District 11. The district had been under siege (this is actually literal) from a cabal of charter/voucher advocates for three years. A recall election was about to occur.

Responding, Merrifield employed a figure of speech: "There must be a special place in Hell for these Privatizers, Charterizers, and Voucherizers!" Merrifield also discussed the need to rein in (figurative, again) the State Charter Institute, created to override local school-board control for the purpose of establishing more charter schools.

The e-mail was unearthed (!!) by an open records request by a right-wing (!!) attack group called "Face the State" (!!). Ironically, the Gazette went to some of our community's more notorious and vindictive "Privatizers, Charterizers and Voucherizers" for comment about Merrifield. Maybe they should add another circle in Hell for exploitative reporters (a direct allusion to Dante's Divine Comedy).

People are still falling for the privatizers' propaganda that we have to destroy public education to save it. And despite Democratic gains in 2004 and 2006, the 30-year attack on education is progressing thanks to a team of Trojan horses (!!) in the Colorado Legislature.

Lois A. Fornander

Colorado Springs

Mayoral nausea

Dear Mayor Lionel Rivera,

It makes me sick to my stomach to know that you find it acceptable that the Colorado Springs Police Department put an old man in a choke hold and dragged a 56-year-old woman who was walking with a cane from the middle of the street to the curb during the St. Patrick's Day parade ("Reign on our parade," cover story, March 22).

The protesters were telling the government that they are wrong. Now, is that a crime? If that is the case, I guess that I must be a criminal for what I am about to say: You, sir, are wrong! Furthermore, the only reason you were re-elected was because Big Money paid for your campaign.

Money magazine said that Colorado Springs is the best city in America to live in. Translation: Colorado Springs is the best city in America to live in as long as you are a wealthy, Christian, right-wing Republican.

I guess I just committed a felony by what I wrote. I will pack a toothbrush and learn to acquire a taste for bread and water. Maybe I'll get out early for good behavior, or get lucky and receive a pardon, provided that your friend George W. Bush is impeached soon.

Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

More on the parade

Why did a group of people with the non-confrontational message of "PEACE" deserve to be kicked out of a local parade and then blamed for the disruption?

We were gathering with the same green shirts, some peace flags and a few banners for an hour before the parade began. Parade organizers had time to advise us if we were not welcome. Wethought a peace message wouldfit well with the "child-like mentality" of the event, and the message did receive support from onlookers.

There was no intention to be disorderly, or children would not have been involved as they were last year. We were shocked by the police's rude actions and lack of prior notice.

Much has happened since Bookman's "Let there be PEACE on earth" message in last year's Old Colorado City parade:

America's continued escalation (surges) in Iraq against the advice of many military experts while other nations were pulling out of that country's civil war.

Our country was seen by the rest of the world as at least indirectly supporting Israeli incursion intoLebanon andIsrael's taking of Palestinian land on the West Bank.

The November election was a loud and clear message from U.S. citizens to end the Middle East conflicts, which have been strengthening the terrorists' resolve.

Wouldn't an inquiring mind find one of those reasons alone enough to support a banner suggesting getting out of an endless war?

Members of the local Justice and Peace Commission have been in this area for years trying to raise local consciousness about dangers of greed leading to injustices and war, and how peace will only come if it begins within ourselves.

Kathy Verlo

Manitou Springs

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