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Paid vacation?

So, Commissioner Douglas Bruce, tell us: Are you going to return your monthly paycheck to the county while you're on vacation ("Douglas Bruce's summer vacation," News, May 31)?

Being the good conservative that you are, I couldn't imagine that you would take the taxpayers' money when you didn't earn it. Enjoy the Ukraine!

Joan Lucia-Treese
Colorado Springs

Mickey vs. Jesus

As the Indy reports, major troubles have surfaced in the local right-wing religious community. Rifts, splits and internecine fights have erupted. As Cara DeGette's sly and masterful article ("Friends' turn on Dobson," Public Eye, May 31) noted, an ultra-right Christian group, Colorado Right to Life, has savaged far-right religionist and radio celebrity, Dr. James Dobson.

It says his stand as a famous anti-abortionist is too liberal. This statement is as stunning as someone claiming that the Pope doesn't have a good hat collection.

Michael de Yoanna's deft and informative article ("Split in two," News, May 31) details the ongoing split of Grace Church, led by Rev. Donald Armstrong. Armstrong accuses the Colorado Episcopal Diocese of being too soft on gay rights.

But in the very nick of time, a newswire report may save the day. Apparently a creationist museum, a kind of intelligent-design theme park, built lavishly near Cincinnati, Ohio, will open soon. It seems this park will prove, once and for all, the literal truth of the book of Genesis. Every word, with no modifications.

It's reported the real Adam and Eve will be in a display, and another display will even show God making Eve out of Adam's rib. This I've got to see.

I'm hoping against hope that there will be a display of a fellow living in a large fish for a few days, and a handmade wooden boat housing every plant and animal on the planet.

Most of all, I want to see God impregnating a young virgin, immaculately. This itself would be worth the price of admission and the car trip to Ohio, even at current gas prices.

I am, however, worried about Disney World becoming a ghost town, and Branson, Mo., and Graceland going out of business as competing venues. But that's show biz.

Larimore Nicholl
Colorado Springs

The meaning of hate

One in six hate crimes is motivated by the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. We have had a federal hate crimes law on the books since 1969, yet it has never included crimes targeting victims because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

As you may already know, the Matthew Shepard Act (Senate Bill 1105) is a bipartisan bill that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include violent attacks based on a victim's gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

This law is not special treatment. It would make sure Americans across the spectrum black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, male or female are protected. It comes down to ensuring that no Americans may be targeted for violence because of who they are. The job of the U.S. government, first and foremost, is to protect all Americans, whether black, Christian, disabled or gay.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans cutting across race, religion and ideology favor strengthening laws to give local police and sheriff's departments the tools and resources they need to prevent and prosecute heinous acts of prejudice.

Please support the Matthew Shepard Act.

Jessie May
Colorado Springs

Last chance failing

George W. Bush's brave and manly surge into Iraq has succeeded: 14 more of our troops were killed last weekend. The surge in deaths that I knew was coming is now here.

Those from last weekend followed May's total of 127 killed. But surely those who support this war, including our tough-talking U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, won't be discouraged. They still think there's something to win; they want to give our commander-in-chief just one more shot.

I hope all these armchair warriors look up the nearest recruiting station. I hope they all encourage the fighting- age males in their families to join this most worthy cause. We cannot win this war if we lose 14 brave and loyal soldiers every three days, or 127 each month. By September, that will be 381. By the start of primaries next year, it will be 1,000 or more dead.

Our guys need replacements and backups, and they need them now. And those who are with the president need to step up and prove their bravery.

Bud Gordon
Colorado Springs

Choosing evil

Cindy Sheehan, who was protesting the war outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, finally quit for good after the Democrats failed to stand up to "King George the Warmonger." Considering both the Democrat and Republican leadership serve the same master, what did you expect?

The problem is, no matter whom we elect, as long as they serve the money masters and ignore the Constitution and the first, second and 10th amendments thereof, we will never have real leadership.

The only way to get the leadership this country needs is to make the political process free for all, end the illegal bans on debate process, and end preferential treatment to political ads on TV and radio. Once the money has been taken out of politics, there will be change for the better.

Why should it be the most popular? Or the one who raised the most money? It should be the most qualified, despite religion, wealth, fame, or any of the idiotic ways we have chosen leaders before.

In closing, let me share words of wisdom: "He who chooses the lesser of two evils, still chooses evil."

Dwayne Schultz
Colorado Springs

Background check

I don't want to get into a piddling contest with Phil Kenny ("Taking our side," Letters, May 24). He is correct on one issue. I am a 71-year-old farm boy from Kansas.

After four years in the Navy, I worked my way through Cal Poly on the G.I. Bill, reporting part-time for a daily newspaper, while supporting a wife and three children. My 39 years as a human-resources professional all came in the private sector. I loved FDR, Harry Truman and voted for JFK, all because they had integrity and courage. I was a fan of Ronald Reagan.

I believe in free enterprise, lower taxes, less government, the right to bear arms, reduction of our welfare approach and the many other things that have made this a great country. I am vehemently opposed to socialism and the nanny approach to solving every social issue, like a national health-care system. I have never concealed my conservative values and ideals. I enjoy anyone who is honest, has values and integrity, which is my issue with our current governments federal, state and city.

The Independent has some talented writers. I would welcome another daily newspaper, providing a broad spectrum of ideas and issues. There are many opportunities for doing investigative reporting, which was my primary point, one lost on Mr. Kenny due to his own bias toward any conservative ideas.

Duane C. Slocum
Colorado Springs

"Sex' control ineffective

In response to "Mom's the Word" (cover story, May 24), I was curious about who taught sex education at our schools, and found a company called Education for a Lifetime that teaches the following districts: Academy District 20, Colorado Springs District 11, Cheyenne Mountain District 12, Lewis-Palmer District 38, Fountain-Fort Carson District 8, Falcon District 49, Harrison District 2 and Widefield District 3, among a few others. One of the objectives on its Web site, eflonline.org, supports the "abstinence-until-marriage message."

There are many credible reasons to stay abstinent, as a teenager especially. But will teenagers know what to do if they have sex unexpectedly? If the sex education system teaches them abstinence, the answer is no.

I researched what branch the Education for a Lifetime is part of, and was not surprised to find that it is linked to Life Network. This is the same network that the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center is part of. At the Life Network site, elifenetwork.com, the mission statement reads, "Life Network is a sanctity of human life ministry that impacts and transforms people with the love of Christ."

Are the school districts supporting a religious company that promotes abstinence and, as a result, believes our teenagers will wait until marriage to consummate? That is just plain gullibility.

The supporters of Life Network need to go to the source, however unfulfilling to one's ego, concerning abortion and consider that by teaching our teenagers to use condoms, spermicide and birth control, abortions would not be as much of an issue. Among the many questions I have, one dominates: What the hell happened to separation of church and state?!

Cassidy Shults
Colorado Springs

Lonely path

I found Naomi Zeveloff's undercover jaunt to Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center ("Mom's the word") fascinating. Abortion rights are indeed a topic that can make both pro and con sides reach boiling points faster than the speed of light.

I am a professional who has been helping women suffering from their abortion choice for over 10 years. What I've witnessed with my own eyes is that for the woman who has made the choice, the discussion moves out of the political arena, into her own personal journey.

This can be a lonely road for her, with pro-choicers telling her she should be enjoying her "freeing experience" and some pro-lifers intimating she is condemned to hell, and mostly everyone else not wishing to hear any grueling details.

For Ms. Zeveloff to write off the women who do suffer is to invalidate them as human beings with normal emotions and natural grief. If our society is ever to grow through more than 30 years of choice, we simply must provide a place of comfort and closure for those who do feel pain over a past abortion.

And by the way, I speak from experience, if you would care to contact someone who has actually had an abortion and suffered greatly for many years from that choice. You would then understand that your black-and-white concepts place you in the same camp as the "enemy" you have so diligently tried to expose.

You are doing women harm by discounting those of us who endure an abortion choice. You can go to the Web site for Exhale, an after-abortion talkline, at 4exhale.org, to read other accounts of those who feel the pain of past abortions.

Can't we agree to disagree without throwing women who do suffer under the bus or, excuse me, was that "out with the bathwater?"

Trudy M. Johnson, M.A., L.M.F.T.
Buena Vista

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