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What Jesus taught

Millions of my fellow evangelicals are about to vote for a Mormon for president. Not surprising, if you believe the lies about Obama floating around the Internet. Anyone's better than Obama, goes the reasoning (using that last word very loosely). Obama isn't perfect — far from it. (Nor am I.) But "the least of these" — the homeless, the poor, etc. — matter to him. This includes the former middle class, who now have to choose between health care and rent or food.

You can't be facing that choice and still consider yourself middle-class. Romney would lower the bar for the 1 percent, automatically raising it for the 99.

Did Jesus say if we cater to the wealthy, everyone else will be fine too? No, that was Reagan. Reaganomics was exactly upside-down from what Jesus taught. The Bible says if we make helping the poor our first priority, the whole society will prosper.

Obama also wants health care for all. Romney says no way — even though Obama's health care plan is modeled after Romney's own. I think Jesus would call that hypocrisy.

Which of today's religious groups is most like the Pharisees who wanted Jesus dead? It's us evangelicals. Like them, we love God's word and prayer, yet often can't seem to get the message. Like them, we love righteousness, but the most important thing — loving as God loves — is often a foreign concept to us.

Whatever Obama's flaws, at least he cares for the poor, and isn't afraid to hold the rich and powerful accountable — two clearly biblical mandates. Where are our priorities compared to what Christ teaches? Time to search our hearts, folks.

— Gary Hassig

Colorado Springs

Pulpit politics I

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs revealed in recent press statements that he learned nothing from the mistakes he made during the 2004 campaign, when he told John Kerry voters not to present themselves for Communion. Now he has doubled down on that PR gaffe eight years later by again conflating two issues: having an abortion and having an opinion about how best to reduce the number of abortions.

Catholic doctrine teaches that it is forbidden to have an abortion, but it does not weigh in on the socio-political question as to whether a Catholic must force other people not to have an abortion. The bishop erroneously tells Catholic voters that the preference to leave abortion legal is morally equivalent to personally getting an abortion.

Two facts he ignores lead him to that error. First, the abortion rate rises and falls with the economy, especially for the poor. The steady decline in abortions that began in the Clinton administration ended with the recent recession.

More importantly, the bishop is still fooled by campaign rhetoric. Republican candidates have learned they must at least appear to be anti-abortion to win their party's nomination. Bush sold himself as anti-abortion but ignored the issue once elected. Romney was solidly pro-choice when running for governor in liberal Massachusetts but converted before entering the national stage. Will his new position last beyond Jan. 20? Highly unlikely. He as much as said so when he confessed that he plans to propose no abortion legislation.

Practical local Catholic voters should look to history, not to their ideological bishop, for guidance. Under the last supposedly pro-life president, we had wars, bank failures, foreclosures and unemployment, which caused poverty and the abortion rate to rise.

— Tim Rowan

Colorado Springs

Pulpit politics II

It's not just about the wrongness of clergy taking political positions from the pulpit and justifying them from whatever they feel is their Holy Scripture. For me, it is the absolute certainty of knowing that "only my way" is God's way.

According to Jewish Tradition, "there are seventy faces to the Torah," which means that each of us is our own commentator of holy text. Each of us gets to decide what the text "means," without badgering from our clergy or our family. Each of us gets to study the issues, and come to our own conclusions, which may well differ from those of our minister or our best friend.

Some may call it "helping us decide who to vote for based on what Jesus/Allah/God/Spirit says"; I call it colossal arrogance. Who gives anybody, clergy or not, to "know" what The Truth is?

Perhaps that's part of the reason that the largest religious group today are the "seekers," those wise young folks who have left their home religion and are seeking real (and usually different and more meaningful) answers for themselves. We learn and teach best by asking questions, not by demanding dicta, religious or political.

Now I know that some of you will respond "He's going to hell" for his heresy. Save it. Let me assure you, I already know that — you have been telling us that for 2,000 years! — and I am not afraid of Hell because all my friends will be there beside me, and we will have a fine time together! Care to join us?

— Rabbi Mel Glazer

Temple Shalom, Colorado Springs

Doing the math

David M. Justice's comments ("Many happy returns," Letters, Oct. 3) leave him befuddled as to how Mitt Romney has acquired an IRA worth $100 million, given the "maximum you can contribute is $30,000 a year." As someone who has managed IRAs in the financial services industry, I would be happy to educate him.

Mitt Romney worked for Bain Capital for over 25 years. During his time with the company, he was compensated in the form of stock. Many CEOs receive company stock, and these shares are often valued at a price that is quite low.

The amount that a person can contribute to an IRA has steadily increased over the years. Mr. Romney very easily could have contributed stock in the amount of $5,000 to $10,000 a year over this time, up to the maximum limit for that particular year. The overall value of this stock could very easily have ballooned to over $100 million dollars, over 25-plus years.

The key thing is you don't have to pay any taxes on your IRA until you begin making withdrawals. Maybe, Mr. Justice, you will see more of Romney's tax returns after President Obama reveals an original birth certificate, and his educational records and grades, which allowed him admission into Columbia and Harvard.

— Doug Roman

Colorado Springs

To Russia with smokes

Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, would never think of smoking a cigarette. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't push cigarettes on millions of other people, if he could make a ton of money by doing so.

It seems that Bain & Company, back when Mr. Romney was CEO, made millions of dollars by helping Philip Morris increase their revenues in the USA and aiding two other tobacco giants as they vied to move into the Russian market, following the collapse of the USSR.

Details about these tobacco deals can be found at huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/mitt-romney-bain-tobacco_n_1949812.html.

Talk about hypocrisy. Mitt Romney doesn't care about the American people, or any other people for that matter. He's a greedy opportunist, and we're merely something he can exploit in his never-ending quest for wealth.

This is not the type of leadership this country needs at this critical time; if Mr Romney becomes president, he'll merely use us to become even wealthier while he watches us go broke.

— Fred Kormos

Colorado Springs

Make it a merger

The merger of Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) and Manitou Springs Public Library (MSPL) is an opportunity to enhance and sustain our community library for future generations. I would like to address some misinformation related to this merger.

1. Yes, there is a small tax increase. While the ballot states "up to 4 mills," Manitou residents will realize only a 2-mill increase as an old 2-mill tax expires. The owner of a $300,000 home would pay less than $50 (net) per year. These dollars support improved library services and give the library a stable budget that will sustain it throughout the future.

2. The MSPL budget is currently tied to the Manitou Springs city budget. Consequently, the library competes for funding with essential services such as police, fire and public works. The library is not an essential service.

3. Results of the community survey and Manitou Springs Forward's recommendations show that citizens want convenient services and improved educational opportunities which PPLD offers students of our community. Joining PPLD allows residents the ability to order books from any PPLD branch in Manitou Springs. PPLD offers many programs such as computer skills and how to start or market your business. Also, PPLD provides a professional video studio which can be used to promote MSPL and the entire Manitou Springs community.

4. Our Carnegie building is an icon in the community — ownership stays in the hands of our city (it will be leased by PPLD). PPLD will help in restoring and expanding the library and addressing our issues of space and ADA requirements.

Our small-town community feel will not change. We will be the Manitou Springs Community Library.Please vote YES on 2B and help sustain the library for future generations.

— Michael Massik

President, Manitou Springs Library Board of Trustees

 

Tennis is served

Having grown up in the Colorado Springs public tennis programs, I am saddened to read that some have not noticed the effort that is being made to grow this sport in the community ("Forgotten sport," Letters, Sept. 12). I am writing to better inform your readers regarding the Memorial Park Tennis Center.

To state that there were no youth programs available is incorrect. Colorado Springs Tennis is contracted by the city to provide public tennis opportunities for juniors (ages 4 to 17) and adults citywide. In addition to the hundreds who participated in those programs this season, through the hard work of volunteers there were also several tennis events and programs that were made available to children of all ages and abilities — free of charge. These included play days, tennis at the Olympic Watch Party, clinics at local high schools, and wheelchair tennis.

A private donation provided scholarships for junior players to attend COS Tennis programs and an adjusted fee schedule is available to all lower-income families. Lastly, the STARS tennis program (not associated with COS Tennis) offered free tennis lessons every Sunday throughout the summer to kids from the Memorial Park neighborhood.

Altogether, COS Tennis volunteers logged more than 120 hours helping bring tennis to young people in Colorado Springs. This said, I hope folks will take better notice of the people and programs that are working hard to open the sport of tennis to everyone, keeping in mind that to expand these opportunities more tennis aficionados are needed to volunteer.

As for restrooms, COS Tennis is responsible for providing tennis programming, not for maintenance or availability of park facilities. We do, however, open the restroom in the Memorial Park pro shop to the public.

— Anthony Weber

Director of Tennis,

Colorado Springs (COS Tennis)

Market forces

I've been following Mike Callicrate's proposal for a public market in downtown Colorado Springs ("Pikes Peak Market?" Side Dish, June 27), and wanted to offer a couple items to the dialogue with regard to the planning process.

First, on a historical note, in the early 2000s artists, farmers, foodies and other community members envisioned a similar project at the gasworks building at America the Beautiful Park. When discussions bogged down and it became clear that there was limited city support, a number of us split off to form the Colorado Farm and Art Market. The lesson learned: Without city involvement and professional planning, it will be challenging to implement such a project.

I like Mike's approach of initiating a public discussion. I suggest that he pull together a diverse steering committee to oversee a professional feasibility study funded, perhaps, by the city and charitable foundations.

It will be critical to involve the agricultural community. Small- and mid-scale farmers, ranchers and food businesses must be at the table from the outset.

These people are generally most available from November to February, so maybe planning could begin soon and a feasibility analysis could be announced and available for public review by next spring or summer.

This project could have major impact on the region's economy and quality of life. The timing is right for others to come to the table and explore the possibilities.

— Dan Hobbs

Avondale

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