Time is ripe

Thank you, David Torres-Rouff. "Summer's last stand" (Appetite, Sept. 14) is absolutely a helping hand. My tomatoes have tough skins because they took so long in ripening, and now you found chef Rebecca Christensen and these delightful solutions. And, wonders upon wonders, there is even one without garlic.

I even grew thyme and bay leaf, so I am raring to start tomato tartare and roasted tomato sauce.

Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

Critiquing the powerful

Regarding "Right cross" (cover, Sept. 7): Thank you for giving voice to the many millions of Christians who are spiritual progressives. There is one important area that your article did not address: the close alignment of the religious right with the wealthy and the powerful with people, corporations and the Republican government.

As Billy Graham (a Christian Democrat) discovered during Watergate, being too cozy with the instruments of power takes away the moral authority that allows the church and church leaders to critique the powerful, when necessary, just as Jesus stood against the power structures and sided with the poor and needy and powerless.

Where are the religious right's voices that call our nation to account for the torture of prisoners; the killing of civilians; bearing false witness in order to bring us into the Iraq war; the flouting of international law and the Geneva Convention; the mismanagement of billions of dollars; the destruction of the environment that we are commanded to care for; fomenting fear and hatred of those different than us; the coddling of the rich; and the refusal to even give the poor health care and an increased minimum wage?

Although the religious right now holds much political power in all three branches of our government, it has not done enough to bring true Christian values and action into the political arena through legislation and policies.

Linda Seger


Hand in the bucket

I'm not sure what happened with your Sept. 7 issue, but I can only imagine someone drawing a bad pick out of your newspaper's "Last Minute News Topics, For Emergency Use Only" bucket. It seems that a majority of the cover story and a couple of news articles were focused on the politics-and-religion tag team, slamming each other in the gay marriage wrestling ring.

What got my attention the most was the "God in the details" news story by Cara DeGette.

In case you didn't know, the rest of the world isn't surprised by religion influencing politics. I doubt I need to re-illustrate that God is on our money, and in the Pledge of Allegiance, courtrooms, etc. You can take the church out of the state, but not the state out of the church. A leader of any church is listened to by his followers on many aspects of their lives: the food the eat, they way they act, and gasp their vote.

Now granted, more often then not, a religious leader is associated with faith; therefore, most of the followers use the same correlation when the leader dispenses personal advice.

What really doesn't make sense to me is what do all these political and religious people hope to gain from the song and dance. Do they think they can reverse homosexuality by not allowing them to marry?

Unfortunately, your articles didn't seem to cover the actual impact or shed any new light into this drab, un-color-coordinated limelight. Your readers are very capable of gathering their own opinions without your journalists hitting us over the head with a shovel and dragging us to the conclusion. I will now boycott your newspaper until the next issue.

Jason Spector

Black Forest

Attack dogma

Don Fahrenkrug, in his letter to the Independent ("God is listening," Sept. 14), seems to perceive that the Independent reflects a theme that the majority of ills of the world are due to Christians. He fundamentally misunderstands the issue.

From his point of view, anyone not accepting the Christian view is imposing on Christians. He remarks that people resent Christians for voting for candidates they think will reflect their views. Well, their views, when injected into politics, violate the separation of church and state.

Sarcastically, he comments that people are resentful of Christians proselytizing. I'm sure there are people weary of people pushing their world view; however, Christians are free to talk to whomever will listen. The problem arises when they impose a particular dogma or belief on others, via politics or laws.

Fahrenkrug sees people's freedom to pursue their own lives as a threat to Christian dogma. He uses the example of Christians pointing out what they perceive as an "absurd position" of saving whales or trees, while at the same time "sacrificing" 40 million "unborn" on the "altar of convenience." He fails to see that he and/or Christians view a zygote or fetus as a human, but others do not. Thus he does not recognize the freedom to choose one's perceptions what is stated in the Christian religion as "free will."

As for whales and trees: Beyond the fact that whales are sentient beings, trees and whales are part of the web of life, a global ecosystem that supports all life, including humans. He's comparing apples and oranges.

Fahrenkrug was inadvertently accurate and insightful in his sarcastic remark that we should "be the captains of our ship, the master of our souls," and in his comment that "God has been listening and has granted our wish." Yes, it's called free will.

Wanda Beliz

Colorado Springs

Qualified success

I am retired from the U.S. Air Force, and I will be voting for Jay Fawcett in Congressional District 5 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Jay is a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy. He asks that you vote for him in this critical election. I don't know of a better, more qualified individual to represent us all Republican, Democrat and any other leaning in Congressional District 5. I urge you to invest time at Jay's Web site (fawcett4congress.com) to learn more about Jay and some the issues he feels are important. Once you have, I believe you will know that Jay Fawcett is the best choice for Congress.

Jay cares deeply for the men and women in uniform not simply during time of war (Jay is a Desert Storm veteran and earned the Bronze Star for his actions), but also when they return to their home communities. From talking with Jay on more than one occasion, I have learned that upon wearing the military uniform, we both directly supported the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.; we both instructed at the Air Force Academy; and after retirements from active duty, we've both worked in the civilian world at strengthening technologies, tactics and procedures for homeland defense.

Now Jay Fawcett wants to do even more than defending, in military uniform, America's homeland. He wants to serve you as your congressman, with a drive to focus our nation's strengths in directions and efforts that will serve Colorado's 5th Congressional District in the best way possible.

Please vote for Jay Fawcett on Nov. 7.

Bruce R. Carter

Black Forest

Strong Constitution

Being accused of treating the Constitution "like a goddamned piece of paper" a la Dumbya Bush is not something to treat frivolously or lightly. That said, I am responding to this vile slur recently leveled at me by Scott Graves ("Quoting Madison," Letters, Sept. 7).

If Graves were to actually study Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention and his writings in the Federalist Papers, he'd actually find his views to be much more in sync with my own than Graves' "limited government except for war" bunkum.

The reason government has a duty to provide for the general welfare is because as Thomas Jefferson noted in the Declaration of Independence people have "inalienable rights." Government is instituted by us to secure these rights, which include providing for the common welfare.

Not all of these rights, furthermore, are specified verbatim in the Constitution. Under Amendment IX, "the people" retain unenumerated rights, not specifically listed in the Constitution per se but allowable as future generations foresee the need to include them. What better right than health care, without which the other rights including that to "pursue happiness" cannot be fulfilled?

Some righties have confused this with "states' rights," but that is totally misbegotten. As Prof. Garry Wills notes in A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government, no such entity as "states' rights' exists anywhere in the Constitution:

"The Ninth Amendment talks of "rights enumerated' and says "the people' retain unenumerated ones. The rights in the Ninth are not the rights of the state, which can strictly speaking have no rights." So, "states' rights" is something of a misnomer, no matter how common its use.

Bottom line: Doing all those things to promote the "general welfare" equates to providing unenumerated rights. Graves and his regressive ilk need to educate themselves much more.

Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs


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