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Sects and politics 

With entities like Focus on the Family and New Life Church promoting conservative Christianity as a template for public policy in years past, Colorado Springs acquired a national reputation for conservative politics and religious-right clout. Is that reputation still accurate?

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David Gardiner
Old Colorado City

College professor

Have you ever visited New Life Church? Yes, I have. I found the people surprisingly warm, friendly and seemingly open-minded.

To what extent should churches be involved in politics? Conservatives, liberals, the religious and the irreligious have equal right to be as involved as they wish. The state can't be involved in the church, but churches can be involved in public policy.

What does "evangelical" evoke in your mind? Wishing to spread the gospel of Jesus.

How do your out-of-town friends view Colorado Springs? The ones who know anything about it think it's very limited, and they wonder how I, as a liberal and a Buddhist, can abide living here.

What spiritual leader do you most admire? The Dalai Lama. He manifests wisdom and compassion, he's a brilliant philosopher with a very keen mind, and he has a sense of humor an unbeatable combination.


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Linda Head
Littleton

Postal Service analyst

What's your view of New Life Church? It's very large. They probably suffered a lot with everything that happened last year. They probably do some good things.

How involved should churches be in secular politics? Frankly, not very much. Their focus should be on their members' spiritual well-being, and on worshipping God or whatever it is they do there.

What does "evangelical" suggest to you? Fanaticism, narrowness, closed communities. Focusing on the end of the world.

How do your out-of-town friends picture the Springs? As a place to steer clear of because it's way too conservative and under the sway of narrow-minded religious groups.

What contemporary religious figure do you admire most? Probably the Dalai Lama.


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David Palumbo
North End

Meteorologist

How do you envision New Life Church? As relatively dogmatic. Something I'd rather not involve myself in.

To what extent should churches be politically engaged? If they're encouraging the responsibilities of citizenship, that's a good thing, but they shouldn't push partisan political activities.

What does "evangelical" make you think of? Proselytizing. Recruitment. Myopic perceptions.

What do your out-of-town friends say about Colorado Springs? They see it as a bastion of right-wing religious fundamentalism in promotion of theocratic government.

What religious figure do you most admire? Martin Luther King Jr. He was inclusive and non-judgmental.

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