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Job well done

I had a lot of fun reading your latest issue, especially:

Page 4, upon which Mark Lewis expressed his outrage at how the police secretly infiltrated groups of protesters to gather information about them, and page 17, upon which John Dicker described how he secretly infiltrated a group of ex-gays to gather information about them.

But most of all, I enjoyed page 6, upon which a reader suggested you all have your heads up your rear ends, although I respectfully disagree:

I think people in such a position would have far more insight and self-awareness than you do.

-- Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Up for an Oscar

A friend of mine sent me the URL for the Jan. 29 article "Ex-gay like me: Undercover in the gay recovery scene," written by John Dicker. I had to laugh.

Where is the scandal? Where is the seedy story of "deep-throating" among the "deluded members of the ex-gay community"? Where is the "hard-hitting journalistic standard" of ferreting out "the truth" at all costs?

Basically, what's the point?

Is Mr. Dicker to be commended on his faking homosexual tendencies, and pretending to be gay? Super. What a thespian! Nice work there, Dicker. Were you disappointed not to get the story you were hoping for? Were you disappointed not to get the "fire and brimstone" or "exorcist" approach to counseling that one might expect to hear about at such support organizations?

Despite the misguided premises that Dicker may have initially held when "infiltrating" this wily group of basement-dwelling men and worming his way to their sanctum sanctorum, the man is to be commended for not "sexing" up his report more than necessary.

Nevertheless, the biases certainly show through. This editorial piece assumes that men who choose to pursue a lifestyle of abstinence and self-imposed constraints, despite their own sexual tendencies, is somehow wrong, misguided and inappropriate.

My questions to him would be: Why not let people find their own way in this world? Why not let people do what they think is best for themselves to find peace? Furthermore, who are you to suggest that what they are doing is wrong, that what they perceive as a personal struggle is not real?

If you want to do some real "investigative reporting," please try to infiltrate a biker gang, a drug cartel, a sex-slave ring, illegal immigration rackets, or something similar. This "deep cover" into the lives of ordinary citizens is insulting to this ex-gay ministry, your readership and journalism in general. What you have here is no journalistic revelation at all, but at best a perverse act of voyeurism and at worst a violation of personal privacy.

-- Mark Groenewold

Assistant Professor

Kanazawa Institute of Technology

Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

Teaching by example

I had recently served on the Where Grace Abounds board, and was appreciative of being sent a copy of the article "Ex-gay like me" regarding John Dicker's contact with the organization. I am most grateful for the fair and insightful reporting in the article. I hope it is reflective of your attitude and general approach to publishing.

I can affirm that Where Grace Abounds has a remarkable track record of assisting persons who are dealing with issues of conflictive sexuality, regardless whether straight or gay. The board and staff all are committed to a worldview of being followers of Jesus. As such, there is serious acceptance of universal "falling short" by all, and yet desiring to pursue holy and healthy living based on Christ's teaching and example.

In my years of affiliation with Where Grace Abounds, I never heard or saw any words or actions that could be considered judgmental or demeaning. There was, however, much sadness at the damage to health and relationships resulting from unresolved issues of sexuality.

It's my personal opinion that the current epidemic of abuse, broken families and disease has much of its roots in the realm of unhealthy sexual thought and behavior. As a follower of Christ, I care not whether the person is gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, male or female, believer or not.

My time with Where Grace Abounds showed me there is an oasis for the person who is willing to admit his imperfection, accept the risk of shared vulnerability, and then bask in the glorious awareness of forgiveness offered by the Christ who paid the price for us all.

Again, thanks for publishing a fair article. I hope you and your paper can be counted as part of the crucial effort of reconciliation both between persons and with a loving Savior.

-- Richard E. Carlson, MD

Meridian, Idaho

The worst sort of lie

What a crock. Either you're born gay or you're not. There is no changing it. Anyone who says there is lies through their teeth. And those who choose to believe it lie to themselves, which is the worst sort of lie in existence.

If there were a way to change your base sexuality, I can think of over a million people who would, just to avoid being ostracized by those who are blindfolded by the Bible. But on the other hand, I can think of a million more who take pride in who they are, and 2 million more who don't give a damn what sexuality you are, because it's the soul that truly matters.

And for God's sake, we're here, we're queer, we're not going away and absolutely nothing can change the way we are.

Get over it!

-- Name withheld upon request

Colorado Springs

Bring us up to par

Repeated media exposs have shown what a serious problem poorly maintained rental properties are for our community. I think most of the public will agree that it's about time we had more balanced laws that give tenants some leverage against landlords who refuse to make repairs.

Rep. Michael Merrifield has introduced a bill that proposes a system whereby tenants notify the landlord of a major repair, allow a reasonable amount of time to fix it, and if not fixed, can move out and get their security deposits refunded expeditiously.

Sen. Ed Jones' comments -- that good landlords will be hurt by the legislation -- are not correct because safeguards to protect them are in place. In the first place, the bill only applies to "major defects," which are defined narrowly and are not just any small repair needed. Secondly, damage caused by the tenant is excluded. Thirdly, tenants must follow a procedure to give written notice to the landlord and cannot just move out because they claim there is a defect. Lastly, landlords can still take legal action (like they do now) against tenants who break leases or cause damage. Since the losing party can be responsible for legal fees, this is a deterrent to abuse of the law.

Colorado is one of only two states that have no protections for tenants from uninhabitable rental properties, according to a recent study by DU law students. The other one is Arkansas! I sincerely hope that our state legislators will bring our state up to par with the rest of the nation by giving this bill a fair shot.

Landlords, tenants and neighborhood leaders also need to speak out and are encouraged to contact the Housing Advocacy Coalition, which is mobilizing public support of this legislation, at 634-0738.

Please, Indy, keep following this story, so that the public is well aware of whatever is done before next fall's elections.

-- Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

Justice is denied

Several papers on the Front Range have been lamenting the state Supreme Court's ruling upholding term limits on district attorneys. Get over it. The office of DA has become so political in nature that justice is denied and fellow party member political criminals are not prosecuted.

Witness Chuck Broerman (Colorado Springs GOP chairman who orchestrated an illegal parking scheme), Doug "Screwdriver" Dean (who got off scot-free after he chased his girlfriend down the street wielding a screwdriver), and Bill Owens (marijuana possession at the governor's mansion) as examples.

If the political partisanship of the DA offices (and the sheriffs) were removed, then maybe they could claim that they are not nonjudicial. But until that happens and until they quit giving all politicians a pass, then term limits are just fine, thank you.

Good-old-boy networks are bad enough in politics, but they're even worse in criminal justice.

-- Michael Seebeck

Riverside, Calif.

(formerly of Fountain)

War crimes

Now that our administration admits we started a pre-emptive war on bad intelligence, and that there are no weapons of mass destruction, doesn't our shock-n-awe blitzkrieg now make us all war criminals? Shouldn't we be turning ourselves in for prosecution somewhere?

-- Greg Horwath

Woodland Park

Send them to Baghdad

I have an idea to solve the impending election conundrum in Iraq and, at the same time, rid this country of the hypocritical Bush junta.

Let's starts a grass-roots campaign to elect Bush and Cheney as president and vice president of Iraq! Since they were so hellbent on creating such a messed-up situation, let them move over there and run it. I'm even willing to extend them a 10-year term, with the option to run again in 2014.

Let's send those lying warmongers to Baghdad, then true patriots here in the United States can get back to some resemblance of honest government that will make fiscally responsible decisions for this country and restore our credibility abroad.

Bush for president of Iraq. He has my vote, but that's the only election he deserves to win.

-- Tony Porter

Colorado Springs

The buck stops here

That is the sign that Harry Truman had on his desk when he was president of the United States of America.

What kind of sign should George W. Bush put on his desk?

-- Robert W. Carlson

Elgin, Ill.

Having all the fun

Does it seem as if Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Missouri and other early primary and caucus states are having all the fun these days? Well, you can be part of the process!

In Colorado, precinct caucuses for both Republicans and Democrats are held on Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. However, in order to participate in your precinct caucus you must not only be a registered voter, but you must also be affiliated with a political party no later than Feb. 13.

Approximately one-third of registered Colorado voters are not affiliated with a political party. Colorado voters like their independence, and often say they remain unaffiliated because they want to vote for the candidate of their choice regardless of which political party the candidate represents. In truth, voters are as independent as they want to be at the polls -- your party affiliation does not dictate how you must vote.

But unaffiliated voters cannot participate in party caucuses -- their views and voices cannot be heard in the process that selects candidates and determines party platforms.

A precinct caucus is nothing more than an informal neighborhood meeting in which people discuss issues and candidates, and choose delegates to attend the county assembly for their political party.

The designation of candidates for county offices such as sheriff and county treasurer takes place at county assemblies. State legislative candidates are designated at district assemblies, and so on.

By attending your precinct caucus you have the opportunity to help select candidates who will appear on the primary and general election ballots for local, state and national office. If you are not registered to vote, or not currently affiliated with a political party, consider doing so no later than Feb. 13. And please take time to attend your precinct caucus on April 13 -- we need your input!

-- Emily Tracy

Candidate for House District 60

Cañon City

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