View from India
Please accept my sincere compliments, from a distance, for sustaining an attitude of independence from the warped form of Christendom that pervades Colorado Springs. Your newspaper is under considerable pressure to cave to a tame and domesticated suburban civil religion (this I know from having lived in the region most of my life), and you have not. May you continue to grasp this certain integrity.
Returning to Dharbanga, Bihar to do both spiritual work and flood relief has once again, with lightning-like clarity, demonstrated what a farce and sheer theater, a playing at Christianity, the megachurch is in the Springs. From the New Testament point of view, it is not a church at all, and men like James Dobson and Ted Haggard are no leaders, or servants.
In India, the state of Bihar is known for four things: 1.) illiteracy, particularly among women; 2.) brutality and protection money, paid to mafia bosses, which means no economic growth; 3.) pollution levels that NASA reports as being five times those of Los Angeles; 4.) being the poorest state in a poor country, with nutrition intake for many below that of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dobson's answer? Build a $3 million dollar complex in Colorado Springs and then throw a couple million at the filibuster issue. Haggard's? Yet another ghastly expensive blasphemy to throw in the face of the poor. (Here we have house churches.) Air Force Academy chaplains? Bless and sanction the sword, in its F-16 or Stealth or helicopter gunship form.
-- John Morton
The dark alliance
When I think of the sources of great dissention and the biggest concerns I have as a retired teacher, parent and grandparent, these names emerge: John Andrews (former state Senate president and founder of the Independence Institute), Douglas Bruce (TABOR's author and current county commissioner), Chuck Baker (radio talk show personality) and Eric Christen (D-11 school board director).
Each of these men has actively worked to throttle public education in this state and the local community. And they share a common bond: The Alliance for Separation of School and State. Each man named above is a signatory to the pledge: "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."
I am concerned because I know what access to a free public education did for my children and me, and I want the same opportunities for my grandchildren. We all understand the correlation between education and achievement. Further, we know that impoverished parents cannot afford to enroll or even transport their children to distant schools "of choice." They depend upon good neighborhood schools.
If Andrews, Bruce, Baker and Christen get their wish and taxpayers no longer fund public schools, what will we do? If government involvement in education is ended, there will be no vouchers, either.
For me, Andrews, Bruce, Baker and Christen summon up a vision of a dark, undemocratic future. The current slate of Christen clones -- Carla Albers, Robert Lathen and Reginald Perry -- will follow in their footsteps.
I don't understand why they want to destroy public education, but we can't let them do it. I urge voters not to succumb to their siren song to "reform" public education. They mean to end it.
Vote for John Gudvangen, Tami Hasling and Sandra Mann on Nov. 1. They are truly interested in reforming public education -- keeping it vibrant and improving.
-- Lois A. Fornander
In a Sept. 8 column titled "Katrina's real name," it states that the author, Ross Gelbspan, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His award was obviously not in fact-checking.
Mr. Gelbspan's premise is that human-induced global warming was the real cause of Hurricane Katrina. The problem is that top hurricane experts in the world do not believe hurricane intensity has increased due to global warming.
Three of these scientists were recently interviewed about whether global warming had increased the strength of Katrina specifically, and hurricanes generally. All emphatically stated that global warming was not a factor in Katrina's destructiveness. Further, an objective study of hurricane activity of the past several decades shows no trend toward greater intensity.
While many scientists believe humans may be inducing global warming, you would be hard-pressed to find one worth his salt who would state that human-caused global warming is strengthening hurricanes.
Secondly, Mr. Gelbspan blames Katrina and a litany of recent weather disasters on human-induced global warming. How is it that fortunate weather events are never included in such lists? 2004 saw record yields in several different crops throughout the Midwest, an event unheard of previously. Close-to-perfect weather conditions were cited as the cause.
Apparently, global warming can do bad things but not good. Mr. Gelbspan might be up for another award, but he has some stiff competition. In her Public Eye column that same week, Cara DeGette wrote about Repent America and their belief that Katrina was sent by a wrathful God to destroy a wicked city.
And the Pulitzer for crazy explanations of weather phenomena goes to ...
-- Patrick Nagle
Faith in faith
Environmental organizations have lobbied for more than a decade to restore southeastern Louisiana's wetlands, which used to provide New Orleans with a strong natural hurricane buffer. For a decade, Louisiana's congressional delegation has been fighting for the region's wetlands. This year, Congress finally provided Louisiana with $540 billion for coastal restoration over the next four years -- a short-term drop in the bucket for what's needed.
According to U.S. News and World Report, leveeing of the Mississippi River begun by the Army Corps in the 1930s has destroyed the wetlands and barrier islands that once provided the city with significant storm protection. Levees prevent the Mississippi from depositing the silt necessary to maintain southeast Louisiana's wetlands.
Scientists estimate that since the 1950s, the state has lost an area the size of Rhode Island. Louisiana's Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes says that every mile and a half of wetlands stands to lower a storm surge by a foot or so. Wetlands loss has been a growing problem for the last two decades, and almost nothing has been done about it beyond conducting feasibility studies.
It seems that the federal government has more faith in faith than in science.
-- Anita Brown
Can we do any worse?
The fairy tale that the Bush White House can somehow protect the American people better than anyone else can be packed away with the old baby clothes.
The criminal negligence of continuous cuts in federal funding for New Orleans' infrastructure and protective barrier islands and the outrageous staffing of agencies that should serve the public good (FEMA) with unqualified political friends of the president is way more impeachable, in my mind, than Bill Clinton lying about Monica Lewinsky.
The conceit is that Mr. Bush has some kind of special moral compass so sensitive it is set in motion by even microscopic humanity.
Maybe your odds for a speedy response from the Bush White House would have been greater if you had been holding a Petri dish full of stem cells hostage, or could prove you were packing a fertilized egg somewhere.
What a shock then, to find out the truth that the pious Mr. Bush couldn't even tap into Sunday School 101 and find a human response to real, live, trapped people hollering from rooftops for water, food, rescue, anything, until his handlers stage-managed some emotions for him.
We have seen everyone from veterans to the media to the Dixie Chicks to Cindy Sheehan skewered by this crowd of fakes for lack of proper levels of patriotism, while it insists that we support Mr. Bush's policies that are dismantling our government as a vehicle for the common good.
In this administration, asking a question about policy is somehow proof that you don't support the American military. Can we do any worse than these people? Have our local or state leaders traded off the public good for the advancement of their political careers as well?
-- Kay Johnson
The debate over teaching intelligent design as a science topic reflects the outdated science taught throughout the country.
Unfortunately, a low level of scientific knowledge guides our president and other politicians in making poor decisions regarding science, as is readily seen in medical marijuana policy.
As I understand intelligent design, it is intrinsically absurd for two reasons that I have yet to hear in the debate.
Supporters of intelligent design claim that because of the high level of complexity in living systems, life must have been created by god. It is ridiculous to postulate the existence of something more complex than what you are trying to explain, if what you are trying to explain cannot be explained because it is too complex.
The follow-up absurdity is the use of the information theory to statistically prove the impossibility of life, and therefore to justify god as the intelligent designer. Information theory, as is also true for classical thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and quantum theory, has at its basis a time-reversible world, as opposed to one with a direction to time as we see all around us. (When is the last time you saw someone grow younger?)
All these sciences have been conceptually and mathematically extended through the work of Nobel laureate Illya Prigogine. The result of Dr. Prigogine's lifelong effort is a scientific framework that embraces the arrow of time, and is consistent with the world of life that we live in. It describes a natural creative process that characterizes far-from-equilibrium systems.
For those who believe in god the designer, if intelligent design was really intelligent, it would embrace evolution and modern physics as designed by god to create man. Faith-based theories belong in religious classes, not science classes.
-- Dr. Robert Melamede,
Associate Professor and Chairman,
University of Colorado
One nation, indivisible
Last week every major news network I saw, including CNN, chose to purposely mislead us all by stating that the Ninth District Court had found the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional. In my opinion, this was a shameful display of calculated duplicity.
The truth is, as they well knew, the court's finding was that only the two words "under God" were found to be so.
I would like to think it was the inherent ignorance of the newscasters, but it was, I believe, the proclivity of producers to spike ratings.
It appeared to me that their foremost intent was to incite and outrage the American public.
We lovers of freedom, who agree with the court's decision, are often accused by the radical right of being rabidly unpatriotic. But, in fact, we are the more patriotic for our unwavering vigilance to keep separate church and state.
Our one overarching bond is to preserve the freedom of choice.
To choose our deities, choose to conceive or abort, and for good measure, choose to curtail a pinch-faced, prurient, faith-based, insidious government official from looking over our shoulders to see who is screwing whom.
-- Warren Morgan
Just answer the questions
I cannot believe that we as a nation do not deserve straight answers as to where a potential Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of these United States stands on all the crucial fundamental topics.
What kind of veiled democracy is this? Just answer the questions. Your so-called honor is at stake, as is all of ours if we succumb to the agendas of the good ol' boy few who evade scrutiny in daylight and do things like appoint people to the United Nations when Congress is on recess.
What are they hiding?
-- Miriam Schuster