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Make the call

In response to a letter to the editor published in the Jan. 12 Independent regarding a Focus on the Family "boycott" of Wells Fargo and Starbucks ("Reject bigotry"), I'd like to set the record straight. Quite simply, Focus is not boycotting Wells Fargo or Starbucks, nor are we asking our constituents to do so.

Did Focus on the Family end its banking relationship with Wells Fargo? Yes, but for reasons that are easily understood: namely, that Wells Fargo was using the proceeds from our organization to support groups in direct opposition to us. As for Starbucks, we've merely expressed disagreement with their support of certain causes. Don't we have the freedom to do so?

We support the right of every group to voice their opinion in the public square. We welcome the debate. But why is it that Christians are expected to keep quiet about what they believe, or be labeled "bigots"? Is that the sort of "fairness" the authors of the letter criticizing Focus have in mind?

In any case, none of the aforementioned concerns prompted any boycotts on our part, and I'm disappointed that such information was published without simply making a call to us for the real story. We expect opposition and are used to it, but when it's based on misinformation and hearsay, that strikes us as unfair.

-- Jim Daly


Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs

Sorting it out

Let me try and sort out your Jan. 19 article, "Dobson roused faithful for Abramoff's aims."

Dr. James Dobson fights casinos because gambling addictions harm families. Jack Abramoff fights casinos because other casinos pay him millions to do so. Lo and behold, they end up fighting the same casino. So that makes Dr. Dobson guilty of -- exactly what?

A lot of vague innuendo, that's what. The fact is, Focus was drawn into the battle against the Louisiana Indian casino expansion the same way we get into the many local gambling issues we take on each year. Local contacts asked for our help. Not Jack Abramoff. Not Ralph Reed. And, as always, we spent our own funds on the project.

Abramoff appears to have taken credit for getting us into this fight. To justify the incredibly large fees he has received, I imagine he's taken credit for a lot of things he didn't do.

-- Tom Minnery

Senior vice president,

Government and public policy

Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Independent reporter Michael de Yoanna twice attempted to reach Focus on the Family for comment on Dobson's role in mobilizing Christians to oppose a new casino proposed by Choctaw Indians in Louisiana, which advanced the aims of Jack Abramoff. De Yoanna's messages received no response.

Out of touch

After reading John Hazlehurst's "Grumpy old man" Outsider in your Jan. 5 issue, I felt the need to respond. Mr. Hazlehurst seems to be as out of touch with the working class as he thinks liberals are. Either that, or his desire to save a little at Wal-Mart has clouded his mind.

Contrary to what he implies, you can go to any grocery store in Colorado Springs on Saturday afternoon and find working-class people shopping there. But even if working-class people only shopped at Wal-Mart, it wouldn't prove what Mr. Hazlehurst seems to think.

He says, and I quote, "If being exploited means paying less, they [members of the working class] seem to be OK with it." That is an incredibly backwards -- and, given his admitted fondness for shopping at Wal-Mart -- self-serving piece of logic. Isn't it a tad more plausible that it's the other way around, that the working class, because they're exploited, do their best to spend as little as possible, even if that means shopping at Wal-Mart?

If Mr. Hazlehurst really thinks that the working class likes shopping at Wal-Mart so much that they're content to remain exploited, he'd better be prepared to explain why Wal-Mart workers keep suing Wal-Mart in order to get paid for all the hours they work, why they make attempts to unionize Wal-Marts, and why some working-class people (myself, for one) choose not to shop at Wal-Mart.

Now, I realize that part of Mr. Hazlehurst's point is that he's reached his "Medicare birthday," whatever that is, and can now have any opinion he wants, regardless of reality. But I don't believe anyone is too young or too old to be informed.

I would recommend that, before he pitches the value of Wal-Mart to anyone else, he reads Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. It might give him more of an understanding of both the working class and what's wrong with Wal-Mart.

-- Chris McKenzie

Colorado Springs

Required reading

In response to the Grumpy old man, aka John Hazlehurst, SHUT UP!!!!!

Mr. Hazlehurst, you might want to read The United States of Wal-Mart by John Dicker before you do any more shopping at Wal-Mart.

-- Holly Winters

Las Cruces, N.M.

A bit knee-jerk

I used to think I was an average, agnostically Christian, rational, liberal American who enjoyed the social experiment of a diverse culture and hoped for progress for all within it.

In the last two decades, I've been educated by the increasing messages in our culture to understand that I'm actually a hateful, immoral, anti-Christian moron. (Warning: There was irony in the last sentence.)

For example, I know now that words I used to value aren't mine anymore. Oops, I just said one, "value." Yes, I know C.S. Lewis was a Christian. I read The Screwtape Letters years ago, and they still resonate. Of course, that was back when I thought I was a Christian.

But note what Lewis didn't do. He didn't put a label on The Chronicles of Narnia that read, "If you believe exactly like me, then this is safe for you to read." He didn't even use Christian language -- he used metaphor! And in The Screwtape Letters, he used satire! What's next? Irony? Nuance?

Us Colorado Springs lefties have gotten a bit knee-jerk in our reactions. But you've got to forgive us. We're scared we're going to lose the war on Christmas. It makes us grumpy.

-- Nethery Wylie

Colorado Springs

Trust the body

Last week's cover story, "Rx for Confusion," discredits traditional naturopaths by implying we are in a class of worthless and sometimes dangerous and fraudulent practitioners.

There are two groups of professionals. One practices a hybrid of allopathic medicine and traditional naturopathy. They are trained to use some naturopathic modalities, but also pharmaceutical drugs and minor surgery, and refer to themselves as naturopathic physicians.

The other group, to which I belong, believes that nature is the only true healer. Our professional role is to teach others to be healthy through a more harmonious and holistic connection to life. We trust the body's innate healing intelligence, and simply seek to create conditions that facilitate its expression.

For example, in my practice, I may educate people about food choices, teach meditation or yogic breathing methods, or talk about the importance of exercise or other similar lifestyle improvements. Traditional naturopaths do not claim to diagnose or treat or cure any disease, do not prescribe anything, do not use invasive methods, and refer clients to medical doctors when there are symptomatic complaints. We do not draw blood or inject anything into the bloodstream, ever.

Anyone can point to grave malpractice in every area of health service, regulated or not. But because of one irresponsible extremist who grossly misrepresented himself, your article suggests that only the hybrid naturopaths should be recognized. If regulation of naturopathy means doing away with a whole philosophical approach to healing, then it is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

It is best to remember that the history of what constitutes mainstream medicine is largely political and money-driven. A century ago, allopathic doctors bled people to death and fed them mercury while discrediting folk healers, homeopaths and other less violent practitioners. Practices that were once fringe, such as massage, acupuncture and chiropractic, are now accepted by the majority as being legitimate. I believe an unpretentious attitude is best when dealing with the mysteries of life and health. I doubt the last word has been spoken by anyone.

-- Sara Carson, ND, LMT, esthetician

Colorado Springs

Risks aplenty

In response to letter writer Robert Hardcastle, who advocates allowing cyclists to ride on sidewalks ("No respect," Jan. 12): Per CDOT's Colorado Cycling Manual, "You are allowed to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk unless it is prohibited by official traffic control devices or local ordinances."

I am unable to find a reference on the Colorado Springs city Web site to riding on the sidewalk, but as far as I know, the only place where it is explicitly prohibited is an area a few blocks square in the center of downtown.

However, as a frequent pedestrian, I am against cyclists riding on the sidewalk. (Cyclist-pedestrian collisions can be serious for both.) And as a frequent cyclist, I don't ride on the sidewalk, in large part because of the risk of such collisions. Riding on the sidewalk also risks reinforcing many drivers' mistaken notion that cyclists must ride on the sidewalk.

On a more general note, I have lived in downtown Colorado Springs for a number of years, and see that both pedestrians and cyclists continue to defer to drivers who illegally fail to yield right of way to them.

This "culture" is unfortunately supported by the traffic signal timings, which allow mere seconds in each cycle for a pedestrian to start across the street, and by law enforcement, who issue jaywalking tickets to Palmer High School students, purportedly for their own safety. At the same time, enforcement ignores drivers who illegally block crosswalks and drive through crosswalks and intersections as those students legally cross the street.

-- Tom Fagan

Colorado Springs

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