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Haggard's hell

Rich Tosches' column (Pastor Ted back on stage," Jan. 29) was right on target. New Life's brand of "Christianity" isn't about love, peace and harmony. It's about teaching what's wrong in this world, who's going to Hell, and no matter what, they're right.

I agree what Ted Haggard did was wrong. He lied. He cheated on his wife. And he lied. All the while he was preaching the love and tolerance of Jesus' teachings, he himself was shitting on those same principles. I don't doubt he's struggling, yet for the life of me I cannot see him as a victim.

Why? I was shit upon by members of the same congregation. Members of my own family. I wear black. I smoke cigarettes. I haven't gone to church since I was a teenager. And the crux of it all: I am now pagan (gasp!). While there are still lingering emotions of bitterness and betrayal, I have come to realize that the path I follow now, and the one that Christ trod, are very similar. Unity. Love. Understanding. Not hate, bigotry, close-mindedness.

If you truly want to know what Christ taught, look somewhere other than New Life. His life lessons are not there.

Meagan McMichael



I was dismayed that, at such an important time in our nation's history, the Independent on Jan. 29 would run clearly divisive and vitriolic articles regarding the "conservative religious community and the local military community," to borrow the words of John Weiss. The conservative religious community (and in fact, Mr. Weiss, I believe you mean the Christian conservative community; to my knowledge, there aren't substantial conservative Islamic, Jewish or Hindu communities that you wish to make clear you are distinct from) was described by Rich Tosches as "wacky right-wing Christiandom," "Bible-thumpers" and "goofy bastards."

Ted Haggard is worthy of whatever criticism you can muster, but to indict the Christian conservative community as a whole is simply idiotic.

While such vitriol was thankfully not directed at the military, I found the repeated statements of distinction very off-putting, from the title article, "A tale of two cities," to such bon mots as "while we still have policy disagreements with our newfound religious and military friends." That latter statement assumes the religious and military are separate communities from the staff of the Independent and its intended audience, that these separate communities are homogeneous in thought, and that these "newfound" communities are intruders upon Colorado Springs, or to use Tosches' wording, invaders.

We are all one community. No group can be easily characterized or dismissed. I hope you realize that in the future and that your writing reflects that.

Editorials may reflect other opinions, but if Tosches is intent on writing another as banal as the one quoted above, I urge you to include a disclaimer, something along the lines of, "After reading, you may feel stupider."

Christopher Leonard

Colorado Springs

'The new AIDS'

Your article "The tick and the time bomb" by J. Adrian Stanley (cover story, Jan. 15) is a timely, highly informative piece of journalism. I want to thank her and your paper for printing this revealing material that needs to be seriously considered.

My wife has chronic Lyme disease and has suffered terribly for the past decade. You included Dr. David Martz, my wife's attending physician for her disease when he was in practice. This is a painful and debilitating sickness that the medical community and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refuse to acknowledge.

Antibiotics can put Lyme into remission, but many times it comes back with full force and a renewed vengeance. Numerous co-infections invade the body as well. My wife was on a Groshong catheter a tube from her chest directly into her heart and I pumped a strong antibiotic, Rocephan, daily into her bloodstream for a year. She saw minimal results and now continues to deteriorate physically.

The rip of it all is that she was misdiagnosed for years: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto's thyroidism, asymptomatic peripheral neuropathy, or the most outrageous, "It's all in your head." As your article said, even when her blood test came back positive for Lyme, many doctors refused to treat her for this specific disease. They thought a short-term antibiotic treatment would cure it. It didn't!

As a result, Lyme has buried its way into the cells of her body, her muscles, her internal organs and brain. She is in continual body pain along with the brain fog and shaking limbs. Lyme is the new AIDS. But for some reason, the medical community (and insurance companies) refuse to meet this growing challenge.

Thanks for highlighting the underdogs wrestling to achieve a quality of life that is bearable, let alone "normal."

Tom Pedigo

Colorado Springs

Begging for buses

I have been a bus rider in Colorado Springs for more than seven years, as I do not drive. I have been very fortunate that previous changes have not affected me very much. But the proposed budget cuts will change my life dramatically.

I currently take No. 24 to the Citadel and transfer to the 8 or 25. Both get me to work. I had heard No. 24 was on the chopping block, so my husband would take me to Murray Boulevard and Galley Road to take No. 23.

The proposed changes are now posted. Imagine my shock and dismay that the city is not only thinking of eliminating No. 24 but also 23! Getting to work will not be the problem, as long as No. 8 or 25 don't change too dramatically. Getting home will be much more of a hardship. I will have to walk from the Citadel to my home, east of Wooten Road on Galley. It will take me 90 minutes to two hours to walk that distance.

I am begging the city not to cut both 24 and 23. Transit will put a hardship on not only me but countless hard-working people who depend on the bus to get to work, school, the grocery store and medical appointments.

Cyndi Conley

Colorado Springs

FREX freeze-out

I just heard the city is considering cutting the FrontRange Express service and reducing local bus routes. Given the economy, having the option of an affordable method for commuting is more important than ever. For some folks, the only jobs they can find are in Denver. If you cancel FREX and reduce too many local routes, even more people will lose their jobs, since they would no longer have a way to get there.

FREX also means people don't have to spend as much getting back and forth to work. This means more money for them and their families to spend at grocery stores, clothing stores, etc., purchasing life's basic necessities.

They also might spend a little on things like theaters, restaurants and other types of recreation for their families. This is money being spent here.

The bottom line is, local government's responsibility is to serve people, doing as much as possible to make Colorado Springs a better place to live, and helping improve quality of life.

Sure, things are a little tough now. But reducing public transportation will not improve the situation. Rather, it will make things worse. To me, this does not make Colorado Springs a better place to live.

For FREX, they could drop a couple of less-used routes for now. Or perhaps raise fares, but not too much. In other departments, some sort of volunteer drive could help defray costs. Wasn't this done to plant flowers and trees in past years? I know a lot of people willing to help. We just need the opportunity.

Jeff DeWitt

Colorado Springs

Fixing the system

I've got a great idea for reducing court and jailhouse overloads. This will free the police, DA and judges to spend more time on the true injustices.

All we need to do is treat average citizens the same as any privileged individual breaking the law [i.e., Timothy Geithner (tax evasion), Tom Daschle (tax evasion), Michael Phelps (drug use) and Mary Lou Makepeace (DWAI)], meaning no ticket, no trial, no fine and no record.

This would free up the court and jail systems, immensely.

Oh, my bad. That would make the privileged just average.

That could never work!

Robert Kalkowski

Colorado Springs

A pet peeve

The Colorado House agriculture committee's rejection of a bill to limit Colorado dog-breeders to 50 adult dogs and require annual veterinary certifications for each dog should disappoint everyone who cares about animals.

This bill could have helped prevent dogs from suffering in puppy mills: mass-breeding facilities where animals live in cramped, crude, filthy conditions; suffer from malnutrition, exposure, lack of socialization and lack of veterinary care; and where female dogs are destroyed when their worn-out bodies can no longer produce puppies.

It also would have helped prevent large-scale breeders from contributing to the animal overpopulation crisis.

Puppies from breeders and puppy mills steal homes from animals in shelters, whose lives depend on being adopted.

Lindsay Pollard-Post

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

TOPS priority

I was very dismayed at the vote of six City Council members on Jan. 27. At stake was a proposal to put an item concerning the use of Trails, Open Space and Parks dollars on the April ballot, asking voters for permission to allow 15 percent, up from the current 6 percent, to be used for general park maintenance.

When the TOPS tax was approved by voters in 1997 and extended by a two-thirds majority in 2003, built-in conditions assured that the money would be used according to voters' intent.

After 3 percent for administration and 6 percent for maintenance came off the top, the rest was divided with a minimum of 60 percent for open space and a maximum of 20 percent each for parks and trails.

The decision to try diverting an extra 9 percent to maintenance is clearly a betrayal of the voters. It also is a blatant disregard of the advice of many people instrumental in creating and working for the TOPS initiative. One after another, they spoke before Council saying this money served a special purpose, mainly acquisition of open space especially at this time, with several potential opportunities to buy properties at low prices.

The grass in parks will be browner, there might be more trash and other undesirable side effects of the current budget crunch, but these can be reversed. The missed opportunities, however, will not come back. This was a short-sighted decision, and it showed disrespect for the people who, by their efforts, made this money available in the first place.

Getty Nuhn

Colorado Springs

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