Printed letters, February 19, 2014

The recent letter to the editor from J.N. Burkhalter regarding the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty, decrying “propaganda,” would be comical if its writer were not so wildly off-target.

The vote the letter decried as he attacked Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet does not surrender Americans’ Second Amendment rights to the United Nations. Nor does this treaty in any way create an “international gun registry.” The treaty would have no effect on Coloradans’ rights or U.S. policy. It would only prohibit other countries from exporting guns to international human rights abusers and criminals.

Udall and Bennet have worked in Congress to protect Coloradans’ Second Amendment rights. In fact, they stood up to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his allies when they opposed an overly broad ban on “assault weapons.”  That’s true independence.

Coloradans deserve better than conspiracy theories.



Attack on homosexuality 
doesn’t reflect God or Bible

In response to Gary Reeder’s letter to the editor stating that “God hates and condemns homosexuality,” I must protest. As a Christian, Bible-loving minister for decades, I can report that God’s essence is love and God regards all people, and all creation, with love.

Furthermore, God expects people to “love God and love one another” (the Great Commandment); to bring “good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4); and to “judge not, lest ye be judged.” (See the Beatitudes and following passages in Matthew.)

Essentially, God’s message in the Bible is one of vast and free-flowing love, which is to be adopted as the prevailing value by those who obey God. God weeps when people hate, condemn, oppress, dehumanize, vilify or otherwise hurt one another. God’s heart is glad when people show generosity and fairness and walk humbly with anyone in pain (the Good Samaritan).

Using selected Biblical quotes to vilify a certain set of people as inferior is an old, nasty trick that has been used to justify slavery, promote second-class citizenship for women and advise all sorts of nonsense that grieves God, who desires that humankind live as brothers and sisters, caring deeply for the well-being and dignity of each other, without exception. God expects us to bond together to care for the homeless, the helpless, the hungry, the widow, the orphan, the stranger and the “lost and the least.”

Reeder’s attack on homosexuality does not represent the Bible, God or the teachings of the church.

I trust that other ministers and rabbis, people who love the Bible and teach people about God’s way with humankind, will provide this community with words that bring God’s light, God’s truth, God’s way and God’s love to fullness. God does not hate or despise anyone. Neither ought we.


Interim Senior Minister

First Congregational UCC

Grand Junction


Patrol’s confiscation of cash 
seems like highway robbery

Regarding the Feb. 11 article about the seizure of cash by the Colorado State Patrol from travelers on Interstate 70, we should view this as a terribly frightening event.

The travelers were stripped of a large amount of money simply on suspicion of drug trafficking. No drugs were found in the vehicle, and the people were sent on their way with a warning.

The money will go to law enforcement to buy more equipment and hire more officers for more patrols and more car stops. This sort of action is a slippery slope and could become addictive.

If these travelers were guilty of drug running, why weren’t they arrested? Without evidence, why was their money confiscated? If the money were legally theirs, is there a mechanism for them to get it back? Is it OK to take people’s money just because they have a lot of it?

Who’s next? You or me because we look suspicious? Would we be jailed if we refused to hand over our money? Where is due process — the rule of law?

This car stop appears a bit like highway robbery to me.


Grand Junction


Penry failed to see the irony 
in column on Sochi Olympics

Josh Penry had a few interesting observations in his Friday column regarding what the Olympics games have revealed about Russia’s economy. He refers to the “suffering Russian middle class, little opportunity for economic mobility and massive disparity between the rich and the poor” and goes on to extol the virtues of a free market.

I thought for a moment he was writing tongue-in-cheek, as the same might be said of our own middle class and the ever-widening gap between the super-rich and the poverty-stricken classes right here in the United States, including a recent column by David Brooks regarding our own loss of mobility. But then I realized that Penry was entirely serious. I had to wonder that he didn’t recognize the irony of his own words.


Grand Junction


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