Printed letters, Nov. 16, 2010

Don’t read this. It’s about politics and religion, two topics on the conversation black list. But maybe that’s exactly why we have to talk about them. In fact, if we can talk with civility about politics and religion, we can talk amiably about anything.

About politics: The political season has wrapped up. To see it end was as much a relief as hearing the final whistle of a Raiders-Broncos game.

Why was it that even the major news networks had to check out a type website to check out ads? We became experts on how the other guy blew it, was inexperienced and against everything worth living for. There was enough spin going on to make the Earth do a U-turn.

The dumbing down of politics is only matched by the dumbing down of religion. By religion I mean meaningful and life-changing faith in a relational God. Here, we’ve done the opposite. We are so accepting that we have forgotten to take a stand on anything. We have downplayed the idea of absolutes and affirmed mindless practices. In accepting everything we have come to believe nothing.

We risk becoming a society of non-thinkers! Discussions on politics and religion demand knowing both what and why we believe. We have mastered the opposite. We know what and why we don’t believe. We have left port without a sail or compass and there is a hole in the hull. We are sinking, and all we can do is blame others while taking on more passengers.

What’s the answer? To seek integrity, honesty, courage and truth, lived out in both our private and public lives. There is nothing like a good discussion around important ideas. Practicing these virtues can guarantee that conversations about religion and politics will be the reward we know them to be.


Senior Pastor

First Baptist Church

Grand Junction

Monument is designed for preservation, not profit

As one reads The Daily Sentinel article of Nov. 6: “Bicyclists seek monument for pro race venue in 2012,” the motive for hosting the event is obvious. It’s profit.

Well-intentioned as they are, most calls for economic development have one thing in common: “If the truth were known, enough is not enough.”

In the words of one of the event’s carpet-bagging boosters: “It would be big.” He mentions: “The return on investment for a race of this caliber is $6 for each $1 invested.” He failed to mention the monument’s cut for damages sustained and costs incurred.

In a polite attempt to represent her position, Joan Anzelmo, superintendent of Colorado National Monument, was quoted as stating: “The (monument) staff is first charged with protecting the monument and must consider adverse affects to the area that a race might cause … Typically a pro race like that is really hard to pull off in a national park.”

She might have said national parks are not set aside to enrich or extol. They are established to remain what they are, thereby to educate, calm and restore the fragile beings we all are.

Such an event does none of these things. In fact, the area’s anticipated use is mainly as “a name brand marquee,” which is also a poor reason for morphing the monument to national park status.

Whether park or monument, it’s the “national” part that informs of its lineage. We in western Colorado have as much or as little to say about “our monument” and its uses, as does any other citizen or entity in the country.

To ensure that the monument remain an uncompromised treasure, we must guard against the urge to pander its sale to the highest bidder for uses that belittle its importance, now and in the future. Irreplaceable landscapes — even gradually sacrificed — are lost, and no conceivable return on investment is an acceptable substitute.


Grand Junction

Keep all religious law out of our legal system

In a letter on Nov. 11, M.E. Ouellette characterized Sharia law as a threat to this country.

Like that individual, I would agree that Sharia law has no place in our legal and/or political systems.  However, we must ask the writer: Is the opposition only to Sharia law or to all religious laws, including those originating from the bibles of Judaism and Christianity?

If all, the author of the letter should pay particular attention to the activities of some so-called “Christian” sects (even local ones), over the last four decades, activities which are continuing to this day. They present no less of a threat to individual “freedom of conscience” than does Sharia law.

Some of us not only reject Sharia law becoming part of the American legal and political systems, but Jewish and Christian biblical law as well. Doing otherwise, and giving preference to one over the other, would make us intellectually dishonest. Honesty requires that all religions and their laws, no matter their origin, should be barred from both our legal and political systems.

If Ouellette and others believe that they can allow their own religion into those areas, while prohibiting others from entering, they are merely deluding themselves.

Once a door is opened, under whatever pretense, anything can enter.




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