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COMMUNITY FORUM: Church and state, religious liberties and Jesus

November 18, 2011

Statue can’t force religion

Re: David Ball’s letter about the Jesus statue (Nov. 15).

Ball makes the same mistake every other liberal makes in what the First Amendment states. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Christianity was an already established religion long before the USA was a blip in its founding fathers’ eyes. The government supporting Christianity does not establish it. The original meaning of the founding fathers is that Congress would not create a state religion, such as they had with the Church of England. Our Founding Fathers supported Christianity because there is freedom in the name of Jesus Christ, and because the heart of Christianity is helping the poor, the fatherless, and the widows. Should our country support atheism that makes man a selfish god unto himself? Should our country support Islam which wants to take over the world?

Ball also uses terrible references in trying to get his point across. 9/11 is synonymous with Islamic radicalism. The Crusades were Christians helping the Jews take back Jerusalem because of the preceding Muslim invasion and occupation. Misogyny (“hatred of women” for those who haven’t looked it up) is in Islamic Shariah law. Ignorance falls on all of those who choose to follow the misinformation bandwagon without doing their own personal research and using the brains God gave us.

Ball’s assertion that “endorsement” equals “establishment” betrays his ignorance of language. Our government can “endorse” Christianity without forcing everyone to accept it as their faith (establishment). Islam (Shariah law) and homosexuals (same-sex marriage) are the only ones forcing (establishing) their agendas/faith on everyone at this point in time.

A statue of Jesus in a forest no more forces Christianity on someone than a speed limit sign forces someone to slow down.

Joseph Ford

Colorado Springs


Has been there for ages

In reference to the Nov. 15 “Letters”, I find it both ironic and humorous that David W. Ball would state that Wayne Laugesen, “...can’t find an argument based on logic or reason,” when his argument lacks logic and reason. It seems, from Ball’s diatribe on the statue of Jesus on federal land, that he doesn’t mind seeing Christian and other icons while driving down “any major street and look at all the churches, mosques, synagogues, or other symbols that are all out in the open, in public,” but a statue of Jesus in a national forest (which has been there for ages and, in all likelihood, he has never seen) would upset him so. After all, it’s okay with this Mikey Weinstein wannabe if people display a statue of Jesus, “ a church, or in your own private front yard [but] not in a National Forest.” The fact of the matter is Laugesen’s interpretation of the First Amendment to the Constitution is the correct interpretation.

Joe Thompson

Colorado Springs


Much more pressing issues

So the statue must go. May I ask why? It has been there for years, now all of a sudden someone wants to pretend to be politically correct. It amazes me how we Americans have to accept Muslims and they way they pray, dress, talk; we have to accept Hispanics and their language and beliefs, we have to accept gays, lesbians, bis, tris and whatever and their beliefs; we have to accept so many people and their beliefs, and yes in public. Why is it that Jesus is all of a sudden bothering people? Why is he offending? It is a statue put there for those who want to admire it, to admire it. If it offends someone don’t look — just walk away.

It’s not hurting anyone, my God people, there is so much more pressing issues in this world, maybe you should be focusing your energy on all the children being abused/murdered by their parents, the hunger, the homelessness, the wars, the whole country going down the toilet. Why are you so focused on Jesus and where he is?

Cookie Carletti

Colorado Springs


Some logic to consider

In David W. Ball’s letter, Nov. 15, “Jesus statue must go”, he contends that a statue of Jesus (God, in Christian theology) in the Flathead National Forest (Montana) must go because a religious symbol on national property has no place.

He contends one should use “logic and reason” when arguing for leaving a symbol of Jesus (God) on national property. Well, here is some logic for Ball to consider:

Last time I looked, national forests were national property, just like the United States Supreme Court is national property. I would suggest Ball take a look at the front doors of the court. The symbols of the Ten Commandments are on the doors. I see no difference in ownership between those doors of the Supreme Court and a national forest.

Steve Sinn

Manitou Springs


Christian symbol protected

David Ball’s, “Jesus statue must go,” Nov. 15: To answer Ball, I would make the following comments. The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The purpose here is that all Americans have a right to freely express and communicate ideas in the public marketplace of ideas, including religious ideas. That is why the First Amendment starts with the freedom to express one’s religious thoughts and the Government cannot prohibit its free exercise. It also says that Congress cannot “make laws” that “establishes” a national religion. A plain reading of the words does not exclude religion from the public arena; it says the government must remain neutral and allow all forms of secular and religious communications: be they humanism, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, etc. Thus, under the Constitution, it is not illegal to place a cross on public lands as long as other religions can do likewise. We see this at Christmas where various religious and nonreligious symbols are allowed on government property. So the ability to show the Christian symbol on public land is protected speech. The endorsement argument doesn’t apply here because the national forest is available if other religions want to place a symbol there and take care of it. The “can’t prohibit” clause means that the government can’t be hostile to any one religion but must treat all the same.

 As for Ball’s comments on religion being intolerant and hostile, I would simply make two points. First, the religion of Jesus Christ is not intolerant, only some of its practitioners are. Second, atheistic-secular governments have killed well in excess of a hundred million people in the twentieth century alone, showing just how lethal they can be.

Jack Stanfield

Colorado Springs


Gift that we hold precious

The letter from David Ball boldly proclaims his lack of faith in a creator. In his ramblings about the establishment clause, he lays the groundwork for Justice Clarence Thomas’ blog to the “Education Week” on Oct. 31.

Supreme Court Justice Thomas makes the point that ridiculous and confusing lower court decisions have obfuscated the First Amendment to the point that, religious freedom is a mish-mosh of rules and regulations that allow nothing of the kind.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s simple and direct.

By nature, there are those among us who would play with words to change the singular nature of a simple phrase. Typically, they do so to cover a moral inconsistency.

Ball does not seek to protect the Constitution. He has complete freedom of thought and speech. He seeks to deny it to others because he believes a legal precedent (established by suspect jurisprudence) exists that allows him to do so.

 Ball also seems to show that he has an ax to grind with Christians. His letter reads as one who is excited to ridicule those who choose a belief system other than his own.

I will defend his right to speak.

Those of us who have faith will continue to pray that Ball finds this gift that we hold precious.

Bob McNamara

Colorado Springs


Pigs before religious freedom

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful article in the Nov. 13 opinion page, “Jesus under siege on montana slope.” I so appreciate your standing up for religious freedom. While the Supreme Court turns down the chance to weigh in on whether it is against the Constitution to leave crosses along a roadside to honor veterans and instead takes on an appeal regarding whether pigs that cannot walk may still be slaughtered (essentially putting dying pigs ahead of religious freedom in my opinion), you are explaining in very certain and clear terms what the First Amendment meant and means still today.

I was also simply thrilled that the news of Glenn Beck’s surprise contribution to Gospel Shelters for Women hit the front page. My husband called me about hearing it on the radio, and we were looking for it in the paper. What a blessing and answer to prayer that contribution was. It is just another example of how grassroots people can step in and help when government refuses just because government wants to control everything and expel religion from our nation.

And to give you one more pat on the back, thank you for including that wonderfully refreshing, goosebumpey article by Kathleen Parker in today’s paper ( “A nice, squeaky clean guy in a season of political nastiness”). How amazing that someone actually caught an aspiring politician in simple acts of kindness and goodness! Thanks for passing it on. It just might affect how I vote next time.

Anna Lucas


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