Why atheists hate Christmas; Wake up, Congress; and more

The Gazette letters Published: December 26, 2013 | 12:00 am 0

Congress better wake up

Why is it that any and every time Congress wants to save some money the first thing that comes up to cut is either entitlements (Social Security, pensions, retirements) or military? Why not take a couple of billion from foreign aid or a billion or so from food stamp waste; a million or two from presidential trips, or better yet, cut the pay for all 500-plus members of Congress and all their hundreds of aides and sub aides. I think that a half salary cut would be in order. Just cutting the travel and office expenses by half for a couple of years would stop their thinking where the cuts should come from.

I don't think this idea will go very far, but Congress better wake up, the American people are finally waking up and seeing the total lack of responsibility and respect that our elected officials have for the average citizen. They assume that they are more intelligent than average Joe and Jane. Not so, most could not hold down a regular job.

George Douglas

Colorado Springs

Why atheists hate Christmas

Re: The Gazette, Dec. 19, "Nativity scenes out at Gitmo;" This article, along with all the other attacks on Christmas, made me think: Why do atheists hate Christmas? I start with the fact that we're wired for God, as he is and has been in all cultures throughout history, only he's given different identities. Yet, atheists deny this and hope that this life is all there is and that the scales of justice remain unbalanced.

A Christian's hope is that there is life eternal and that the scales of justice are finally balanced. Thus, the basic premise that each builds a life upon are in conflict. And as Christian signs and symbols call into question the atheist's most basic premise, they can cause them doubt, psychological stress, and anger. These feelings become especially acute during the Christmas season, as Christian signs and symbols are everywhere and the majority of people celebrate its meaning (God sent his only son into the world to bring salvation). The joy Christmas evokes from Christians exacerbates the atheist's discontent, and they attack Christmas to keep it out of the public square.

Jack Stanfield

Colorado Springs

Headed in the wrong direction

I'm writing in response to Adam Lenzmeier, principal at Atlas Prep School. I respect your opinion, sir, but I do not agree with a word that you wrote in your letter. My guess is that you probably have been in the education field a relatively short time. Otherwise, you would recognize that many of the standards in Common Core are not developmentally sound since educators were not involved in developing them.

Teaching to the test does not encourage rigor because the standards are not appropriate. In states which have incorporated the testing, fifth-grade students were tested on subject matter usually presented in the eighth grade. That's not rigor; that's poor educational practice, which also negatively impacts the normal enjoyment of learning.

I know that the concept of having national standards appeals to some, and I thought it was a good idea in the beginning, too. However, after 30 years of teaching, plus a lot of time studying No Child Left Behind and Common Core, I realized that these untested reforms continue to encourage high-stakes testing. It's counterproductive because it takes away from a child-centered, individually based approach to learning. After the standards, teachers in Colorado will be expected to incorporate the tests, and eventually, there will be some sort of scripted teaching. It has nothing to do with real education for children.

Please read "Reign of Error" by Diane Ravitch. Her new book presents a well-researched background of education history in this country as well as best practices in teaching. It also makes reference to Common Core, the practice of merit-pay for teachers, and the theory that teacher evaluations should be tied to their students' test scores. We're headed in the wrong direction, and many states are starting to back out of using Common Core standards.

Colorado is not one of them yet, but parents are becoming more informed and are beginning to opt out of testing.

Sandra Wickham

Woodland Park

Lighter Side of Christmas a success

The committee and the City of Woodland Park would like to thank everyone involved in making the 25th anniversary Lighter Side of Christmas Celebration a success. The fireworks made "That's All Folks" a truly memorable parade.

Special thanks to Beneficiary Woodland Park Community Cupboard and Janie Child, Grand Marshal Cindy Morse, Judges Mike and Marilyn Dougall, Lenore Hotchkiss and Gayle Gross, announcers Mike Perini, Dave Paul and Debbie Miller, Crazy Hat sponsor Williams Furniture and Vicki and Jerry Goode, Northeast Teller County Fire Department, Teller County Sheriff Posse and local Boy Scouts for manning the Bum Fires during the parade, Teller County Search and Rescue, WPPD, WP City and Public Works Dept, Pikes Peak Rotary and Dave Paul for sound systems, GD Printing, Kelly's Office Supply, Kanet, Pol and Bridges and CDesign for printing and graphics, MNM Webworks, John and Kynta Bennitt and friends, Parade Photographer Rod Dion, Debbie Pinello, Craig Harms and the Woodland Park Wind Symphony, Summit Singers, Downtown DDA and Carol Lindholm.

Our special business sponsors are listed at www.lightersideofchristmas.com and of course, thanks to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Next year we're going to celebrate 100 years of Tarzan! Keep tuned to www. lightersideofchristmas.com for details over the coming months.

Thanks so much to everyone.

Tracie Bennitt

Woodland Park

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