LETTERS: Power of prayer; REI & the NRA; and more
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Hundreds of parents, students, educators and community leaders gathered for the annual local observance of the National School Choice Week rally in front of City Hall on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Lead organizer was Parents Challenge, a nonprofit organization that helps children from low-income families obtain equal access to educational services. Students wave signs while taking a group photo after the rally. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

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Save cyberschools for kids

On Friday, Feb. 16, Digital Learning Day, as proclaimed by Governor John Hickenlooper, parents, guardians, students, and educators descended on the state Capitol to advocate for public school choice, specifically cyberschooling at Colorado Coalition for Cyberschool Families' annual Day at the Capitol.

Our public school options are threatened across the country. From budget cuts to different accountability standards for different schools, parental and guardian choice is under attack. Parents and guardians do not have a seat at the table when it comes to their children's education and that inhibits children from reaching their full potential based on their educational needs.

Cyberschools are a critical component to our public school system and need to be preserved. Cyberschool students include athletes who want to gain an education while practicing many hours a day, LGBTQ students who experience bullying in traditional classrooms, or even students who simply prefer to work at their own pace due to a learning disability or emotional issue. Cyberschool students include anyone and everyone.

Make your voice heard. Speak to your legislators. Become an advocate. It's time to stay vigilant and educate policymakers on the importance of school choice in Colorado. Parents and guardians deserve a seat at the table when it comes to their children's education.

Tillie Elvrum

Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families

   

The power of prayer

We are experiencing a trend in our culture that seems to denigrate the power and efficacy of prayer - something that has guided this country since its inception. Government officials and media icons tell us "prayer is not enough." Well-meaning adults and children say they "don't want prayer, they want to do something." They confuse prayer with inaction. Nothing could be further from the truth.

During the most critical times in our country's history, we have prayed as a nation. At the birth of our country, Benjamin Franklin offered "an appeal for God's intervention" during a crisis at the Constitutional Convention.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often went to his knees "because he had nowhere else to go." Before our troops stormed the beaches at Normandy to liberate Europe, Franklin Roosevelt called for a special day of prayer but also asked for a "continuance of prayer" for the rest of the war.

In April of 1970, President Richard Nixon called on the nation to observe a Day of Prayer for the Apollo 13 astronauts. On May 5, 1988, President Reagan initiated the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May, saying, "Americans in every generation have turned to their Maker in prayer to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God." President George W. Bush declared Days of Prayer after the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and after Hurricane Katrina. In each case, Americans prayed and then took action - a model for us to follow today.

In my own experience, prayer has meant the difference between life and death. A few years ago, I was in the hospital for four months, undergoing five major surgeries including two liver transplants, multiple organ failures, severe infections, and a cardiac arrest. I received outstanding care from the surgeons, nurses, and staff at the University of Colorado Hospital, but I am convinced that I survived because of the fervent prayers of my family and friends across the country. I am alive today because people prayed to God to heal me - and He did.

As our nation remembers the life of Billy Graham, let us remember that he said, "To get our nation on its feet, we must get on our knees." Let us also remember the awesome promise in the Bible that says, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

We have these wonderful examples from our history and a clear exhortation in the scriptures to pray. May God grant us the wisdom to continue to pray for each other with courage and faith and then act on these convictions. We can do no more; we should never be satisfied to do less.

Frank Gahren

Colorado Springs

   

REI and the NRA

I want to thank REI for all their services and products made available in the past. However many good things often draw to a conclusion. It is very unfortunate, in my opinion, that REI has elected to be manipulated by an ongoing malicious and dishonest political campaign against the NRA.

This has been a very controversial subject for decades and has become even more shrill as common sense in our society has been in decline. A few brief examples of this include the fact that out of all the mass shootings which have occurred over the years there has not been one NRA member connected to any of them that I am aware of, nor has the news media exposed any.

Also the claim made by the media, and others, that the NRA owns and controls politicians through their political contributions must be realistically assessed. Consider that the NRA has reportedly contributed approximately $200 million between the years 1996-2016 to a variety of candidates.

This may appear to be a great sum or money. However when this is averaged out over 20 years, it amounts to $10 million a year. Compared to the $1.7 billion that labor unions contributed in the 2016 election year alone, the fallacy of this claim should be apparent.

The NRA is merely a group of every day Americans who support their country and the Constitution. And the NRA as an organization has always advocated for common sense laws that align with our Constitution (background checks for one) and gun safety programs.

If an honest assessment is carried out regarding both past and present policies it will be found that the NRA is not the problem. It is the solution.

Frank Zacharias

Colorado Springs

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