Thankful for our freedoms

Every Thanksgiving, our family, like many, has a tradition of going around the table and “encouraging” members of the family to speak about what they are grateful for. This year, our family had a consistent theme of gratitude for the freedoms we have in this country, which we so often take for granted, and yet are so precious to us. This of course leads us to pause and think of other people, in other countries, who are not so fortunate, and for me it brought to mind some of my own experiences. Two years ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Hong Kong on business. As a Catholic, I sought out a church where I had the privilege of attending Mass in a foreign country. It was a beautiful service, universally the same and yet unique. The church was adjacent to a Catholic school and the Mass was attended by many of the students in their uniforms, and at the time I could not help but be amazed at the universality of our faith in such a faraway land, and I reveled in the thought of these students being brought up in the Catholic faith, and receiving an education second to none.

A mere two years later, the people of Hong Kong are fighting for their rights — the foremost of which is to worship God as they choose. Towering over their shoulders, waiting to take away that most precious freedom — the freedom from which all other freedoms arise, is the totalitarian, communist regime of China. China does not allow its own people to freely practice their faith. They force priests and churches to register with the government so they can be monitored. Christians and people of all faiths are persecuted and jailed for their faith. China’s leader has installed himself as a dictator for life, and demands obeisance from the people, and to an evil ideology that has taken millions of lives over the past century, and taken the souls of countless millions more. This is such a stark contrast to the experience that we have as Americans, where every man and woman are free to make their own choices, and follow their own path.

As a Catholic, I strongly believe (and know deep in my heart) that God wants us to be free. He does not demand our obedience, but instead he has created a world where we are meant to be free to seek the truth and to choose Him (or not) as we see fit.

Freedom is written into the DNA of every human being. In America, we have codified that in our Declaration of Independence — acknowledging that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. At the core of these rights is the right to the belief that there is a Creator — a Creator who has made us in His image and given us these freedoms, which no mere mortal (or group of mortals in the form of a government) can take away. Because these freedoms are in fact part of our DNA, we should expect them and we should demand them — for ourselves and for all of mankind. Those who stand with Hong Kong and declare their support for the protesters are standing for the right to be human. To deny this is to defend evil.

So while we should expect and demand to be free, we should never take our freedoms for granted, but always be vigilant, and eternally grateful for our freedom, for being Americans, and for being created in the image of a loving God, who also expects us to be free.

Scott Jesse

Colorado Springs

Clarif

ications on the ADA

After reading Barry Fagin’s column about the ADA, I’d like to shed some more light on a few of his points. Fagin states a few things that are not quite true or are outright incorrect.

The doctor being made to pay $400,000 for failing to provide a sign-language interpreter to a patient is not quite the whole story; the jury found that the doctor violated the law by failing to provide an interpreter and for retaliating against her for requesting one.

The ADA is not “horribly ambiguous”; the standards are clearly defined in a 270-plus page document found on the ada.gov website. The fast-food counter is a great example of this, on pages 220 and 221 of the standards document it clearly lays out the dimensions of service counters; there’s no ambiguity “counter surface height shall be 38 inches (965 mm) maximum above the finish floor or ground.”

All laws are not clearly written, some may need tweaking and amending; just because a law didn’t turn out quite as intended it does not mean you should repeal it and start over. While I agree the ADA is not perfect, what law is? It has provided a great benefit for those that need accommodations.

Jacob Fisher

Colorado Springs

Equal access to services

Today I saw the president of the City Council and asked Richard Skorman a question. I asked, is there free parking from today (the day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas as been the tradition. I was informed, “No, there is free parking in city parking lots but not at meters.” I suggested that this could very well result with a lawsuit.

The point is, I am disabled, I have a valid disability placard. Without divulging my exact disability, I find walking distance, such as from a city parking lot to the location of my choice is very painful and impossible after a block or more. This is discrimination. I intend to park at a parking meter whether at a disability parking meter or not (there are not enough disability parking meters in this city) and display my placard and not put money in the meter.

If I receive a parking ticket the city of Colorado Springs will find itself with a lawsuit pursuant to guidelines of the ADA, equal access to programs and services.

Marshall Griffith

Colorado Springs

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