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Apparently my last letter confused John Herbst. Because I quote passages from the Bible, but don’t believe in heaven and hell, he says I’ve created a hybrid religion. While I respect Jesus and other spiritual teachers, I don’t claim to be religious or spiritual. Taoism isn’t a religion, it’s a philosophy that acknowledges a creator, but without human traits like anger and revenge. Death doesn’t come with a promise of reward for some people and threat of damnation for others. All beings are equal and eternal. A harmonious life is the goal of practice. I don’t claim to have achieved perfect harmony, but I’m happier and more peaceful now than when I was a Christian. There’s nothing wrong with Christianity, but no religion or philosophy is the right way for everyone. Some choose Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, agnosticism or atheism. In Herbst’s mind, all of them are going to hell, because they didn’t accept the “true faith,” the one that’s supposed to promote love, peace and tolerance in the world. I respect my friends and family for whom Christian beliefs offer comfort and security, and would never demean their faith. But using religion to justify hate, bigotry and violence is not the way of a true Christian. When you demonize others, claim superiority over other nations, justify war and violence, it’s no longer the way of God, it’s the way of man. It’s the hypocrisy I criticize, not the Christian faith.Mr. Herbst, your Bible tells you that bearing false witness against neighbors is a sin, yet you spread lies about me; accusing me of despising my country and labeling our soldiers “murderers and rapists.” Jesus commanded believers to love their enemies. Do you love the 9/11 attackers? Illegal immigrants? Me? Or do you pass when it comes to difficult or demanding portions of your Bible?If you want to represent Christ, I suggest you heed your own words; “Either commit yourself in integrity to a doctrinal system and follow it in honesty and humility, or reject it altogether.”God bless you, John Herbst, and good luck on Judgment Day.Sue GrayCarbondale

First of all, my son and I would like to apologize to you for trespassing on your property (Sept. 7, 2008). I did not know that the hill behind your house was yours; if I did we may not have climbed to the top to take pictures without permission.I do have to side with you. You know when you shot that dog, when you were a police officer (New Castle Police Department). The way you yelled at my son and I, “just what the hell we were doing and did I know whose property we were on.” You came across like the dog you shot, barking up a storm and acting vicious. If I was a cop I’d shoot you, too (if you were a dog). Then I got to thinking: For an ex-police officer, you’re about as smart as some of the criminals you were trying to catch. How, you might ask? Let’s start with your claims. First, you claimed that my son and I knew whose property we were on. Second, you said that someone had used a bulldozer on part of your property. Third, you claimed you rent your property out for horses and cattle, and that the lessees had the say-so on who could be on the property. Now for my untrained investigation. First, if I had known that it was your property, I may have asked. Second, from the top of your hill, I have pictures that I took. In not one area is there any tracks of any bulldozer. Third, in the past two years, my family has not seen one horse or cow anywhere, and I think if I owned the land and was to lease it out for horses and cattle, I would want the say-so, not them.Again, my son and I apologize for trespassing, but can you do me a favor now and explain to our children why they should not be afraid to play outside. They hear your automatic-weapon fire, and are afraid to play outside. Maybe I should have taken a clue and remembered the automatic-weapon fire, and stayed away from the top of that hill.Cal Whitman and familyRifle

The upcoming election is the most frightening in my 73 years on earth. John McCain’s recurring cancer (basal cell and invasive melanoma) are known issues, yet he has allowed only a cursory examination of his health records. This 72-year-old man wants to be our president, but he doesn’t want us to know how healthy he is (or isn’t).Let’s do a what-if scenario: McCain assumes office, then his cancer or other health problems make him unable to continue as president. This is the even scarier part! We would have an extremely inexperienced and trigger-happy Palin in the Oval Office.On the other hand. the Obama-Biden ticket brings to the White House a team who has a proven bipartisan record in the Senate. At this time of peril for our beloved country, I ask all of you to carefully weigh these issues before you vote.Jan GirardotGlenwood Springs



This letter is in response to the letter about the flag at Highland Elementary in Rifle. I am in no way a partial observer in this matter: The professional you questioned is my husband. You were wrong to assume my husband doesn’t respect the memories of those that died on 9/11 or those that have fought in the present and previous wars. Long before Sept. 11 became a day of mourning and remembrance for the rest of the United States, it was a day of mourning for us. Our third child, Jared, was born on this day and he would have been 21 this year. We started the morning of Sept. 11 as we have for the past 20 years, discussing Jared and wondering what kind of man he might have become. Our oldest son enlisted in the army two months after 9/11 knowing he would face combat. He proudly and honorably served two terms in Iraq, the first one at the very beginning of the conflict and saw horrors that he has never shared with us. The day before your letter that questioned my husband’s patriotism, we watched while our son tried to deal with the news that one of the soldiers that had served with him for both tours in Iraq was killed on Sunday, while still fighting in Iraq. Our son-in-law recently finished a tour in Afghanistan and is currently stationed in D.C.My husband is principal of Highland Elementary. As such he is entrusted with teaching more than 500 young children how to read, write, add and subtract, as well as a multitude of skills they will need to survive in this country. As far as explaining personal and national loss to a generation of children and teaching them how to respect our flag, our nation and the men and women who have died keeping this country free I can think of no better person to handle this task. Nobody disagrees with you, the flag should have been flying at half-mast; however a quick phone call to bring this matter to the “professional’s” attention would have gone a long way in building a better understanding with your neighbor. I feel quite certain he would have taken care of the matter immediately. Rhonda DillonParachute

amily values? When did lying become a family value? Have I missed something the last eight years?Butch OlsonGlenwood Springs


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