Letters to the Editor | PostIndependent.com

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,I’m distressed by Audrey Thornton’s letter, “Romney is not a Christian,” Oct. 17, attempting to classify someone (in this case, Mitt Romney) by his beliefs in a doctrine that is worded a specific, and exclusive, way. Because, she asserts, Mormons do not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross cleansed people from their sins, and that Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time, Romney is not a Christian.Christianity has long been rent by people demanding belief in specific (usually unverifiable) beliefs. The most widespread and divisive controversy in Christianity, Arianism, hung upon whether people believed Jesus was equal and coeternal to God, and whether he was wholly human and wholly divine. The differing beliefs were finally resolved by the First Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), which promulgated the Nicene Creed. Even then, the First Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) revised that creed to include the phrase “in the Holy Ghost, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son.” And that has produced a long controversy between the Orthodox Eastern and Roman Catholic churches.Examining the history of various creeds reveals that humans produce the words defining the divine. Each creed springs from a specific historical context, and different historical contexts produce different creeds. Even the venerable Apostles’ Creed changed from its probable origin in the second or third century to its current form in the seventh century (“He descended into Hell” and “resurrection of the body” were added then).Which of these beliefs can be verified: Jesus’ death on the cross cleansed people from their sins? Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time? The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son? Jesus descended into Hell? After death our bodies will be resurrected?Can we really put God in a human-sized box? Healthy humans need a spiritual dimension. Whether one is Christian (is that Roman or Eastern Orthodox? Baptist or Unitarian?) isn’t the point. If Mitt Romney’s faith produces a spiritual man who works to relieve human suffering, isn’t that enough?Karl OelkeGlenwood Springs

Dear Editor,As a local teacher, I watched last week’s debate between school board candidates with interest. Several candidates answered questions about the achievement gap and our growing English Language Learner (ELL) population with vague responses that implied that “Standards Based Education” is a solution to this problem. Although standards have an important role in our schools, there are many more specific actions we should take to improve teaching and learning for our ELL students. In my opinion, the most problematic component of the ELL issue (and all other issues related to student achievement, for that matter) is hiring and retaining the best teachers. Skyrocketing property values in our valley make this proposition increasingly difficult. Therefore, solving the affordable housing problem is paramount to meeting the needs of our ELL students. Implementation of dual language programs, increased teacher training in ELL strategies, and improved communication between ELL certified staff throughout the district are also critical components to meeting the needs of our ELL students. Although the district has made efforts to work towards all of these actions, we must strive to do better. Suggesting that our standards based system is a cure-all for this problem (or any problem) is naïve and ambiguous. Kudos to both Debbie Bruell and Bill Lamont who answered this question more precisely and directly than other candidates.Our schools are destined to be merely good if our school board is satisfied with the status quo. If we want to be great, we must constantly search for ways to improve. I encourage all candidates to go beyond sound bite responses about “standards based education” and “meeting the needs of all learners” and articulate real and innovative solutions to the problems we face.Michael Logan Carbondale

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