Letters | Animals in church



Animals in church

I am concerned about the “WILD” series of sermons that Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, Fla., is presenting. I was shocked to see that, with a full congregation in attendance, an adult, 500-pound caged male lion was wheeled onto the pulpit. This lion was pacing back and forth during the entire service, which caused the cage to move and rock. There was no barricade of any kind around the cage, only a man seated on a chair beside the caged animal.

A video clip can be seen at http:// vimeo.com/14911169.

It is very disturbing that this type of display is being allowed in a church setting. As I understand it, the next planned event will be using pythons as symbolic of original sin. Were city and county officials and wildlife officers advised in advance about this series of sermons featuring caged wild animals? If it’s not a violation of zoning or animal welfare regulations, shouldn’t it be?

With the recent Jungle Island tiger escape, we’ve seen how quickly things can go wrong — dangerously wrong!

Though much scripture was quoted during this sermon, referring to this lion as the devil himself, I would like those charged with protecting wildlife to also consider Proverbs 12:10, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

Please put an end to the use of exotic animals as stage props. It presents an unnecessary danger to the public and is a cruel life for animals who do not deserve this type of life in captivity. The king of beasts has been relegated to nothing more than an animal transported around for people to gawk at, which is shameful!

Jeremy Possman, of Predators Unlimited, supplied this lion for the “show.” He is an alligator wrestler who admits that business has pretty much dried up in that area. Therefore, he has turned to photo ops and traveling exhibits with wild animals. He was quoted in an AP story saying, “If you do get bit, a lot of times
that just means more business, because they’re going to come back to see
if it’s going to happen again.” This is not a person who should
be responsible for the safety of an entire church congregation
potentially trapped in a room with a carnivore.

the service, congregants were told the lion was there in order to
“leverage animals to teach God’s lessons.” This lion was likened to the
devil, saying, “He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for
someone to devour.” Standing in front of the caged lion, the pastor
admitted, “I’m shaking.” He said, “How do you not run? He’s so big, his
teeth are so large, he’s so strong.” He held up a gun, smiled and said,
“I know you’ve been uneasy this whole service.” As the congregants
should be!

though Florida accounts for only 6 percent of the national population,
it accounts for 12 percent of the 602 reported incidents of killings,
maulings and escapes since 1990. Other states, which have passed bans on
breeding dangerous exotics, have seen these numbers drop dramatically,
some to zero.

are not enough inspectors to guarantee that even minimal standards of
care are being met or that the public is properly safeguarded. It is
time for the USDA and FWC to step up and ensure public safety and animal
welfare by banning breeding of big cats — period!

Cate Lamm/Longmont

Help with heating bills

Beginning this time of
year, as many as one in five Colorado households struggle to keep up
with home energy bills. Too many seniors on fixed incomes and families
with children must seriously weigh such dismal choices as keeping the
heat on or doing without food or medical care.

Fortunately, help is
available to keep these people safe and in their homes. The Colorado
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), a federally funded program
administered through the Colorado Department of Human Services, provides
energy bill payment assistance to income qualifying households. LEAP
also offers a Crisis Intervention Program to help eligible households
needing a repair or replacement of their home heating system.

valuable resource is Energy Outreach Colorado, a private, nonprofit
organization that raises funds for energy assistance through individual
and corporate donors. This year, Energy Outreach is distributing $6.7
million in energy assistance grants to 131 community assistance
organizations across the state, including Seniors Resources Center,
Salvation Army and Home Front Cares. Energy Outreach was established in
1989 to supplement LEAP funding and provide warmth and security to those
who may not qualify for LEAP or need additional assistance. Since then
it has distributed nearly $123 million to fund energy bill payment
assistance and energy efficiency upgrades for affordable housing in

strongly encourage anyone struggling to pay home energy bills to apply
for help today by calling toll-free 1-866-HEAT-HELP or by going to www.EnergyOutreach.org/locator.asp.
Concerned citizens interested in helping those who can’t afford home
energy can make a donation through those sites or by calling Energy
Outreach at 303- 825-8750.

Skip Arnold, executive director, Energy Outreach Colorado/via Internet

Peace in the Middle East

I write to
strongly urge continuing, unalloyed support by the United States for
Israel, our most reliable ally in the Mideast, in the aftermath of the
midterm elections.

Recent, abortive
terror plots in our own country forcefully remind us that Iran, which
operates through various proxies, notably Hezbollah, Hamas and
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, remains the world’s largest state sponsor of
terrorism. Yemen’s Anwar al-Awlaki is still but a small player in

continues work to develop a nuclear-weapons arsenal and constantly
reiterates its intention to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth.

alone, but very prominent, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
trains Muslim cadres in many nations and covertly supplies them with
weapons to advance Islamist interests — including the murder of

United States should press all of its allies to enact a new round of
sanctions aimed at isolating the Iranian Central Bank, which finances
and facilitates that state’s nuclear ambitions. All options, including
military strikes, must remain on the table should sanctions fail.

order for peace to be achieved for Irsael, Palestinians in Gaza — aided
by Iran — must stop shooting rockets at Israel. The Palestinian
Authority must live up to the agreements it has already signed and
sincerely recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation. Jobs and
freedom, not jihad, need to be the focus of all Muslim groups now
currently hostile towards Israel.

William Eigles/Denver

Barack Obama’s bid to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is being
challenged by the actions and inactions of Israel, the Palestinians and
key Arab states. It is time for our president to demonstrate leadership
again and follow through on his promise to hold all parties accountable
for their actions.

the past week, Israel moved ahead on multiple large-scale settlement
construction schemes, including a provocative plan to dramatically
expand one East Jerusalem settlement. Settlement expansion stands in the
way of peace and jeopardizes Israel’s viability as a Jewish and
democratic state.

Moreover, settlement construction is the most glaring challenge to President Obama’s peace efforts.

credibility is at stake. If President Obama fails to address the latest
provocations in East Jerusalem, it will become increasingly difficult
for America to get Israel, the Palestinians or Arab states to take any
steps toward peace.

Obama needs to face these challenges assertively. He must press Israel
to stop construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. And he must
push all sides into a meaningful negotiations process.

no mistake: standing up for peace is the best way to help Israel. Peace
is vital for Israel’s future and for American national security

Evelyn Hutt/Denver

Pancreatic cancer awareness

is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. While pancreatic cancer
is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, it
receives very little public attention. And what’s worse is federal funding
for pancreatic cancer research lags far behind other leading causes of
cancer death, stalling scientific advances for early detection methods
and effective treatment options.

cancer is the only one of the top 10 cancer killers with a five-year
survival rate still in the single digits — and the survival rate hasn’t
significantly changed in nearly 40 years. We must work together to
change this statistic and save lives, and it starts with increasing the
visibility of pancreatic cancer.

Sadly, most families don’t even know what pancreatic cancer is until it affects them.

this was the case for my family on two separate occasions. Six years
ago my father-in-law was taken by this deadly cancer, and in 2008, so
was my mother. The symptoms are so easily overlooked and easily
dismissed as fatigue, flu/cold-like and, as in my mother’s case, mild
heart condition.

is imperative that people understand how deadly this cancer is and how
important early detection is to survival. The profile of this particular
type of cancer can no longer be overshadowed by other cancers.

I invite you to join me in spreading the word about pancreatic cancer this November. Go to www.knowitfightitendit.org.

Everett Schneider/Denver

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