Category: Separation of Church and State

Abortion access initiative makes it onto Colorado’s 2024 ballot

It’s official.

The initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the Colorado state Constitution will be on the ballot this November.

Since it seeks to amend the state constitution, it will need a vote of at least a 55% in favor to pass.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Office announced today that supporters of Initiative #89, the “Right to Abortion,” had submitted the required number of signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for Colorado’s statewide General Election ballot on November 5, 2024.

Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese elected state House Minority Leader

Rose Pugliese supported disastrous former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in the 2018 election despite the fact that Tina was completely unqualified to be a County Clerk. Tina was running  against Bobbie Gross, who was already certified to run state and local elections, was managing the DMV and had more than a decade of experience in the Clerk’s office.

Former two-term Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who moved to Colorado Springs in 2020 to run for the state House District 14 seat (and won the seat), has been elected Republican House Minority Leader in the Colorado Legislature. She replaces Rep. Mike Lynch (R), who resigned as Minority Leader on Wednesday, 1/24/24 after it was revealed that he had been arrested in September, 2022 on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) and possessing a firearm while intoxicated. Lynch pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation and 150 hours of community service.

Signature-gathering effort for ballot initiative to guarantee abortion rights in CO kicks off 1/23 in Grand Junction

States where abortion rights may be on the ballot in 2024 (Chart: Washington Post)

The effort to get Amendment 89, a constitutional amendment to protect the right to an abortion from government interference in Colorado, onto the November ballot will kick off on Tuesday, January 23 at an event in Grand Junction from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at The Mesa Theater, 538 Main St, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Currently abortion is protected in Colorado, but only by a statutory law enacted in 2022 called the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which confers only weak protection that could easily be changed by a vote of Republicans trying to further restrict women’s rights.

Amendment 89 will assure that all Coloradans, regardless of occupation or source of health insurance, have access to reproductive healthcare. Currently, teachers, firefighters, other state and local public employees and people enrolled in state health insurance plans lack insurance coverage (pdf) for abortion care, an inequity that

Republicans are passing laws to restrict womens freedom in the U.S., leading to the need for states to pass constitutional amendments to guarantee women keep those hard-won rights.

Amendment 89 aims to address. As a constitutional amendment, Amendment 89 will also be a stronger buffer against future attempts by politicians in Colorado to limit abortion access in our state.

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers to run holiday billboard

WCAF’s 2023 winter solstice billboard will be up at First and Ouray from Dec. 20-26, 2023

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), the western slope’s longest-established secular organization, will run a holiday billboard to commemorate the 2023 winter solstice.

The digital billboard will be up from 12/20-12/26 on the northeast corner of First Street and Ouray Ave., across the street from Bicycle Outfitters and Thai No. 9. There is plenty of free parking on the street so people can stop, get out of their cars and admire the billboard, and plenty of sidewalk space to stand on to take pictures of it.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson wants to teach creationism alongside science in public schools

“I feel like we need to be teaching both ends of the spectrum when we’re teaching things in school as well….What I mean by that is if we’re teaching the Big Bang Theory then we need to teach creationism as well.” — Barbara Evanson

On October 31, the Colorado Times Recorder highlighted a locally-made video interview with District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson in which Evanson says that if schools teach what is scientifically known about the origins of the universe, then they should also have to teach creationism alongside that information so kids can decide on their own what’s true.

Creationism is the religious belief that God created the universe. It is a wholly religious construct with no scientific proof behind it,

The idea of mandating creationism be taught in public schools alongside scientific information has been declared by U.S. courts to be illegal.

Adam Frisch, the Democratic challenger for CD-3 seat, raises quadruple what Boebert raises in 3rd quarter

Adam Frisch is running for 3rd Congressional District House Representative

It seems Lauren Boebert’s bad behavior and poor representation of Colorado in the House of Representatives is catching up to her.

In an article published this morning, Colorado Politics wrote that “Colorado has never seen a campaign finance report like the one filed last week by Democrat Adam Frisch.” Its headline reads, “Boebert challenger Adam Frisch rewrites record books, vies for national fundraising title,” and the article says “The magnitude of Frisch’s fundraising is hard to express.”

Woodland Park-based Christian nationalist group working to influence Mesa County District 51 School Board election

Truth & Liberty Coalition fliers seek to influence the local school board election by focusing on right wing culture war issues. The fliers were placed at La Milpa Tortilleria on 30 Road.

High-quality, multi-colored, bilingual fliers created by the front range Christian dominionist group Truth & Liberty Coalition are showing up at businesses around town. The fliers use right wing culture war rhetoric targeting gay and transgender students in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November 7 District 51 School Board election. The fliers appear to endorse CynDee Skalla, Jessica Hearns and Barbara Evanson.

The fliers were found at La Milpa Tortilla Factory in Grand Junction and are bilingual in English and Spanish.

Republican Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis publicly pulls his support for Rep. Lauren Boebert. Better late than never, Cody, but come on…

Commissioner Cody Davis’ Facebook post from yesterday, saying he can no longer support Lauren Boebert

In a remarkable show of common sense unusual in a Mesa County Republican, County Commissioner Cody Davis yesterday posted on his Facebook page that “I can no longer support Lauren Boebert for Congress, and here’s why. Our voters in Mesa County and along the West Slope deserve leaders and representatives who uphold our values.”

He continued, “How can I criticize Democrats for their moral shortcomings if I’m blind to the shortcomings of my own side?”

Okay, great, Cody. Better late than never to emerge as the most rational member of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners.

But it’s worth noting that Commissioner Davis didn’t yank his support for Boebert last July after she trashed a lapel pin representing a child who was massacred at the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

He didn’t pull his support for her after she lied to her constituents about missing the debt ceiling vote last June.

He didn’t criticize Boebert after she mocked the tragic death of a young woman who was accidentally killed on a movie set by Alec Baldwin with a prop gun that had been loaded with a live round instead of a blank.

Tina Peters is again begging people to pay for her legal defense “to save America.” She’s also encouraging churches to break federal law and promoting jury nullification, which could help keep her out of prison

Tina Peters on Rumble.com on 7/18/2023, telling lies and begging for money

In a July 18, 2023 video posted on Rumble.com — the online video platform right wing extremists turn to after being banned from YouTube and Facebook — indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters optimistically starts off a half hour interview by saying “I always have a smile on my face because I know the best is yet to come.” She explains why she just fired her criminal defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg. She told her attorney,

“If you can’t get me off on two misdemeanors, how are you going to fight seven felonies and three misdemeanors?”

Drinking Liberally hosts Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross & D-51 School Board candidate Darren Cook


Drinking Liberally is a non-partisan social group that holds get-togethers in town at food and drink establishments while hosting guest speakers. The event focuses on protection of our civil liberties, like freedom from government and corporate overreach (for example denying workers the right to organize, denying women the right to access abortions and preventing transgender people access to medical care). On Tuesday, May 23, the event was held at Edgewater Brewery at 905 Struthers, by the Colorado River.

The packed crowd included notable conservatives like Tom Keenan and Cindy Ficklin, members of the far right wing group, Stand for the Constitution. The event featured two Speakers: newly-elected Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross and Darren Cook, former longtime D-51 teacher who is running for D-51 School Board.

As D-51 School Board’s conservative majority rushes to close East Middle School, it fast-tracks the opening of a religiously-affiliated charter school

District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz

As the conservative District 51 School Board majority headed by Board President Andrea Haitz hurries to shut down East Middle School, it is fast-tracking the opening of yet another charter school, the Ascent Classical Academy, a project of Hillsdale College, a private Christian religious school located in south-central Michigan.

Ascent Classical Academy uses a curriculum advanced by Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative, “an outreach program of Hillsdale College devoted to the revitalization of public education through the launch and support of classical K-12 charter schools.”

Ascent Classical Academy plans to open in Grand Junction in August, 2023, at 545 31 Road, the building that formerly housed the Rocky Mountain Gun Club, just as the District puts the finishing touches on shutting down East Middle School, a high-performing traditional public school in the heart of downtown Grand Junction.

Bigger than Roe western slope march planned for Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023 @ 1:00 p.m.

Crowd gathering in front of the old courthouse before the 2019 Womens March in downtown Grand Junction

Fifty years to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade made abortion a constitutional right, a march will be held locally in Grand Junction to demand that federal protections for abortion not only be restored, but be made even better than Roe allowed.

Last June (2022), the far-right Republican majority now sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court stunned the country when it reversed 50 years of precedent in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, invalidating Roe v Wade.  The ruling end Americans’ federally-protected right to obtain an abortion.  It was the first time the Supreme Court has ever taken away a fundamental constitutional protection from people in the United States of America.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, now more televangelist than House Representative, is working to turn politics into a holy war


First 5 minutes of a 55 minute talk Lauren Boebert gave on September 9, where she was introduced as a Member of Congress

At a September 9, 2022 speech at the Truth and Liberty Coalition conference in Woodland Park — the same appearance where she confused the word “wanton” as in “wanton killing” with the word for the Chinese dumpling, the announcer introduced Lauren Boebert in her official capacity as a Member of Congress. But during her talk, Boebert talked less about policy and government and acted and spoke exactly like a televangelist preacher, strutting back and forth across the stage, invoking the apocalypse with lines like “we are in the last of the last days.” She urged her audience to “rise up and take our place in Christ and influence this nation as we were called to do,” adding, “you get to have a role in the second coming of Jesus! How cool is that?”

Lauren Boebert doesn’t understand what “wanton killing” is

Everybody is talking about how, while reading a passage from the Bible, Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert mixed up “wanton” and “wonton,” jokingly admitting that she didn’t understand what “wanton killing” was.

Remember that point in the Club 20 debate between Boebert and her opponent Adam Frisch, where Frisch asked Boebert why she didn’t attend the Club 20 Steak Fry, an event to honor the candidates participating in the debates?

Boebert answered Frisch by curtly saying, “Dinners aren’t my thing.”

What  she didn’t want people to know was that she wasn’t at the steak fry that night because she was across the state in Woodland Park, preaching at the Truth and Liberty Coalition’s “From Vision to Victory” conference at Charis Bible College, hosted by faith healer Andrew Wommack.

Rep. Boebert: “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk”


Speaking to an audience at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt on June 26, 2022 — two days before the primary election — House Rep. Lauren Boebert called for America to become a theocracy, a system of government in which the church directs the government.

Strutting back and forth across the stage like a televangelist, Boebert told the audience,

“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it. And I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk. That’s not the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like what they say.”

Oklahoma is just the beginning of what life will be like under Republican rule

In late May 2022, Oklahoma once again passed the nation’s worst abortion ban, making it the first state to effectively end women’s right to have an abortion, and making this article, that I first published on May 20, 2019, even more relevant.

Oklahoma Republicans just passed a mind-blowingly strict law that makes abortion illegal in virtually every circumstance, effectively terminating the right of women in the state to control their own bodies and reproductive fate.

Oklahoma wasn’t alone in this, either. Other Republican-dominated states are also enacting extremely strict laws that effectively make abortion illegal, with some banning the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Republicans base these laws on their belief that a fetus is a fully legal person entitled to all the rights and privileges that all legal American citizens enjoy.

But if actually put into effect, what do these beliefs really portend for life in America?

The Grand Junction Area Chamber’s long track record of harmful candidate endorsements

Longtime Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke

Note: In light of Chamber President Diane Schwenke’s recent announcement that she is finally retiring after 25 years at the Chamber, I am re-posting articles about her disastrous tenure at Chamber in hopes that the Chamber Board will see what a boondoggle she’s been and finally take an entirely new direction when they hire a new president after she leaves. This article was originally posted on 9/28/21.

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Local candidates usually tout their endorsements by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, but the Chamber’s long track record of endorsing deeply flawed candidates shows that candidates should run from a Chamber endorsement as fast as they can, or at least politely decline it.

Observation of the Chamber’s endorsements going back a decade reveals that the Chamber does not evaluate candidates based on criteria like experience, background, education, knowledge or qualifications to hold office. Rather, the Chamber only considers a candidate’s political and religious ideology before endorsing them, and nothing more.

This extraordinarily narrow criteria has resulted in a flawed process that has proven detrimental to our community many, many times over.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is on a mission from God, says “It just didn’t make sense” that the people who won the last G.J. City Council election actually won

In a new video posted on the website of the “Truth and Liberty Coalition,” Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters alleges that the people who won seats on the Grand Junction City Council in the last election were “falsely elected” and that “people have been put into elected positions that really did not win the election.”

It is unclear exactly when the video was recorded, but estimates are it was within the last three days.

Peters was interviewed by televangelist Andrew Wommack, and appears with Sheronna Bishop, former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Several times in the video Peters indicates that God is on her side and is and directing her efforts to prove Mesa County elections are corrupt. She also says that she was “shocked” that certain people won the last Grand Junction City Council election because “It just didn’t make sense … that these people won.” She added that she was also motivated by an unnamed number of citizens who came to her saying “this is impossible” that the candidates who won in the City Council election had actually won.