Off Limits

Our state legislators must be so jealous. First the Colorado Board of Education decides to flaunt the Constitution by demanding that the slogan "In God We Trust" be posted in public schools. (Hint to the Colorado Board of Education: Posting "In Math We Trust" might be more appropriate.) Then a local group of Catholic bishops manages to have St. Francis of Assisi declared the patron saint of Colorado.

Calling him "a man whose love for creation, dedication to peace, and generosity toward others was rooted deeply in his own love for Jesus Christ and the Church," the bishops announced that "from this day forward, we invite all Christians in Colorado to seek the intercession of St. Francis in prayer."

Of course, choosing a state saint isn't as simple as choosing a state bird (lark bunting), a state folk dance (square dance) or a state insect (Colorado hairstreak butterfly). It required the blessing of Pope John Paul II. Nevertheless, lawmakers such as Republican senator John Andrews, who tried to require Colorado's public schools to post the Ten Commandments on their walls, must be beside themselves with envy.

Not to worry. St. Francis is also the patron saint of ecologists, merchants and animals, so perhaps the legislature could come up with someone secular to anoint as co-saint. But let's skip the ecologists -- the legislature would rather crucify them -- and move on to merchants. The clear choice here is Phil Anschutz, Colorado's reclusive billionaire whose wheelings and dealings have involved railroads, phone companies, movie theater chains and just about everything else. If Saint Phil doesn't know commerce, no one does.

For animals, we have a tie. The first candidate is -- surprise! -- another Anschutz. This time, it's Phil's sister Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, who is on the board of the Morris Animal Foundation in Englewood, a nonprofit that has raised $19 million for animal health studies. Since it's not fair to have two candidates from the same family, though, we recommend Jake Jabs, the king of Colorado furniture, because of his predilection for using wild animals, especially big cats, in his American Furniture Warehouse TV commercials. And his timing couldn't be better: Jabs is on a book tour (well, maybe not an actual tour) promoting his new autobiography, "An American Tiger." See him read and sign copies of his book at the Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek on Friday. Seriously.

From this day forward, we invite all Coloradans to seek the intercession of Jake Jabs in prayer.

Speaking of holy invocations, let us pray that United Airlines figures out how to run its business again soon. Until then, try entering Westword's What United Did to My Summer Vacation contest, which ends this week. Go to for full details.


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