It’s time for Maine to live up to its motto, “I direct.” We can lead our state and country out of the counterproductive left-right paradigm.

Many people have pledged allegiance to the “left” camp or the “right” camp while failing to see that our great country was disappearing right before their eyes. Americans have become less prosperous, less free, less admired and less informed about the importance of having a constitutional republic rather than a pure democracy.

I admire Waterville Democrats for leading the way out of the left-right paradigm and supporting a great leader in Republican Mayor Paul LePage. He has rewarded them by increasing Waterville’s fund balance tenfold and increasing the credit rating of that fine city in the midst of an extended economic downturn.

Can he have that same success statewide? Yes. Consider the way he achieved an overwhelming statewide primary victory with a shoestring budget and a 100 percent volunteer workforce. To say that he knows how to make a little money go a long way is an understatement.

Paul LePage worked hard to overcome poverty and inspires others to do the same. He is grateful for the help he received along the way and will help others in need without setting them on a path to generational poverty and welfare dependency.

The so-called economic recovery is a cover-up financed by phantom money printed out of nothing, backed up by nothing and producing practically nothing.

When the census jobs go away and the stimulus money dries up, there will be no more denying America’s tenuous financial position. Maine can succeed in the midst of it all and come out ahead with a strong leader in Augusta.

Who do you think that should be?

Jarrod LeBlanc
Madison

 

I would just like to take some time out after voting on the bond issues to say how disappointed I am in my fellow voters, borrowing millions and millions when we are already deep in the hole.

This is simple finance, people. We don’t have enough already, so let’s borrow more? Nice work.

Dave Green
Portland

 

After noting Piscataquis County’s rejection of the tax reform law and rejection of all the bond issues, one may conclude the residents there are the best informed and most responsible voters in the state of Maine.

Kurt Christiansen
Windham

 

Congratulations to Betty Crane. Her tenacity and the efforts of the many voters of Cape Elizabeth are surely appreciated by visitors to Fort Williams Park.

She and the voters deserve our thanks for helping to keep this beautiful park free and open to all people.

Petros Panagakos
Portland

 

I’m writing to say “thank you” to all who voted for Paul LePage in the Republican primary for governor. You had the courage and conviction to vote for a candidate outside the box.

He is a special person with ideas, solutions and the ability to govern our state in a sane manner, living within our means and respecting all our citizens. His record in business and as mayor of Waterville speak for themselves.

the way, I must admit that I didn’t vote for Paul, but a candidate inside the box. I’ve seen the light!

L. Dewey Chase
Chamberlain

 

Catholic issues create both sadness and pride 

I read with sadness the article “After losing appeals, members of closed churches look to pope.” It talked about parishioners in Massachusetts who continue to protest the closing of their churches. Let me say up front that I was born a Roman Catholic, have lived my life as a Roman Catholic and hope to die in the same condition, so I do have a perspective that may not be shared by others.

Church leaders in Massachusetts have reportedly rationalized the closing of the churches as being a result of “falling attendance, a priest shortage and financial problems.” That makes sense, but the following sentence really made my blood boil: “The archdiocese has denied the closings were a direct result of the sex abuse scandal.”

My first thought was, “What planet do these church leaders inhabit?” Are they in such denial that they cannot or will not accept that their dealing (or not dealing) with the pedophile scandal caused many, many churchgoers to become disgusted with the leadership of the church and stop attending?

My beloved church cannot put this horrendous moment in our history behind us until the leaders face the issue squarely and humbly, with no denials or evasions, and ask for the victims’ and God’s forgiveness.

Jacqueline P. Kelly
Old Orchard Beach

 

I picked up your paper in a waiting room and found more articles against the Catholic Church. Most abuse cases occurred many years ago, mostly between homosexual priests and teenage boys. The church will no longer knowingly ordain homosexual men.

Even though the psychiatric community does not see being gay as a treatable aberration, there are Catholic groups offering help in reorientation.

Surely, there are grateful mothers out there who hold their babies close and thank the Catholic volunteers who pray outside abortion clinics, hoping the girls going in will choose life.

Last fall, after many request to reunite with the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI set up an accommodating procedure to bring willing Anglicans back into the church for the first time since their foundation at the time of Henry VIII and his separation over the Catholic Church’s refusal to dissolve his marriage.

So far, many Anglican communities have voted to join in Australia and the United States, and it is expected there will be those in Canada wishing to come in.

They are tired of homosexual bishops and women priests. They will be under the pope and the magisterium but allowed to keep some of the traditions they established over the past 400 years.

For me, who converted to Catholicism at age 14 — 60 years ago — the church offers a close and personal proximity to Jesus Christ found nowhere else. It makes my life enjoyable and peaceful and full of hope and love.

Nancy E. Hanel
Bremen

 

William Slavick’s Maine Voices column June 9 would never see the light of day in a Catholic publication, unless, possibly, one that was lay-owned, of which there are few. Catholics who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid of the hierarchy are silenced. In former times, they’d be subject to the stake.

If it weren’t for the secular press reporting of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, how many more vulnerable young persons today would be victims of priest predators? Yet the Roman Church continues to attack a free, secular press as the problem. It fails to see the beam in its own eye! The secular press has been a blessing to victims saved.

Catholics who dissent have no public option in Catholic venues. Yet Catholics are roiling in dissent. Check the polls where Catholics are out of sync with the hierarchy’s narrow interpretation of moral issues.

Increasingly, the Roman Church is becoming more of a cult where open-ended dialogue is relentlessly suppressed and individuals who dare are targeted. It refuses to “read the signs of the times.” It becomes more focused on the pope than on Jesus.

Ironically, it was Jesus’ dissent from the Jewish religious hierarchy’s interpretation of Judaism that made him a marked man, ultimately leading to his execution by the Romans.

I was ordained a priest at the end of the Second Vatican Council. It was a season of great hope that the institution would return to the spirit of the gospel. Since then, there has been a concerted hierarchical effort to regress to authoritarian conformity.

The words of Jesus to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block,” lamentably are still applicable.

The Rev. Emmett Coyne
Exeter, N.H.

 

Supporting peace efforts both here and abroad 

Even those of us who haven’t directly experienced war know something of what it looks like, images of burned- out homes, crying children, rubble and destruction — but who knows what peace looks like? How do you describe it other than in the negative as a lack of war?

I couldn’t, until I attended the Telling Room’s launch party for their new anthology by young writers called “Can I Call You Cheesecake?” (“Food for Thought,” by Meredith Goad, May 12).

At this community event in Portland’s beautifully renovated library, I saw peace for the first time. I saw a diverse community at leisure to come together in the name of art, poetry, storytelling, song and playfulness.

I saw Portland High School students from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and others from Greater Portland stand together on stage to read their work, not just safe from the war, but celebrated and accepted in the most peaceful way possible, through active listening to and witnessing their inner lives, personal struggles and stories.

Peace is more than the absence of war; it is reaching out from oneself to connect with others as these young writers did — and it is the receiving of these offerings through deep listening.

Thank you, Telling Room, for bringing peace — and a good time — to Portland!

Jennifer Reck
Telling Room volunteer
Cape Elizabeth

 

Ever since the tragic 9/11 attack, terrorism has become a heated topic. After reading Greg Mortenson’s and David Oliver Relin’s book about school-building in Pakistan, “Three Cups of Tea,” I found myself researching terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I agree that terrorism originates from the lack of education, and a proper education is what the poor children in Pakistan and Afghanistan need.

As the book suggests, Muslim fundamentalists are building extremist schools to brainwash the younger generation and to get them ready to be terrorists in the Taliban army.

If the children had the opportunity to receive a proper education, they would be more informed about the world around them. Then they would have the necessary confidence to seek truth and solutions.

Through research, I discover that the U.S. government has long recognized the lack of a proper education as the root cause of the instability in the region. However, even with this realization, the U.S. government is spending in total more than $1 trillion on the war effort and only $2.3 billion on its humanitarian effort, a mere 0.2 percent of the war money.

Thus, rather than investing in education, the root cause of terrorism, the U.S. government puts much money into fierce bombing to fight the war on terror. That’s why terrorists are still a huge threat: because bombing only spreads more horror and hatred, creating new enemies instead of alleviating terrorism.

If the U.S. government was willing to spend more money on setting up schools with scientific curriculums in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the extremist schools would then run out of students and terrorism would see its own end.

Since the U.S. government has both the responsibility and the ability to change the situation in the Middle East for the better, it should set out to do the right thing now by giving these children a proper education.

Hailun Ni
Bath