We speak on behalf of 14 clergy and lay leaders from Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach who are increasingly dismayed at violent acts in our communities.

There has never been a time when the voices of the faithful are more needed.

Ending gun violence and all other violence at home, on our streets and in our nation is a moral issue. It is time to respond.

All our religious traditions declare human life precious and teach a responsibility to the sacred that protects each of us from harm.

Our faith is nourished by the wisdom and compassion nurtured by relationships in community. We invite our communities to share, learn to engage each other and act together.

Human caring should inspire us to support health and human services that provide real assistance to the vulnerable.

Empathy should encourage us to unclog our legal system without plea deals that fail to mitigate harm done to crime victims.

Common sense should compel recognition that the Second Amendment protects both freedom and the responsibility that must go with it.

We cannot count on others to do this work for us.

In Biddeford, Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center and the mayor’s office are sponsoring community dialogue and action.

In Saco, the First Parish Congregational Church (UCC) is considering becoming a “Gun Free Zone,” an initiative coming from the UCC State Youth Council. The future of all our young people is at stake.

These initiatives are promising, but more must be done. We pledge to continue our own twice-monthly interfaith dialogue. We promise to engage our congregations in this compelling work.

We invite contact from anyone interested, anyone motivated and anyone committed to honest conversation and constructive action. We need and want to hear from you.

We invite your study, sharing and thoughtful consideration. On behalf of our interfaith team, we welcome your prayers.

The Rev. Shirley Bowen

Biddeford

The Rev. David W. Chandler

Saco and Biddeford

Pot will be legal someday, so learn to live with it now

Legalizing marijuana in the state of Maine is a messy discussion.

At the heart of the issue is the question of who is going to profit from this progressive move. I propose that we legalize only marijuana that is cultivated in Maine and we keep that money here.

Maine growers produce a product that is “certified Maine grown” by our government which is sold in Maine dispensaries to Maine residents.

Money spent on this product is funneled directly back to the community and the workers that grow/process/certify/transport/sell the pot. In addition to creating many new jobs, this simplified model would keep money spent on marijuana in the state.

People will continue to buy and use pot whether it’s legal or not. There is an appetite for this flower that will not go away. Period.

We can choose to make money and support our communities by feeding that appetite, or we can continue to waste tax dollars fighting it. The war on illegal pot use in this state is tantamount to fighting hunger by cracking down on food production.

The longer we wait to take advantage of the massive amounts of money that can be made here, the farther behind the curve Maine falls in business.

Pot will be legal eventually. Let’s capitalize on a serious opportunity to support our local economy and do some branding for our great state at the same time.  

Nate Guerin

Portland

Mitigate effects of welfare dependence with jobs 

Welfare dependency is a result of poverty, physical or psychiatric disability, genetics or many other causes. It will always exist.

We can’t prevent its occurrence, but we can mitigate its effects. We shuttered our factories, and sent our manufacturing jobs offshore.

Our paper industry’s in peril, causing secondary woods job losses up north.

We abandoned “mom and pop” stores, and Maine’s small businesses that provide American jobs and products, to shop at Walmart, LL Bean, Sears, Nike and others, who sell goods produced for 21 cents an hour in conditions unlawful in America.

This doesn’t save us money; it accelerates American job losses.

Good legislators would bring our jobs back home, reopen boarded-up factories, restore hundreds of thousands of jobs and increase employment opportunity across America.

This would expand the middle class, grow the tax base and allow us to spread the costs of reduced dependency among a million new taxpayers.

Democratic legislation supported by labor unions will produce good-paying, secure jobs for our families.

Conservative-sponsored “Right To Work (for Less)” jobs will further reduce wage rates while increasing job losses and poverty.

Maine workers should support the next Democratic candidate in the 2014 gubernatorial election, because Republicans never support American workers. Maine deserves a much better future, and there’s not a lot left to lose.

Republicans always complain about their tax dollars supporting those less fortunate. Well, here’s a workable solution.

Bruce Hixon

Bowdoin

WBach is back, and the airwaves are rejoicing

Joy! Joy! Joy! And Portland rejoins those cities that boast a first-class symphony, a superb museum, and again a wonderful classical music radio station.

And Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! To all those who editorialized, made calls, commented upon and mourned the loss of WBach six or so months ago.

And best wishes to the new station owners who have made this revival possible. 

I,  for one among many, will continue to patronize the sponsers who financially support the station through their commercials which are appreciably lower-decible, in good taste — and not airing the loudmouths of some of the audio/visual media.

So welcome back, WBach. 

You’re back among friends and thousands of listeners in Greater Portland.

John Hartley

Scarborough