A controversial bill passed by the Arizona state legislature generated nationwide protests and boycott threats. A recently defeated Maine bill, L.D. 1428, was essentially equivalent.

Both bills would have allowed discrimination against any group and even refusal of medical care, simply based on a religious objection.

A recent national news program revealed that these bills and similar ones introduced in other states are an organized attempt by conservative religious groups to continue to discriminate against certain persons, based upon their sexual orientation or differing religious beliefs.

That program also featured an interview with an Episcopal bishop who opposed the nearly identical bill introduced in his state on the basis that it was not consistent with his Christian values.

Even Arizona’s conservative governor vetoed that state’s religious freedom bill. What is disturbing is that Maine’s L.D. 1428 was defeated on essentially a party-line vote, with every Republican senator and all but three Republican representatives in the Maine Legislature voting for this bill.

Has the poison of extremism spread to the Republican Party of Maine? Is the long Maine tradition of reasonable moderate Republicanism gasping for breath?

A number of years ago, a group of Protestant scholars analyzed the New Testament, historically and textually. They concluded that of all the sayings attributed to Jesus, only two were actually his. One was the “Do unto others,” i.e., “The Golden Rule”; the other, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”

Perhaps the deep-pocketed, prejudiced promoters of these bills need to do some Bible study.

Mary Adams

Scarborough