November 16, 2013

Letters to the editor: ‘Religious freedom’ bill offers special privileges

L.D. 1428 would erode the constitutional separation of church and state, according to the Atheists of Maine.

L.D. 1428, titled “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom,” is a bill to be considered in the coming months. It would allow individuals and organizations to sue the government if they believe their sincerely held religious beliefs have been infringed.

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Maine’s Legislature should reject “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom,” letter writers say, because it would undermine separation of church and state.

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In essence, the bill is a license for people to enjoy special privileges based upon their chosen religion – it would allow them to circumvent laws the rest of us must obey. As Ali Vander Zanden of EqualityMaine has said, “It’s a harmful solution to a nonexistent problem.”

L.D. 1428 goes beyond the protections of the First Amendment. To put it into real terms, a Christian landlord could kick a tenant to the street simply for being gay.

A Muslim business owner could refuse services to a customer for being Catholic.

A Mormon city hall clerk adhering to original church doctrine could refuse to marry a mixed-race couple.

Our great nation and our great state both embrace the principle of religious freedom. Neither set out to embrace special religious rights.

L.D. 1428, sponsored by Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, is not only an unnecessary bill, it’s a downright assault on the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution and the Maine Constitution.

As a part of one of the least religious states in the union, Atheists of Maine stands firmly against any attempt to undermine the separation of church and state that is so essential to our great democracy.

Jocelyn Harrington

Atheists of Maine

Biddeford

Michael Hawkins

Atheists of Maine

Hallowell

and two additional signers

Scarborough team shows great heart in way it wins

The Scarborough High School varsity soccer team won the state title last weekend. The team beat Hampden Academy in overtime to clench the title.

There was not only a phenomenal sporting event taking place that day, but also a truly humbling humanitarian display by the team. It had nothing to do with the sport of soccer.

A young man from Scarborough with disabilities can often be seen at the home games sitting in his wheelchair cheering on the team. He is a classmate at the school who not only loves the sport but also loves the team.

At each home game, the Scarborough soccer players acknowledge him by running to him after making a goal and share their victories with him. This brings such heartfelt joy to all of us in the stands.

The state game held in Bath last weekend was attended by this young man. The Scarborough soccer team along with their coach gifted him with a numbered Scarborough soccer jersey signed by all the players of the team. Then, when winning the state title, these young men ran to the sidelines as they have done so many times in the past and celebrated their victory with him.

A state title is nice. For some, it is so much more. This team proved it.

Ellie Corey

Scarborough

Republicans appear fixated on killing health care law

If you or I attempted to do something more than 40 times, knowing full well in advance that it could not be accomplished, such behavior would be labeled a psychological fixation and our friends would recommend that we see a psychologist.

Given that the Republicans in Congress attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 40 times, I can’t help wondering why no one has recommended that they need psychological help to deal with this fixation.

(Continued on page 2)

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