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.

click image to enlarge

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

Shutterstock.com

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.

William J. Leffler II

Kennebunkport

Collins’ failure to support right to marry disappoints

Kevin Miller writes in the Maine Sunday Telegram (“Washington Notebook: Compromise making welcome return in Senate,” Nov. 10) that Sen. Susan Collins has not “explicitly endorsed” marriage equality.

If there has been some implied or tacit endorsement by Sen. Collins in favor of same-sex marriage, most Mainers are unaware of it.

She neglected to state a position on the issue in advance of (or since) the successful marriage equality initiative in November 2012. Sen. Collins said this is a state issue, but failed to take a forthright position when the issue was voted on in her state. This hardly counts as leadership.

While Collins has voted in favor of some civil rights bills in this realm, her silence on the subject of marriage equality is baffling and disappointing.

Marian McCue

Portland

Laughter is one medicine for Obamacare troubles

Top 10 Obamacare slogans:

10. Before calling, smoke a joint so you can enjoy the wait!

9. Need health care? We’re listening. Oops. Sorry. That’s the National Security Agency!

8. Obamacare – we answer every 500th call!

7. You can keep your own doctor as long as it’s Dr. Kevorkian!

6. If someone answers, you dialed it wrong!

5. Obamacare – ready before its time!

4. It’s like buying your first car. Remember that Edsel?

3. Obamacare – we are a pre-existing condition!

2. If Halloween didn’t scare you, this will!

1. Two words: Please hold!

Don Ray

Portland

Higher FairPoint fee would hurt Maine senior citizens

The recent request by FairPoint Communications for a monthly $2 increase per line for a provider of last resort service fee is really another tax to gouge Maine customers for its landline users (“FairPoint fee-hike request will prompt Maine review of basic phone service,” Nov. 14).

I would hope the Maine Public Utilities Commission does not approve such a new tax upon its people, especially senior citizens in Maine who depend on phone landlines for emergencies, but I am also not confident the PUC truly represents the people of Maine when making its decisions.

Maine ratepayers are already being nickeled and dimed with higher utility bills, and this means many customers on fixed incomes will have to again cut spending elsewhere to help increase the profits for the shareholders of FairPoint Communications.

Richard Bernard

Portland

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)