April 22, 2013

Letters to the editor: Ending violence takes relationships

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.

click image to enlarge

Guns and ammunition turned in to the Falmouth police are displayed. Letter writers say such acts can reduce violence.

The Associated Press

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.  

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