Cemetery desecration truly horrible

”Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:20)

In the extermination of 6 million Jews in Europe in the last century, there were villains. In the popular mind, we conjure up the image of a Nazi soldier with polished boots, a rifle, a snarling German shepherd, a swastika-emblazoned uniform. When Christians remember the Holocaust, we can engage in denial as many (including Lutherans) have, claiming that we did nothing to further it, that we were powerless to stop it, and that the Nazis were the only villains.

When we Christians are honest with ourselves, however, we know that our silence was perfect complicity. It is simply implausible that as entire neighborhoods of Jews disappeared, their absence was not noticed. It is impossible to believe that if millions of Christians rose up to end the genocide, it could still have happened. By Christian silence, the Holocaust became our own crime against humanity.

In recent days, a terrible desecration of sacred Jewish burial plots and monuments at Mt. Carmel Cemetery took place. Far beyond mischievous vandalism, Nazi symbols became an ugly reminder of the horrors of the past, as well as the hate that is still woven into the fabric of today.

”To love God with your whole heart, with all your understanding, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)

The Christian cannot be silent in the face of such horrible desecration, defamation and hate. If we are silent, we are accomplices. If we say we love God, we cannot ignore our neighbor. We, the pastor and people of St. Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portland, hold the Jewish community in prayerful support and love.

We pledge to speak against hate. We will continue to educate our young people to love others in celebration of diversity. If there is any way in which our small but dedicated congregation can assist, we are at the disposal of our Jewish sisters and brothers. We will not be silent.

Rev. Dr. William M. Barter

and the Lutheran Church of St. Ansgar



I was shocked and outraged to read that the Jewish cemetery of Mount Carmel was desecrated with swastikas.

Another article, the same week, was about several young people who pushed two homeless men off a pier into the harbor. In the Portland Daily Sun (Feb. 5), I read that a gang of youths had beaten a Sudanese refugee into a coma.

These types of hate crimes can never be tolerated and should be addressed with the fullest force of the law. I do wonder, however, if these were isolated incidents or the desperate lashing out of aimless young people facing a bleak future in the current economy.

Dana Robbins



Portland can’t afford to host aircraft carrier in its harbor

 Before the City Council approves a plan to locate the USS John F. Kennedy in Portland Harbor, I hope they have seen a business plan from the proposing group outlining costs (which are legion), the sources of a revenue stream and its projected reliability extending to at least 20 years.

It should also disclose who will cover any income shortfall in the budget expectations. I hope, not the city of Portland or the people of Cumberland County, given the present and future status of the city, state and federal deficits.

That grand old lady could be in our harbor for at least 100 years (or shorter) and could be an anchor (pun intended) on our city.

If and when the city decides it will no longer tolerate its presence, who will pay all the expenses it will take to tow it out to sea and sink it (a common practice of the Navy to get rid of inventory)? The Navy states these sunken ships make splendid reefs for fisheries, but then who can guarantee the fisheries will be viable?

Having the JFK in our harbor sounds like an idealistic idea for a source of income, yet for the reasons stated it just doesn’t sound like good economic sense.

If the City Council seriously considers this proposal, I would hope that it’s put out to referendum. The public deserves the opportunity to express its position on a decision that will have a long-term impact on the city and state. That ship is already old!

Arthur J. VanDerburgh



I am totally against bringing that hunk of war metal to our beautiful waterfront. No one has ever mentioned how many millions it will take once the fundraising has stopped. What do we do with it then?

We’ll have a huge hunk of ugly metal sitting in our harbor again! Remember the ugly blue Bath Iron Works drydock ship thing that we couldn’t wait to get rid of?

We do not need this. All you fundraisers out there, give your money to something worthwhile, for food for all the soup kitchens, etc.

Maine ranks fifth in the nation with its citizens needing help with food. We should be ashamed to spend all those millions on cold steel. Wouldn’t hot meals be better?

James Griffin



France reprocesses N-waste, so why can’t United States?

Almost 40 years ago, France saw the need to reduce her dependency on crude oil used to produce electric power. The result is that nearly 80 percent of her electrical power is produced using nuclear reactors to generate steam for their steam turbine power plants, versus 20 percent in the United States.

Nuclear reactors release no emissions of any type (greenhouse gases, ash, etc.), but over time reactors create nuclear waste. France saw the need to reprocess waste, and developed a reliable process (over 30 years without incident) that reclaims 95 percent of its waste, which is then reused.

This information was confirmed by the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, D.C.

In the United States it is against the law to process nuclear waste. As a result, there are nearly 60,000 metric tons of nuclear waste (and growing almost daily) stored at the nuclear power facilities around the country.

The Nuclear Energy Institute agreed that the situation is not a technical problem. It is a political problem.

Having 3,000 tons rather than 60,000 tons of nuclear waste to store (after processing) would be a giant step in the right direction, as would having an extra 57,000 tons of nuclear fuel available.

Phil Haskell




A photo caption on Page A8 in Friday’s paper incorrectly said that the Sappi Cumberland Mills Dam was due to be removed in 2011. That removal was discussed in 2007 but was later rescinded.