On March 26, the erstwhile voice of Maine’s religious right — Michael Heath — announced his return to “public life” with a press release. It started bluntly with two words: “He’s back.”

Here’s our question: “For what?”

Last week, Heath made a weird 24-hour foray into the governor’s race. He threw his campaign into high gear, filing official paperwork with the state’s Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to run as an independent, privately funded candidate. That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Heath popped his political clutch and slammed into reverse, announcing — on second thought — that gathering all those signatures to qualify for the ballot was a tremendous amount of work and “beyond my capacity at this point in life.”

Heath has started a new organization, the American Family Association of Maine, a chapter of the Mississippi-based American Family Association. In announcing its formation, Health targeted an old foe: Maine’s equal rights laws and their supporters.

This leads into our question. Heath is sounding the same alarm now, as he has for years, despite a much different landscape in Maine for his message.


Last November, voters overturned legislation approving same-sex marriage, yet Heath — for the duration of that divisive campaign — was nowhere to be found. He reportedly was not even in the country, called away to missionary work in Africa.

The banner of his convictions and opinions was carried by others, who by their victory, proved themselves more moderate and persuasive than Heath had ever been. It’s not a stretch to consider Heath’s extended absence was because his side considered him more of a liability than an aid.

And by disappearing so completely last year, Heath tacitly acknowledged this fact. Now, what does he hope to accomplish in his return — “He’s back” — when it seems clear that those who agree with his morals don’t agree with his message?

The fanfare of his press release and subsequent gubernatorial escapade indicates Heath hasn’t yet realized one fact: Those who share his beliefs do better without him. His actions aren’t those of a political heavyweight, but of a passing curiosity.

Heath gets noticed, not so much for his substance, but for what he might say next. And while that’s interesting — and may stir some controversy on occasion — it doesn’t accomplish anything.

So, the question — for what? Is Heath doing all this to garner some attention, or change minds? Unless he can prove otherwise, it’s only the former.

Those doing the latter likely don’t need — or want — his help.


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