We are writing to thank you for your front-page coverage on Sept. 11 of the Muslim celebration of Eid-al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan. No apology was necessary!

We are a group of men and women who have been meeting for a number of years to read and discuss important Catholic literature. Both individually and as a group, we were delighted to read your comprehensive article and share the warmth and joy of those who were celebrating their special religious holiday.

We felt that, as in past years, by the time Sept. 11 arrived, your readers had been adequately reminded of the approaching date and its worldwide historical significance, had seen numerous reruns of the news footage, and had internally relived its painful memories.

So we felt that your article provided a refreshingly uplifting message on an otherwise somber day. And without directly saying so, the article quietly laid to rest the agitation and concerns created by the Terry Jones furor. Thank you for that!

Our group felt that your article also conveyed a strong sense of community, knowing that so many Muslims — more than 3,000 in the greater Portland area alone — are being accepted and assimilated into the life and times of Maine. We were heartened to see the color photographs of the Muslim men, women and children sharing their excitement and happiness of their celebrations with us, your Maine readers.

We hope that your paper will continue to provide your readers with the knowledge and information we need to embrace and welcome into our communities all those who celebrate a faith — any faith that might differ from ours — on whatever day of the year!

Cindy McCormack and Ruth Covell

and five other members of The Thomas Merton Group at St. Anne’s Catholic Church


A little girl in a hijab in the West End jubilantly bounced up and down. “Hi, hi, hi.” She wanted to greet her neighbor, a pastor who lived on her street. Her enthusiasm would not be deterred by a Florida pastor’s threat to burn her sacred text. She was living her faith by greeting her neighbor.

The same week, freshmen at Portland High School’s were welcomed with slide showing of a kaleidoscope of students, including smiling graduates in head scarves.

The message: In Portland we don’t just talk about diversity. We live it and are enriched by it. As members of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, we uphold the diversity of all of our faiths. We recognize the differences that make our schools strong and celebrate the similarities that a little girl can plainly see. As interfaith leaders in Maine, we seek to educate and publicly advocate for the civil and human rights of all, including the very people who make Portland a vibrant place to live and work.

The Rev. Jones, who eventually backed off his threat, failed to grasp that the radical choice to live the Christian faith is to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is nothing that could combust our post-9/11 world more than the radical commitment to see others in the image of God, the God of all children of Abraham.

In remembering the ninth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, no matter what our faith, we should be so emblazoned to take radical act to love another — like the little girl in the hijab jubilantly bouncing up and down.

The Rev. Elsa A. Peters

First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

South Portland

The Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh

Cathedral of St. Luke


Deregulation was indeed cause of high energy costs

Mr. Jerry Tudan’s Another View on Sept. 20 (“Columnist wrong on reasons for high energy costs”) shows he fundamentally doesn’t understand what deregulation was all about.

Mr. Tom Walsh in a prior opinion piece was correct in his assessment that deregulation is the reason behind Maine’s higher energy costs.

With deregulation, the price of electricity is set by the highest cost energy produced to satisfy the load in each hour of the day. Mr. Tudan is correct that natural gas has been the fuel of choice in New England for the past decade, and that sets the price.

If Maine Yankee were still operating, it would be paid for its output at the natural gas rate, not based upon its cost, greatly enhancing its revenue above what it was before deregulation. Customers wouldn’t enjoy the lower production cost of CMP’s former nuclear and hydro generation, but would be paying the market price for that generation.

To put this very complicated subject as simply as possible, let’s look at the change in the customer cost for power from CMP’s former hydro facilities. Before deregulation, CMP was allowed to collect its operating costs and about a 10 percent to 11 percent return on net investment.

Since most of the hydro facilities were built decades ago, depreciation had eroded the net investment to almost nothing. Customers were paying less than half a cent per kilowatt hour for the output. Since deregulation forced the sale of those facilities, Florida Power now needs to recoup its investment and make a profit.

It does that easily by receiving the natural gas rate for the hydro output, between 4 cents and 8 cents depending on the state of the economy.

Unless something is done to change the deregulated marketplace, wind power will not lower Maine’s energy costs. The rate will still be set by whatever source is the most expensive during the hour of generation.

Dennis R. Brown


Save the word ‘heroes’ for soldiers who fit it

All veterans are not heroes. Very few are. We don’t honor the few real heroes by pretending that all vets are heroes. Most military jobs are in support roles, such as computer tech, cook, supply clerk, etc. It takes about 10 support people for each combat infantry soldier and many more to support a “dustoff.” a medevac helicopter crew’s taking live fire rescuing a wounded infantry soldier.

Real heroes are in short supply. That’s why we used to honor heroes. Even the infantry soldier in the thick of battle is doing his job, the job he was trained to do. Risking his life does not make him a hero. He is doing the job he is getting paid for. This does not make them heroes.

Do not misunderstand me. I’m proud of our policemen, firemen and all our soldiers. They have my profound respect; a career which places one in harm’s way is admirable.

Having fought in Vietnam, I know real heroes who risked their lives above and beyond the call of duty, most coming home quietly or in a coffin, as today’s soldiers come home with body parts missing or in a coffin. We reserve a special place for them in our hearts, our “Valhalla.”

We are proud of all our veterans, but honor our heroes. Do not devalue or cheapen the hallowed word, “hero.”

Peter Hassapelis

Sebago Lake


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