Assistant Attorney General Amy Mills and The Land for Maine’s Future board are wrong when it comes to removing religious imagery from Hacker’s Hill in Casco.

The issue at hand appears to be that the Land for Maine’s Future board is requiring removal of a statue of Jesus cradling a child and a makeshift cross, formed when a lightning bolt struck a tree. That is if Loon Echo Land Trust wants $220,000 they would otherwise have coming their way.

Now most folks involved in this appear to want this issue to go away, collect the money and just remove the religious imagery.

However, there are others who cannot understand why the religious images must be removed. They are significant to them.

The state and Land for Maine’s Future should never have made removal of Jesus and the cross an issue.

They use the same false argument that secularists have used for years, that the government can do nothing to support or advance religion.

The funny thing is “support” and “advance” are nowhere to be seen in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

This is understood by faithful constitutional scholars to mean exactly what is says: “establishment of religion.”

Is the Echo Land Trust going to require people worship Jesus? Kneel before the cross to pray? No, of course not.

Let Jesus and the cross remain. It will bless many people. The ones that don’t like it, well don’t go there or just respect in this great country we have freedom of religion and you can choose to ignore Jesus.

Brett P. Davis Sr.


As a Casco resident who lives on Quaker Ridge Road and (full disclosure here) a member of Loon Echo Land Trust’s board of directors, I read with great interest — and sadness — the article about Hacker’s Hill. I have lived in Casco since the ’70s and Hacker’s Hill has long been a favorite place.

I have picked wild strawberries there in June, watched Halley’s Comet on a cold March night and attended a wedding, but most of all simply enjoyed the spectacular view that is breathtaking in every season.

That the Hall family has allowed public access to the Hill over so many years has been a great gift to the community.

The controversy that has arisen over the religious structures is the part that saddens me. The spiritual nature of Hacker’s Hill, treasured by so many, lies not in the religious structures that have been erected there but in the beauty of the expansive views.

While the religious structures are loved by some, the scenic vista is loved by all. We should not lose sight of the fact that the goal of Loon Echo Land Trust is to protect the hill for all time and to keep it open and welcoming for everyone.

If Loon Echo fails to reach this goal, chances are that someone else will eventually buy it and put up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. And that would be a very sad day for all of us.

Connie Cross


Snowe and Collins should rethink Halligan nomination

Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have both voted against cloture on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

By voting to filibuster this nomination, both Sen. Collins and Sen. Snowe have set a dangerous precedent and represented Maine poorly. Additionally, the vote violates agreements they each made with 12 other senators to only filibuster nominations that raise up some issue of controversy.

As a result, future reprisals and obstruction by both Democrats and Republicans are likely. Future presidents will find it even more difficult to find nominees able to thread the needle of political obstruction.

Worse still, Ms. Halligan is an extremely qualified nominee. She has received the highest rating from the American Bar Association and enjoys a long record of bipartisan support in her roles in government.

Both our senators have voted to set the standard for filibuster ever lower and in doing so prolonged vacancies that slow the wheels of justice further.

I urge, and hope that many more Mainers will follow, Sen. Collins and Sen. Snowe to rethink their party line filibuster of this nominee. The judiciary is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government, entrusted with substantial responsibilities in our representative government.

By denying Ms. Halligan an up or down vote they have voted to deny a qualified candidate an opportunity to serve where her substantial talents are most urgently needed.

Dan Heskett


Is good spelling going to end up in the cemetery?

On Portland’s Eastern Promenade a decorative panel that commemorates the sea battle between the “Hood” and the “Enterprise” has misspelled “cemetery.” No surprise: Bill Green, in his segment “The Green Outdoors” once called cemetery “one of the most misspelled words in the English language.

In a recent test at Cape Elizabeth High School, 17 students used “receive” or a form of “receive.” You’re right; all 17 misspelled it. No surprise. Several Saturdays ago an ad for hockey tickets on the front page of the sports section in the Portland Press Herald had misspelled “receive.”

“O tempora; O mores,” (Oh what times! Oh what customs!) wrote Cicero.

Is spell-check nurturing a generation of poor spellers?

Morton G. Soule

Latin teacher, Cape Elizabeth High School


Ending Jazz Breakfast at museum will be a great loss

Tell us it’s not true that the Sunday Jazz Breakfast, which started 15 years ago at the Portland Museum of Art, came to an end on Dec. 11. It is sad that such a program that has brought pleasure to many and has contributed to museum membership should not be renewed for the 2012 season.

On a recent, Sunday the chairs and tables were filled, and the cafeteria was filling the empty stomachs of those who were listening to Tony Boffa and the Bill Byrne Quartet.

This long-standing and popular tradition at the museum offers a blend of traditional jazz, new trends and everything in between. From art to unique movies to the jazz breakfasts, the PMA has met the needs of its diverse membership.

It would be sad to see such a venerable part of the institution lost.

Mayer and Sheri Fistal