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Nov. 21 Letters to the Editor


Separating states, God

Bishop Malone (“In Maine, bishop pans gay marriage,” BDN, Nov. 17) is within his rights to tell us what God wants regarding who should be allowed to marry. But I think he must have misunderstood. If it is true that God ordained in marriage “an essential component, namely the ability and obligation to procreate,” then gays should be allowed to marry as they quite often do procreate. Those for whom the sacrament of marriage should be withheld are women past menopause and men who are not fertile.

Many gay couples seek the protection marriage provides in order that their rights as parents will be recognized. They wish to marry in order to procreate.

Perhaps what God said, and Bishop Malone misunderstood, is that states ought not to deliver what only God can, namely a sacrament, but to stick to what states are in business for, protecting rights.

Civil unions to protect property rights should be available without discrimination. Couples wanting God’s blessing as well should find a church willing to confer it.

Karen Saum



Marriage a contract

The Catholic Diocese of Portland reportedly opposes same-sex marriages because they cannot produce children and asserts that procreation is “a piece of the puzzle.”

Does this mean that a widow with tied tubes and the naturally barren-sterile should be banned from marrying? Do they want a clause that if a couple doesn’t have a child within three years, their marriage is annulled? That reminds me of the descriptions of communism I was given as a child. Saying a religion can dictate who can enter into a contract reminds me of the Church of England’s restrictions which the early settlers fled.

Marriage is a contract between the couple and the government. It doesn’t contain a religious component or mandate, though people can choose to have a religious ceremony.

If a denomination doesn’t support same-sex marriages, then it shouldn’t perform them. Meanwhile, if same-sex couples want to enter into a legal contract, they should have the right to do so. Not allowing this violates their fundamental rights.

I’m the daughter of a Methodist minister, a Christian, married for more than 30 years, mother of four, and grandmother of six. I am neither anti-Christian nor anti-family. Homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals have become our era’s Samaritans.

When did bigotry, hatred and discrimination become a family value? Jesus said to love everyone, without adding an “unless …”

Let us legalize same-sex marriage laws, thereby upholding the Constitution and not confusing church and state roles.

Kara Anne Schreiber



Salmon economics

Even the suggestion of closing the salmon hatchery at Grand Lake Stream shows the Baldacci administration’s continuing refusal to listen to the advice of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Instead, the governor seems to listen to the Augusta bean counters.

Baldacci’s blatant disregard for the sportsmen of Maine borders on bizarre. We support 90 percent of the DIF&W budget with our license fees. So now he’s going to take away a crown jewel of Maine angling?

The hatchery at Grand Lake Stream isn’t just a “fish factory.” It is a resource that has evolved over a century, perpetuating a genetic strain of landlocked salmon that is the foundation of the Washington County salmon fisheries. To “gut” this operation is financial suicide for the area, the equivalent of cutting off the head and ex-pecting the body to live.

What does the governor think Washington County guides will do when the salmon fishery collapses? Work at a mill? And what about the camp owners and merchants whose livelihood depends on visitors who come to the area to fish for salmon? That hatchery supports the history, tradition and lifestyle of the area. In Grand Lake Stream, landlocked salmon fishing is the local industry.

Someone should take [Baldacci] for a ride on Big Lake in a Grand Laker canoe and explain Maine history 101. Then explain the economic basics of rural Maine: Tourism, hunting and landlocked salmon fishing.

Jack Gagnon



Kevin Wood’s isolation

My heart goes out to those involved with the Karen Wood tragedy. The Wood and Rogerson families have undoubtedly experienced much turmoil from the events that took place 20 years ago. I was deeply touched by this story, but I was particularly struck when Kevin Wood mentioned that the reactions he got from Maine natives after his wife’s death had made him ill at ease.

In my own experience of moving to northern Maine several years ago with my family from New Hampshire, I also felt that vibe from some of my new peers, that there was a closeness amongst these people, more so than I have ever felt in any of my other homes.

I do not necessarily feel that this is a bad thing to have here in Maine. Unity is an empowering thing for a community to possess, but I do sympathize with those who have felt like outsiders. The fact that it took a second jury to decide that Rogerson was not guilty of manslaughter goes to show that Maine people felt there was no need for justice to be served to possibly help Kevin Wood cope with the loss of his wife. Mr. Wood felt a sense of isolation during this tragic time in his life, when he should have been shown support from community members.

Christina Berube



Unitarian-Universalists not Christian

I am writing to discuss the tendency in our culture to lump all religious denominations into one big Christian melting pot when discussing differences on social issues (“Clergy back same-sex marriage,” BDN, Nov. 14). When Unitarian-Universalist ministers speak out on an issue, they certainly have the right to do so, but they should not be classified as a Christian denomination because their beliefs are rooted in presuppositions that are at dramatic odds with actual Christianity. The reason that Christianity has always claimed the cross as its symbol is because the blood atonement offered there by Christ is central to the faith. Christians believe and have always believed that His vicarious sacrifice is the only way by which men can escape the wrath of God.

Whether or not one agrees with this belief is not the issue; the issue is that Christianity is historically and biblically defined by this central doctrine of the faith and any group that rejects the atonement rejects Christianity itself.

Unitarian-Universalists have always dismissed the atonement because they have never seen a need for it. To the Unitarian-Universalist, God is too laissez faire to judge anyone, and mankind is not bad enough to be judged in any case. They believe the idea of blood atonement belongs on the same unenlightened ash heap as outdated doctrines such as judgment and hell.

Because of this I have to gently protest their being presented as spokespersons for a faith to which history says they (and their liberal allies) have never adhered.

Vince Hartford


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