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August 29 Letters to the Editor

Ecumenical loss

As a Congregational minister, for over 50 years I have participated in Catholic-Protestant dialogue. I was the second minister in the U.S. to participate jointly in a Catholic-Protestant wedding in a Catholic church (August 1964) while minister of North Olmsted Congregational, site of the first Catholic-Protestant ecumenical service in the Cleveland area (1964). When the nuns and Father Korab were ushered to their places of honor, the overflowing congregation rose; there was hardly a dry eye.

While minister at North Olmsted I sat at the altar with the Catholic bishop during the dedication of St. Brendan Catholic Church. Their priests participated in my 1968 installation of Patchogue, N.Y. Father Muhs was priest at St. Francis Church, Patchogue. I preached there often; every Christmas Eve for decades I participated in their 8:15 Mass. Dying, Father Muhs told me, “We have done things they will never do again.”

I retired to Bangor where I met Father Joel Cyr; I’ve preached in all three of his churches. Once, the ladies from St. Theresa asked me, “Why don’t you join us?” I thanked them, but I am part of my own tradition, even though I am indebted to Father Joel Cyr for his friendship; in essence he has become our minister.

Is the ecumenical movement dying? The answer is yes: “We have done things they will never do again.” The churches no longer encourage Catholic-Protestant dialogue; much of Vatican II’s vision has disappeared.

Rev. Dr. Henry Wyman



Misdirected anger

There has been some yelling going on at congressional town hall meetings this past month because, the yellers say, their representatives haven’t been listening to them. It seems to me that our representatives are finally listening and that perhaps the yellers have directed their anger at the wrong people.

Perhaps they should be yelling at the neighboring family who has sent e-mails and written letters to their representatives begging for someone to listen as they go through bankruptcy because they can’t pay the bills from a medical emergency. Or perhaps they should yell at the small-business man in town who has written letters and made phone calls to Washington because he deplores the fact that he simply can’t afford to insure the people who work for him. Or perhaps they should yell at their doctors and nurses who have attended rallies, made phone calls and written letters to the congressional delegation because they see the toll that an inequitable, overpriced, and unresponsive for-profit health care system has on their practice and on their patients.

Let’s hope democracy is alive and well in this country, that the majority’s voice is heard, and Americans get the health insurance reform that they are asking for.

Cindy Todd



Congress, please listen

Where are Maine’s senators and representatives? They should come out of hiding and hold some town meetings here in this state. We, your constituents, deserve to exercise our right to speak out and be heard.

We are not mobs, Nazis, dummies, or hate mongers or organized groups as the media and some lawmakers call us. We are ordinary United States citizens and as the polls show we are the majority. We are literate and many of us have read enough of the cap and trade and health bills to understand what they contain, and none of it is good for America.

We are frustrated and angry that our Congress is spending outrageously, and trying to shove down our throats more government controls over our private lives. We love our independence, and are not socialists. So don’t try to misinform us as the president is doing over and over.

If you haven’t read the bill, go to the Library of Congress, Thomas section and brush up. Then hold some town meetings. We the people have some things you should hear. If you do hold town meetings, don’t speak, really listen.

Howard Cutler



Marriage fables

Lawrence E. Merrill’s legal arguments against gay marriage (“Gay marriage promotes societal risks,” BDN, Aug. 24) make no more sense than those based on religion. He gives much thought to the changing racial and sexual equality over the last two centuries, but a lawyer ought to see value in a homosexual couple’s equal right to a spouse’s health insurance and a spouse’s end-of-life decisions.

His most outrageous claim, familiar from religion-based arguments, is that equality carries no guarantee that “those already married can’t embrace polygamy, pedophiles can’t marry young children, or animal lovers can’t marry their sheep.” Polygamy, though still legal in some countries, has been outlawed in the United States for over a century. Pedophilia and bestiality are not about marriage but about power over a weaker victim. Pedophiliacs often use their own children, even exposing them on the Internet.

Like religious opponents, he drags out the fable that marriage has for thousands of years existed to provide a stable home for raising children.

True in some cases, but too many children have been abused, neglected, in wealthy families raised by servants, in poor families forced to work long hours, and then, regardless of the child’s own inclinations, bartered off to the highest bidder in the marriage market. Babies arrive with no instructions included, and parenting must be learned on the job. All couples need that equal legal aforementioned umbrella while they try to figure out how to raise their children in an atmosphere of unconditional love.

Ann R. Fogg



Distracted legislators

Maine’s distracted driving law will take effect on Sept. 12. Its aim is to fine the person who commits a driving infraction as a result of being “distracted” while using a cell phone, GPS, texting, etc. This law seems to be putting the cart before the horse and will not ease the pain of those who have lost loved ones because of a driver’s negligence.

If a person is four times more likely to be involved in an accident when using a cell phone and if drivers are three times more at risk of a crash when using a hand-held device, how will this law prevent injury and death? It will punish the offender after the fact.

The Legislature’s inability to define the electronic device of the day is no excuse for passing this substandard law. We need to be proactive and incorporate a ban as well as a distraction clause to this law.

Pat Martin


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