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Nov. 13 Letters to the Editor

Monetary priorities

Given the tremendous financial support poured into the “Vote Yes on 1” campaign by the Portland diocese, is there a reason why the Catholic Church should enjoy continued tax-exempt status?

From the Bangor Daily News: “The diocese poured more than $550,000 into the campaign to repeal the law, including more than $150,000 from its general treasury after Oct. 1. The Portland diocese also collected more than $200,000 for Stand for Marriage Maine from bishops and dioceses outside of Maine, according to financial reports filed with the Maine Secretary of State’s Office on Oct. 23.”

That $900,000 would go a long way to helping the homeless and hungry in the diocese this winter.

Les Myers

Old Town


A look in the mirror

Paul Hollander (“Communism’s atrocities lost under Berlin Wall rubble,” BDN OpEd, Nov. 9) tells of Soviet crimes against its own people and those who lived in Eastern Europe after liberation from Nazi occupation. Mr. Hollander does not mention other perhaps pertinent facts, such as: Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were the most devastated in the war, but received no Marshall Plan aid. The U.S. poured enough money into one-half of one city (West Berlin) to give it one of the world’s largest economies with a bright array of goods that the U.S. said East Germans could purchase, exchanging their virtually worthless marks at face value.

The Soviet Union built the wall to prevent this economic sabotage.

I always wonder whether the brave people who escaped East Germany to Western countries such as the U.S. would have been willing to exchange Soviet oppression for, say, living in Chile after the CIA coup, in Guatemala after the CIA coup, Iran after the CIA coup, Argentina in the Age of the Condor, in Indonesia after the CIA coup, in Haiti or the Dominican Republic or Grenada or Panama when the U.S. invaded.

We are citizens of a democracy that has been at war for more than eight years with a country we illegally invaded and where we are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Perhaps it would be seemly of us to look to the beam in our own eye.

Karen Saum



Same-sex, unequal

The BDN in its postelection editorial and about 47 percent of the voters of Maine persist in claiming that the gay marriage bill would create marriage equality. About 53 percent of the voters of Maine realized that gay marriage had nothing to do with equality; it was an attempt by a vocal minority to acquire rights which it had no intention of sharing equally.

Under existing Maine law, a man can’t marry another man. Neither can he marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister, etc.

The gay marriage law would have legitimized one category of marriage. It would have left the other 15 prohibitions untouched. One out of 16 falls far short of equality.

If we truly want “marriage equality,” the law should be changed to something like: “Any person or thing can marry any other person or thing.” Then incest, polygamy and marriage to children and animals would all be legitimized, along with gay marriage.

The 1997 Maine legislature decreed: “The union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage is of inestimable value to society.” Fifty-three percent of Maine voters agreed.

Lawrence E. Merrill



On safe biking, walking

The BDN’s Nov. 9 editorial (“Bangor-Ellsworth Traffic”) correctly points out many benefits of the current Route 1A project, after the not so pleasant construction is completed in 2011.

Bicycling and walking are also important uses of the new 8-foot paved shoulders. Bicycling and walking are both healthful and environmentally friendly forms of transportation, recreation, exercise and fun. In addition, bicycling is an increasing economic engine, and those 8-foot paved shoulders (we call them bike lanes) make the roads safer for everyone.

Dean S. Read

Bar Harbor


Leash that dog

I would just like to remind people that when they are walking their dogs in the City Forest they need to keep them leashed.

I was running in the City Forest late Monday afternoon and a dog came out of nowhere and bumped me in the leg. It almost knocked me over.

Luckily I did not fall.

Another thing I see and hear are dog fights when many people are out with unleashed dogs. It’s a real nuisance.

Melissa Burns



Admit US mistakes

It is time to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Why are we there? Fighting al-Qaida? But al-Qaida is now in many countries.

Fighting the Taliban? Our occupation of Afghanistan causes resentment against the U.S. and fuels Taliban recruiting. To control sources of natural gas? The Chinese and Russians are making deals to buy the gas and lay pipelines without making war. Why can’t we?

Are we there to prevent the Chinese or Iranians from moving into the vacuum we would leave behind if we left the region? But there would be no vacuum. The central governments are weak, but the local warlords would prevent foreign powers from controlling the region, just as they prevented the British, the Russians, and now the U.S.

Are we there to spread democracy? Oh, please. Our client rulers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are corrupt. Last week’s election fraud in Afghanistan shows how little our allies value democracy.

To improve the lives of women? Their situation is worse now than it was before we came. The Karzai government just passed laws enshrining lesser rights for women.

To save face and pretend we know what we are doing? Maybe we delude ourselves, but we don’t delude the rest of the world. We have accomplished little in the last eight years, in bringing peace or democracy, in improving economic well-being or education or women’s lives, or fighting opium production. Better admit our mistakes and come home.

Jane McCloskey

Deer Isle


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