August 31 Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 30, 2010, at 6:58 p.m.

The real myth

Janice Bodwell’s Aug. 25 letter, “Liberal myth,” is a gross distortion of the Constitution and yet another example of the Christian Right’s crusade to infiltrate our government with religious doctrine. Bodwell fails to realize that the First Amendment bars the government from enacting laws based on religious doctrine or from preferring one religion over another. The Establishment Clause states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause embodies the separation of church and state, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed.

Nativity scenes on public property, prayer in school and anti-evolution laws have been held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because such things violate the establishment clause. Our Founding Fathers adopted the separation of church and state through the writing of the Constitution and through subsequent treaties and writings. For example, the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams in 1797, states, “… the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Thomas Jefferson agreed with this sentiment when he wrote, “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.” Benjamin Franklin believed that “lighthouses are more useful than churches.”

The separation of church and state is not a liberal myth, but instead is a mechanism, explicitly articulated in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, which protects people from the dangers of religious entanglement with government. The real myth is that this country was formed on Christian ideals.

Jody Mullis

Corinna

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Levesque for Congress

The economy is slowing. Consumer, business and investor confidence are all low and declining. Unemployment is at 9.5 percent. The federal deficit is $1.5 trillion per year and is projected to be more than $1 trillion per year for years to come. (A trillion is a million, million dollar bills.)

Massive tax increases and hundreds of new regulations will be implemented in January causing unprecedented uncertainty.

The federal debt has eclipsed $13 trillion. Paying $1 million per day would take 35,000 years to pay it off. Instead, we issue new debt to pay maturing debt and sell it not only to foreigners, but to the Social Security Trust fund. Soon the trust fund will become a net seller instead of a net buyer of our bonds.

The Federal Reserve, which has the power to print (debase) money, has purchased more than $1 trillion of government debt.

The Obama-Reid-Pelosi policies of increased government intervention and spending have never worked. Solutions that incentivize private enterprise expansion have worked. But we are no longer a business-friendly country. We demonize and penalize success and will soon have the highest business taxes in the world.

We need different leadership to get the U.S. back on track. You can help by voting against someone who invariably votes with Nancy Pelosi — Mike Michaud. Electing Jason Levesque as U.S. representative in the 2nd District will send a strong message that you are fed up with the current leadership in Washington.

Jim Gustafson

Bowerbank

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Task force response

I write to express my disappointment regarding a series of articles written by Naomi Schalit that did not accurately represent the efforts of the Governor’s Wind Power Task Force.

Gov. Baldacci established the task force with very general goals, recognizing that Maine’s regulations concerning wind power projects were outdated and in need of review.

He brought together a diverse group of individuals, including members who had recently opposed the Redington Wind Project. There were robust discussions, significant public input and an open process guided by a neutral facilitator.

After a year of work, the task force developed recommendations that the governor presented as legislation, which was unanimously adopted by the full Legislature.

There was nothing unusual about how the task force went about its work. It brought together different views, sought input, invited expert comment and worked for agreement.

Schalit writes that the governor made “the unusual move” of sending me to urge task force members to issue a set of consensus recommendations. In fact, that is a normal move and was suggested by the task force chair and the facilitator as a helpful tool to encourage members to work through tough issues.

I speak out because the articles by Schalit convey an impression that there is something illegitimate about the task force and its work. That impression is unfair and does a serious disservice to the diligent and good faith efforts by all involved to develop a path forward for both wind energy and environmental stewardship in Maine.

Karin Tilberg

senior policy adviser

Office of Gov. John E. Baldacci

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Rude reply to invitation

If you invited someone to dinner and her reply was, “You also have to invite so-and-so, and you have to serve only vegetarian, and you have to have it only between 7 and 9 p.m. and …” Whatever other conditions your presumptive guest proclaims, would you accede to their requests, or simply withdraw the invitation?

It is interesting that the gubernatorial debate was used by Libby Mitchell to “take a stand to get something changed” by denying the organizers their right to structure their presentation as they chose. Is Mitchell simply looking for control under the guise of equality? If I invite you to dinner, don’t try to change me; just adapt to my hospitality or simply say, “I have other plans, thank you.”

Hurrah for Paul LePage and Eliot Cutler, who understand that acting reasonably to reasonable requests is, well, reasonable.

Mark Schwartz

Stillwater

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Marvelous, miraculous

In David Dubovy’s letter of Aug. 26, titled “DNA and Scrabble,” the analogy is interesting but incomplete. Throw the tiles again and again. When the hint of a word, any word, appears, save those letters and replace at random all the rest. Soon an intelligible word will appear.

Evolution does have a random element, but there is also selection — survival of the fittest. This applies clearly to evolving creatures. But it might also apply to the first evolving chemicals, as the dice was thrown by wind, waves, sunlight and thunderstorms. The chemicals that survived were those that were more stable, better at forming long chains, better at catalyzing the formation of chemicals like themselves. Darwin was, in fact, hesitant to speculate about early beginnings.

But the belief that creatures, both splendid and most beautiful, evolved through small changes is not incompatible with a belief in God. Many scientists and others who accept the reality of evolution believe in God. Even the Catholic Church, as I understand it, accepts that there is no incompatibility between these beliefs. The evolution of life is marvelous, perhaps even miraculous, even if it happened as scientists say.

Ron Shelden

Bass Harbor

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