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May 1, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Bishop doing his job

Leonard Davis (BDN, April 22) says, “The bishop may protest, as a private citizen before the Legislature but to do so in his role as a church leader exhorting his followers is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.”

I completely disagree. The bishop not only has the right to speak out to the Catholics of Maine in matters of faith and morals, he has a definite responsibility to do so. This is part of his role as bishop, and I commend Bishop Richard Malone for fulfilling that role admirably.

Incidentally, the way people throw around the phrase “separation of church and state,” one would think that it appears in one of the official documents written by the founding fathers, such as the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Of course, it’s found in neither.

David Labun


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Practice what we preach

Torture violates both domestic law and international treaty, which our Constitution states shall be considered the supreme law of the land. To not prosecute those who torture violates both domestic law and international treaty. Are we a nation of law or presidential dictate? What do we teach our schoolchildren? What do we preach to the world?

Ron Warner


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Maine workers’ rights

The Employee Free Choice Act is the first one to address the disparity between the employers and the employees. For a long time the employers have been able to coerce their workers with the threat of dismissal if they even speak the word “union.” With the passage of this act, the workers will be able to vote without the threat of being fired. It will make it unlawful for management to use threats and intimidation, and the fine would be substantial.

Recently a powerful anti-union organization out of Springfield, Va., sent out a letter to their Republican supporters condemning this act and asking them for money to fight this bill. Their letter is full of lies and innuendoes. They are calling their supporters to send the cards that they filled to send to our senators asking them to kill the bill. I feel that our senators are smart enough to see through their ploy and will vote for the working men and women of this state, to give them the choice to belong or not, without intimidation from the employer.

Edward L. Davis

East Orland

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Getting facts straight

This letter is intended to educate, not to criticize.

I am responding to James Zarilli’s letter and his comment that “juvenile diabetes and obesity and other ailments are due to lifestyle” (BDN, April 22). Perhaps in some cases obesity is due to lifestyle. In fact, many Type I diabetics appear emaciated at the time of diagnosis, as was our first diabetic child when he was diagnosed at the age of 7. Fortunately, we knew what signs to look for before our second child progressed to that point and was diagnosed at the age of 10, and later, a grandchild at the age of 7.

There is a difference between Type I diabetes (formally referred to as juvenile diabetes because it often affects young children) and Type II diabetes, often related to excessive weight gain or obesity. Type I is a metabolic disorder, an attack on the immune system from an unknown cause, preventing the pancreas from producing insulin. Therefore, insulin must be given by injection. If we knew of a way Type I diabetes could be prevented, millions of dollars wouldn’t be spent on diabetes research looking for a cure.

Perhaps Mr. Zarelli simply used the world “juvenile” as relating to children, but I have to speak up. No, I did not give my children too much sugar. No, they were not overweight. Yes they got plenty of exercise. They were still diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, not Type II diabetes. There is a difference.

Rita Morneault


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Tobacco-free Maine

As a University of Maine nursing student, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Intensive Tobacco Treatment Training and Conference in South Portland, sponsored by Healthy Maine Partnerships and the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Maine. The purpose of the conference was to provide attendees with the skills to effectively help people quit smoking. Many health care providers from the Bangor area and other communities of Maine attended.

Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of death. The use of tobacco has been found to increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type II diabetes and asthma. A report in the Campaign of Tobacco Free Kids notes that annual health care costs in Maine directly caused by smoking total $602 million. The implications of this for the state of Maine are enormous. Reducing tobacco dependence will not only reduce health care costs for the state but it will improve the quality of life for its residents.

I was heartened to see so many people who cared about helping others battle a difficult addiction. I felt this was a very positive event that will directly help the people of Maine. I wish to express thanks to all those who attended and worked to offer this important opportunity.

Janice Colson


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Necessary foundation

I attended the Public Hearing in Augusta on Wednesday, April 22, concerning LD 1020. The images and statements will forever be etched into my memory.

The most compelling image, however, came not from the hearing but from what I saw in the town of Holden. You see, the town’s people are carefully lifting the historical town office and grange hall, moving it and placing it on a new foundation. As I marveled at the careful work being done, I also knew that it could not be done without damage to the existing building. Walls and ceilings may crack, timbers may shift and the roof may buckle. This process in Holden was necessary to save the building and whoever is involved should be applauded.

The Legislature of the state of Maine will soon decide whether to move and place the institution of marriage on a different foundation, from a foundation designed and built by God to one designed by the desires of men and women, from a foundation as sound and solid as Maine Granite to a foundation of shifting sand. And like the Holden town office, the “building” that holds marriage will be forever shifted, cracked and damaged. In fact, the physical building in Holden may very well survive longer than the institution of marriage.

I urge and pray that the Maine legislature will protect the building of marriage by leaving it on its current “solid-rock” foundation. Unlike the historical town office in Holden, marriage does not need to be moved.

Tony Maker


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Wrong headline

I take issue with the headline of the April 23 BDN. Civil rights are not involved in this debate. The headline should read “Tradition vs. non-tradition” because it is the definition of “marriage” that is really at the heart of this debate, as pointed out so eloquently by Bob Emrich in his OpEd article last weekend.

Allen Mirk


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