Missing a link

I read about paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey’s claims for evolution in the May 28 BDN with skepticism and curiosity, but it was his comments on faith that truly dismayed me.

Leakey said, “… I see no reason why you shouldn’t go through your life thinking if you’re a good citizen, you’ll get a better future in the afterlife ….”

What? Good citizenship leads to a better afterlife? Seems like someone’s missing a link.

It was the second article in this paper in a week in which an individual confused personal goodness with redemption. The other was an article on faith in which the Rev. Steven Lewis of Bangor Theological Seminary said, “Salvation in the 21st century is being a good human being.”

Scripture emphasizes the importance of seeking justice, obeying God,and sharing His love with others, but nowhere does it say that I can ever earn salvation by doing this.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9.

Do I seek to live a “good” life? Absolutely! The benefits bless those around me and protect me from the catastrophic consequences of wrong choices. It has nothing to do with securing a Lazy Boy in the afterlife. It’s about imitating Christ who “went around doing good” Acts 10:38.

Any good in me is simply a reflection of Him. And the rest? That’s why I need Him.

Meadow Rue Merrill


Conservation response

While some have differing opinions about the merits of a land conservation bond (“Conservation Priorities Response” by Sandy George, 5/24 BDN), a careful look at the facts reveals that supporting voluntary land conservation remains one of the best investments Maine can make. A recent study ( cloud.tpl.org/pubs/local-maine-conseconomics-2012.pdf) shows a

11-to-1 return on investment for each dollar Maine invests in land conservation — keeping our forests and farms working, supporting our traditions of hunting, fishing and recreation, and protecting the special character of Maine. Maine’s productive and beautiful landscape is the calling card for our state as well as a significant ingredient of our economic well-being.

The combined efforts of landowners, land trusts and their many partners to protect our precious natural heritage benefit all Maine citizens. In fact it is these very citizens who are doing this important work at home in their own towns in every corner of the state. Voluntary land conservation keeps our water clean, our forests and farms in production, our working waterfronts available, and ensures public access to the land for present and future generations. Mainers know a good deal when they see one, and the Maine Legislature (by a recent vote of 136-39) is to be commended for allowing us the opportunity to show support for the Land for Maine’s Future Program once again this November.

Tim Glidden


Bennett for U.S. Senate

As the primary election approaches on June 12, we have an opportunity to vote for candidates for the U.S. Senate. In my opinion, there is one clear choice in Republican Rick Bennett.

I have known Rick since I moved to Presque Isle in 1994 having worked closely with him while he was in the Maine Legislature as we worked to redevelop Loring. I am supporting Rick because I trust his judgment, integrity and his ability to reach solutions to complex problems. I also appreciate Rick’s ability to work with others and was very impressed with how he managed the Maine Senate as its president at a time when the Senate was evenly divided. During this time and throughout Rick’s political career, he demonstrated a unique and effective ability to work with all members of the elected chamber for the betterment of Maine people. In addition, Rick is the only candidate in this primary election that for decades has demonstrated a commitment to fiscal conservatism in both the public and private sectors, and the guts to stand up to those who don’t share the same need for financial accountability. Lastly, Rick’s private sector experience and accomplishments over the last 10 years have been quite impressive. Rick grew a start-up company into a nationally recognized and highly respected firm that has brought corporate governance and fiscal accountability to the forefront for shareholders.

Rick Bennett will represent us well in the U.S. Senate.

Brian N. Hamel

Presque Isle

Safe chemicals

I was lucky enough to be one of 25 women to hop on a bus from Maine to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally for chemical safety reform and meetings with my U.S. senators and representatives to ask them to support the Safe Chemicals Act.

There were many reasons I chose to attend; first and foremost, I’m a mom of three adult sons, Tyler, Corey and Kyle. My youngest, Kyle, is almost 20, and has multiple disabilities including severe autism. I don’t know what caused Kyle’s autism, but I do know that Kyle will always need one-on-one care, and will never drive a car, date, or go to college like other young men his age.

I also traveled to Washington because of my work with Maine Parent Federation, where I see firsthand the increase of autism in my community. 1 in 88 American children, and 1 in 54 boys, have autism — and the number is higher in Maine. With increasing evidence of environmental links to autism, we need the Safe Chemicals Act so that we can access safety information about chemicals exposed to us.

My meetings with Sens. Collins and Snowe left me feeling hopeful. I am grateful to both senators for acknowledging that our current chemical safety system is broken. Sen. Snowe spent 50 minutes with our group showing that she was genuinely supportive of chemical safety reform and that a bipartisan solution could be possible. Now we need both senators to stand up and lead the way to this badly needed reform.

Robin Levesque


Our national symbol

I hope Bert Johnson ( BDN Letters to the Editor 5/31/2012) is not talking about flying American flags on telephone poles as they do in some communities in the Bangor area. Too many of these national symbols are in tatters, hanging off their display poles, and/or hung up in trees. I consider it disgraceful that the flag should be displayed where it cannot be properly and respectfully maintained.

Mark J Gibson