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Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Donald Sterling, baptism, Sunday hunting, abandoned pets


Keeping score

It’s interesting to compare the fates of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, and Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York.

Sterling made racist comments in private, which were taped, probably illegally, and revealed to the public. His comments are now considered terrible, and they are, but they were pretty much mainstream a few decades ago. I suspect similar sentiments could be found in the BDN if one went back far enough. Sterling has been heavily fined, suspended for life, and probably will be forced to sell his team.

In January, Cuomo said in public that people who oppose abortion, gun control and gay rights “have no place in the state of New York.” It’s hard to imagine a more hateful statement than saying millions of people should leave the state he governs. His punishment for his obvious intolerance? None.

Some people will tolerate anything, except someone who doesn’t agree with all their beliefs.

Lawrence E. Merrill


Condemning racism

It’s good to know the National Basketball Association players and the commissioner who oversees the league, Adam Silver, are condemning the racist comments of NBA team owner Donald Sterling.

But what about the millions who mouth the same attitudes but aren’t caught on tape, or think these nasty ideas but don’t say them? And what about millions more who believe in equality but benefit from discrimination against people of color? Shouldn’t we condemn them and the advantages they derive also?

Larry Dansinger


Unfortunate speech

As Christian pastors in the Lutheran tradition, we would like to rescue the word “baptism” from its unfortunate place in Sarah Palin’s speech to the National Rifle Association in which she said that waterboarding is the United States’ way of “baptizing” terrorists. We do so because Palin’s association of baptism with waterboarding, a means of torture, not only robs the word “baptize” of its beauty and meaning but also twists its purpose into something that is utterly counter to its intention.

While the meaning of Christian baptism is open to many interpretations and understandings, at the heart of it, baptism is an immersion into a way of life shaped by a story of justice, mercy, grace and unconditional love. Rooted in the prophetic voices of the Hebrew Scriptures and further exemplified in the life of Jesus, baptism is intended to free Christians from the narrow confines of fear and prejudice and to open them to lives of service to the neighbor, whoever that neighbor might be.

Inherent in the baptized life, then, is the call to practice the ways of Jesus, which stand against any attempts to dehumanize, diminish or destroy the life of another human being. As such, we find Palin’s association of baptism with waterboarding to be mistaken and offensive. And we pray for guidance and strength as we seek to live as baptized children of God in this complex, beautiful, suffering world.

Elaine Hewes

Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church


Sunday hunting

Sunday hunting was banned on Feb. 28, 1883. Why? I, like many Maine residents, endure long workweeks during deer hunting season in Maine. In my case, I am a full-time student, fully dedicated to homework and studying. Because of this, I find myself with very little time to enjoy hunting in the great outdoors.

But, again, why? Sunday is considered the Sabbath by some; therefore it is a day of rest. To this angle, I say, what is more restful than spending some quiet time out in the great outdoors waiting for a deer?

Opposition to Sunday hunting also comes from people who say it ensures families time at home together. But how many families spend a day of hunting together, including mothers and children? I know several, including me and my wife. So the ban could be harming just as much family time as it is helping.

From a safety standpoint, Maine’s many outdoor enthusiasts see Sundays as a chance to enjoy the outdoors free of danger from hunters. With the introduction of mandatory hunter’s safety courses in 1986 and the requirement for hunters to wear orange in 1973, the number of accidents is reduced to a small fraction of what they were. Outdoor enthusiasts have much more time outdoors than hunters do throughout the year.

In conclusion I would simply say this: Hunting is peaceful and restful; hunting is a family event and is safe. We should petition the ban on Sunday hunting and give Maine hunters the freedom they deserve.

Michael Cox

Stockton Springs

Agree with Ordway

I totally disagree with Mark Montross’s May 1 letter in response to Renee Ordway’s April 26 BDN column. I think the column was perfectly on target regarding the callous way those two poor dogs were abandoned at the Waterville Area Humane Society and left suffering by their “supposed” loving family.

Yes, Ordway’s comments were judgmental and deservedly so. It is just unfortunate that those people are not able to be judged in any official court. I understand that pets can sometimes be costly, but there are many more ways, some listed in Ordway’s column, for a responsible pet owner to surrender a pet.

It is ironic that those animals, despite the way they were treated by their owners, would be the first to forgive them — because that it what animals do. They love and forgive any and all transgressions. Which is why they deserve better treatment than they received by their (fortunately) former owners.

Susan Plourde


Graven image

I am responding to a May 2 BDN letter in which the writer referred to an image of Jesus as a “graven image” and “somewhat sacrilegious.” This is not the case. The term “graven images” refers to the pagan images of the Old Testament that include bulls, calves and other animals.

Representations of Jesus, Mary and the saints are Christian images, and they have been produced and appreciated from the earliest days of Christianity. When Michelangelo sculpted the Pieta, he did not create a “graven image” but, instead, a wonderful example of Christian art.

David Labun



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