Politics corrupts religion

Here is a stunning statement from conservative columnist Marc Thiessen: “Christian conservatives are judging Trump not by his faith but by his works. And when it comes to life and liberty, his works are good.” I am a born-again Christian, and what this advocates for is, in principle, operating as though “the ends justify the means” is an outlook worthy of praise. No good, however framed, justifies lying, adultery, hush money for porn stars and paramours, name-calling, appeals to racism, and scapegoating ethnic and religious minorities.

When Jesus said “seek first the kingdom of God” and trust to him whatever else is needed, he was advocating means for that “seeking” consistent with the ends of healing, justice and human flourishing, even if that led to suffering and persecution. When he healed the ear of a centurion severed by a sword-wielding disciple determined to ward off his crucifixion, he was making clear the necessity of means and ends being consistent with any biblical rendering of “faith and works.”

“Faith without works” may, as Jesus’ brother James intoned, amount to “dead faith.” But “works” devoid of the integrity of commitment to the totality of Christ’s kingdom are subject to judgment. Hence Jesus’ words of condemnation for those who used his name simply as a means to get and wield power.

These examples are not articles of a cheap, watered-down religion that piously gives out mulligans like indulgences for bad behavior ( as did Tony Perkins, Christian president of the Family Research Council, when questioned about President Donald Trump’s sexual transgressions). Unfortunately, single-issue politics has not only corrupted secular initiatives but infected many of Christ’s followers as well.

Alan Toth

Rockland

Offshore drilling bad for Maine

If it is true that President Donald Trump supports oil drilling along the East Coast, then he’s making a big mistake. The beautiful state of Maine deserves protection from such a policy.

Annually, millions of tourists visit the state’s parks, lakes and magnificent coastline, hosting scenic islands and lighthouses. A major oil spill along the coast would be bad, not only for the lobster industry, but also for tourism.

Irvin Dube

Madawaska

Republican alarmed by Trump

I never dreamed I would see a “self-appointed” dictator in our White House. He has disrupted our country and many others as well.

I have been a Republican for 69 of my 90 years, and I am alarmed at how divided the president has made our nation. It is my hope that I will see someone stand up to him and say, “You’re fired,” or in other words impeached. It would be great if he took “veto” Gov. Paul LePage along with him.

Robert J. Tapley

Penobscot

Break our addiction to violence

I was appalled to hear Rick Santorum’s recent comments on CNN criticizing our young people and telling them to “learn CPR” as one of the “solutions” to end the gun violence. Since many physicians have spoken eloquently about the fact that CPR cannot save someone who is bleeding to death, I will speak as a person of faith.

For Jesus said, “I was hungry … I was sick … I was a stranger … Whatever you do for the least of these who are members of my family, you do unto me.”

The next time there is a protest, I hope he will listen to our teens and children who are “the least of these,” for they are calling our nation to change its addiction to violence. If he had been there to listen, he would have heard that they understand that this is a multifaceted problem that must be tackled on every level possible. Yes, there will still be tragedies, but I speak as a mother who has lost a child. If one life is saved, it will be worth it.

Our children are beautiful, scared and courageous. They are calling for common-sense gun laws. The lethality of these weapons is nothing that Jesus would defend. Santorum’s talking point about “phony gun laws” is clearly a calculated and tragic effort to get NRA money the next time he runs for office. His allegiance is misplaced.

It’s time for Santorum to come to Jesus. Jesus is out in the street with our children calling us to change.

Rev. Allison Smith

Harpswell