Roderick Forsman: Addiction center request should be denied

To the editor:

White Horse Addiction Center's request for county government money runs up against a First Amendment issue, often referred to as "the separation of church and state."

Federal and state Constitutions are very clear about not using public tax dollars to support sectarian, religious organizations. Within the very being of religious organizations is the goal of promoting their faith-based views.

The center openly acknowledges that it is a "Christian-based organization." When operating, it will "offer a Christian experience ... anyone who walks through the door will get care."

Yes, and I warrant that they will also get a strong dose of religious dogma. Anyone who thinks otherwise is plain gullible.

And do you know who would be paying for that proselytizing? You, the Carroll County taxpayer, would be.

Let's shift perspective.

Suppose that the center were Islamic, or Hinduist, or Scientologist or Rastafarian. Do you think the "treatment" program would be different? Do you think the counselors hired to do the "treatment" would be Christian? Do you want to subsidize that "treatment" with your tax dollars? I do not.

Mr. Hounsell sees no problem with this request: "I like dealing with people who are faith-based. They are more productive than those who are in despair and are fear-based."

What? Where on Earth is his evidence for that?

I prefer the secular humanists who aren't trying to win souls. I think White Horse Addiction Center should be real Christians and do it on their own dime.

Roderick Forsman

Intervale

  • Category: Letters

Bruce Sanderson: Trump fits the definition of being fascist

To the editor:

I am trying my best to wrap my head around a column I read about Right to Work in the paper the other day. It baffles me, and I just have to get it off my chest. I may have not understood it correctly so I just want to suggest what I felt it was saying.

If I work next to a fellow worker who chooses to give money to a union, and I do not, I am stealing from him/her if we get a raise, consulting, health benefits, etc, etc.

If I am forced to pay the money to a union, they have not stolen from me, whether or not I reap any benefit.

OK, if I am going through the grocery line on Friday after working all week and getting my check and buying a nice steak and veggies, and the person in front of me chooses not to work and has the same meal being purchased with my or your tax dollars, would he consider that was stealing also?

Bruce Sanderson

North Conway

  • Category: Letters

Michael Callis: Trump fits the definition of being fascist

To the editor:

To be a fascist, you have to fit the definition, and Donald Trump does in spades.

A fascist is authoritarian.

He can say it is not raining when it is and followers will believe him, saying, “He is smarter than I am.”

He can say millions voted illegally with out having to produce evidence and it is accepted as gospel.

He can say he saw millions of people that weren’t there and his followers will accept it as truth. The bigger the lie, the more loyalty is demanded to the point the follower will accept any lie.

Nationalism is blind love of country not by the authoritarian but his followers. If the country needs to be made great again it is because it is no longer great until the authoritarian claims it is.

The word fascist in Trump’s case should not offend if it walks, talks and acts like one. Can someone please demonstrate that this is not true with examples and not dismissing the word out of hand?

The danger is brought home when the authoritarian trashes the media and judiciary so he alone is the source of truth.

I am a lifelong New Hampshire Republican, and Trump is in name only.

Michael Callis

Conway

  • Category: Letters

Tom McLaughlin: Is that all there is?

On its website, the BBC showed a picture of the “oldest human ancestor.” It didn’t look like any of my relatives or my wife’s either. In a photo taken through a microscope it resembled the central figure of Edvard Munch’s painting: “The Scream” with what look like two eyes and a mouth that’s wide open. It’s tiny — only a millimeter, or .039 inches. Scientists claim it was “covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin and muscles, leading the researchers to conclude that it moved by contracting its muscles and got around by wriggling.”

Some of my relatives behave that way. Scientists also observed that, “It’s most striking feature is its large mouth, relative to the rest of its body.” That’s another feature sometimes pointed out in members of my family. The kicker, however, was this: “The researchers were unable to find any evidence that the animal had an anus, which suggests that it consumed food and excreted from the same orifice.” Almost everyone has relatives like that. Skeptical that such a tiny creature could be our common ancestor, that helped me consider it.

The creature is called Saccorhytus and it lived 540 million years ago in the Cambrian period, probably between two grains of sand on the sea floor in what is now China. It was a dull life. I would have had fun with this story if I were still teaching the “Beginnings” unit with which I used to start the school year every September. Students learned about the two prevailing concepts most Americans believed about our origins: creation and evolution.

We compared and contrasted them. They were similar in the order of events: Creation began with sea life, then other creatures and lastly, humans — which is what evolutionists contend. However, day four of creation is when stars and other heavenly bodies were made, and that’s different from Big Bang/Darwinism. Time periods were vastly different too. Also, creation lent some meaning to it all, but not Big Bang/Darwinism.

Sometimes, students debated formally. The creationist side always contended there was no explanation in the Big Bang theory about how the exploding object got there, whereas the Judeo/Christian/Muslim creation story claimed God created the universe “ex nihilo” or “out of nothing.” Neither did Darwin explain what was at the beginning of the march of evolution. In his recent book “Kingdom of Speech,” Tom Wolfe describes a conversation Darwin had with students:

“The students had the sort of naive, unbridled, free-floating curiosity most youths unfortunately rein in far too early in life. They wanted to know some small but fundamental details about the moment Evolution got underway and how exactly, physically, it started up — and from what?”

That’s what I loved about teaching my eighth-graders. They still had that, but back to Wolfe:

Darwin said replied that it was “‘probably from four or five cells floating in a warm pool somewhere.’ One student … wanted to know where the cells came from. ... An exasperated Darwin said, in effect, “Well I don’t know. Isn’t it enough that I’ve brought you man and all the animals and plants in the world?’

“Darwinism avoided the question of how the world developed ex nihilo.”

My students reviewed the Scopes Monkey Trial about banning lessons on evolution last century, and secular objections to lessons on Intelligent Design more recently. Always, they asked my opinion, but I deferred until the end when I told them mine was a blend of both.

It was all controversial. Almost very time a new principal arrived, which was about every two to five years, he or she would approach me before classes started and ask that I stop teaching my Beginnings unit. Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t like that I taught about evolution, while secularists disdained lessons on creation. Both sides lobbied each new principal to get me to scrap it. I resisted, pointing out that I circled back to this dualistic understanding among Americans of how everything started and the way those beliefs influenced their views on other issues.

They still do. In these contentious times, creationists tend to cluster in flyover country and Darwinists on the coasts. Creationists are red. Darwinists are blue. Creationists are generally pro-life, Darwinists pro-choice. Creationists anticipate an afterlife. Many Darwinists doubt there’s any such thing and their number grows. We and Saccorhytus live, die, and go back to earth. A refrain from a 1969 song by Peggy Lee went: “Is that all there is, is that all there is, if that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing; let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”

It might be the ethos of our age.

Tom McLaughlin lives in Lovell, Maine. He can be reached on his website at tommclaughlin.blogspot.com.

  • Category: Letters