Unmasking a wolf in sheep’s clothing

By Rep. Lawrence Lockman

Political columnist Jill Goldthwait is shocked, just shocked, that I would call a candidate for public office an “anti-Christian bigot” and an “anti-American radical leftist punk.” My comments about Ben Chin, Democrat candidate for mayor of Lewiston, were “beyond the bounds of decency,” and contrary to the teachings of the Bible, decreed Ms. Goldthwait. And she was not alone. Speaker of the House Mark Eves called on me to resign my seat in the Legislature.

To put an exclamation point on her outrage, Goldthwait likened my remarks to bloody terrorist attacks on peace-loving civilians out for an evening of music or a cup of coffee.

For those who haven’t followed the controversy swirling around Chin’s candidacy for mayor of Lewiston, it may be tempting to dismiss the dust-up as another instance of partisan politics run amok. But there’s much more at stake. The race for mayor in Maine’s second largest city has statewide implications for all Mainers in the run-up to next year’s statewide elections, when all 186 seats in the Maine Legislature are up for grabs.

Democrat challenger Ben Chin outpolled Republican incumbent Bob Macdonald in the Nov. 3 election, setting up the run-off between Chin and Macdonald on Dec. 8.

So who is Ben Chin, and why should anyone outside Lewiston care who wins the election next week?

As Goldthwait noted, Chin serves as a lay minister at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lewiston. Chin has used the pulpit there as a platform to attack Christians who don’t share his radical views on social issues. In a sermon he delivered six years ago, Chin’s smug condemnation of “most Christian churches” for allegedly waging campaigns to deny women their rights and “squeeze the life out of the poor” is posted online for anyone who cares to take a few minutes to read it. That sermon is a gratuitous insult and a slap in the face to Christians all over Maine, but particularly to pro-life Catholics in Lewiston.

Speaking for my own church, we support a local food bank, a local homeless shelter and a crisis pregnancy center that counsels young women and encourages them to choose life for their unborn babies. Where does Chin get off saying that most Christian churches dehumanize their neighbors and squeeze the life out of poor people?

This point shouldn’t be hard for anyone to understand: when Ben Chin attacks other people’s Christian faith, he is engaged in hate speech, and earns the “anti-Christian bigot” label.

More recently, in a sermon he delivered three years ago, Chin used his pulpit to hammer Governor Paul LePage and Republican legislators for our welfare reform package that reined in the budget-busting expansion of medical welfare under former Governor John Baldacci.

When he’s not spouting partisan political rhetoric from the pulpit, Chin serves as political director for the scandal-plagued Maine People’s Alliance, a left-wing progressive nonprofit that is now the tail that wags the Democratic dog in Maine politics. MPA and its twin sister Maine People’s Resource Center have a combined annual budget of $2 million to spend pushing their leftist agenda. Among their top priorities are higher state income taxes on Maine people, welfare and driver’s licenses for illegals and voting rights for non-citizens in local elections.

Chin and his Marxist Peoples Alliance brought their rent-a-mob of protesters to the Statehouse last year when we were debating Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Those of us who opposed this reckless and irresponsible expansion of medical welfare for 70,000 able-bodied young adults were called killers by the protesters. That’s right. If you disagree with them on policy, Chin and his chums believe they have grounds to accuse you of killing your constituents.

“157. Number of Mainers estimated to die this year if Governor LePage and the Legislature fail to accept federal health care funds,” screamed the landing page of the MPA-funded website 157Mainers.com. Hard-edged political rhetoric, for sure. Some would say the 157 dead Mainers salvo was beyond the bounds of decency.

Here’s why the run-off mayoral election in Lewiston has statewide implications. If Chin prevails next week, his Marxist People’s Alliance will have a re-energized political machine and a trophy mayor to trot around the state campaigning for far-left legislative candidates, and smearing any opponent who gets in their way. Frankly, Maine people can’t afford to go back down that road of robotic Democratic majorities in the Legislature. These are the folks who gave us the last Medicaid expansion in 2003, which blew up and cannibalized the state budget year after year during Governor Baldacci’s two terms in office, and ended with three quarters of a billion dollars worth of medical welfare debt owed to Maine hospitals. Not to mention the $4-billion pension debt bomb Democrats left for Governor LePage to defuse.

Bottom line: Ben Chin is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I am honored to take the Left’s slings and arrows for unmasking him.

Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) is serving his second term in the Maine House of Representatives (District 137). He is the ranking Republican on the Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development Committee. He may be reached at [email protected].


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