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The fundamentalist states of America

GREAT CONCERN is expressed over the potential for a militant Islamic state in Iraq, similar to Iran and, to a lesser degree, Saudi Arabia. The threat is that the government will pass and enforce laws based on a new leader's religious vision for the future of the country. There may be a dangerous parallel to this trend in our own country.

 

There was a Bush campaign ad on TV recently in which the president, facing the camera, gave a list of problems facing the country and in each case said, "I know" how to deal with these issues. The message given was that he had the answers.

Several months ago President Bush stated the the United States had a "calling" to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. In Bush's fundamentalist Christian world, that word has a special meaning. It is something preordained, not action taken after investigation and sober reflection of facts and alternatives. It is something dictated by a higher power.

Add this to his frequent statements that there is no middle ground between good and evil, his administration's plan for "faith-based initiatives," and his opposition to freedom of choice and his attempts to define "marriage." Do we not have a government moving toward decision-making based on someone's interpretation of certain religious teachings and beliefs?

How does this differ, except by degree, from the message of the imams and ayatollahs that government exists not to carry out the will of the people, but the will of the prophet as they choose to interpret it?

ANTHONY McMANUS
Dover, N.H.

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