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Freedom of and From Religion

October 13, 2001

The complaints lodged by atheists ("Atheists Decry Post-Attack Focus on God," Oct. 6) that the U.S. government has been blurring the line between church and state since the Sept. 11 tragedies are echoed by many people such as myself, who consider themselves spiritual but don't follow organized religion in any form.

President Bush and the U.S. government have been alienating a large number of people who don't agree with such presumptuous statements as Bush's "God is not neutral," along with the hypocritical stance the government has taken by claiming the moral high ground against terrorism, while for decades the U.S. has been one of the largest financiers and trainers of "freedom fighters" (terrorists) around the world.

However, while sympathizing with the atheists' alienation, I don't agree with their beliefs, and as a musician with a deep love and respect of John Lennon's work, I must point out that they may have misinterpreted the lyrics of Lennon's song "Imagine." Lennon explained the lyrics: "The concept of imagining no religion--not imagining no God, although you're entitled to do that too. It's imagining no denominations, imagining that we revere Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Krishna, Milarepa, etc., equally, or that we don't have to worship any of them. Imagine that we allow it all. Freedom of religion for real."

I couldn't agree more.

Mark Reback

\o7 Los Angeles

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The events of Sept. 11 left me with a total sense of isolation and estrangement as I watched my beloved country take a serious direction toward a national religion. Ever since I can remember, my lack of religious belief has placed me among a distinct minority. My only consolation is that as an American I am also entitled to freedom from religion. My concern is the 90% of believers who too often ridicule the nonbelievers. Religion and patriotism are today being deliberately intertwined, with our governmental leaders encouraging citizens with their own religious rhetoric and zeal. I am deeply saddened to see that the greatest country on Earth is, with each passing day, becoming more and more like the enemy.

Edna M. Tobias

\o7 Hermosa Beach

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Your article stated that 9% of voters polled during an exit poll described themselves as not believing in God. Are these the same 9% of people who believe that Elvis is still alive?

Charles E. Sylvia

\o7 Los Alamitos

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