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October 8, 2001

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To the editor:

It is seldom that I find myself in agreement with anything Ellen Goodman has to say. However, her statement that "the commitment to a separation of church and state is not a clichit's a core and constitutional value" is right on the mark!

Mr. Gray (Separation Issue, Public Forum, Oct. 1) presents some interesting facts to point out that the phrase "separation of church and state" is a modern statement seemingly suggesting that those of us that strongly believe in "separation," believe in the absurd!

Absurd means ridiculously unreasonable! It's a strong word! Ranks right up there with words like Crusades, Inquisition, Ayatollah, and Taliban.

It does not seem ridiculously unreasonable for me to credit the separation of church and state for the facts that our daughters are not sacrificed to volcano gods, our sons are not pressed to death because they can not recite the Lord's Prayer, our wives are not beheaded because they go out in public without a veil and our properties are not confiscated because we are not a members of the predominant religion in the area of the country in which we live.

Our Founding Fathers may not have used the phrase "separation of church and state" but you can bet they "did their homework." They were well aware that around this world and across time only the mosquito has been responsible for more death and human suffering than the righteously religious wielding the power of the state.

You stay focused on those trees, Mr. Gray, the rest of us will stand back and admire the forest!

Gary Stussie,

Lawrence

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