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Dear Friends,

I have written on a lot of different projects over the past month or so, but my favorite piece of writing probably won't be seen by many people, so I thought I might be a bit self-indulgent and include it here.

There is a point to all of this, by the way - it's about using your writing to express things in the outside world. The more I write, the more I expand the forms of writing that I tackle. I've written everything from haiku to commercials to speeches to bumper stickers to novels. I didn't say the novels or the poetry were good - but they certainly were compelling enough for me to spend the time writing them.

Anyway, the particular piece of writing I'm referring to was a letter to the L.A. Times editor I wrote in response to their bizarre editorial decrying the decision to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Now I, being the first one to bring up any argument on religion or politics, love when I can procrastinate with a nice strongly worded letter, so here's what I wrote:

>>Your recent editorial ("A Godforsaken Ruling") labels the 9th Circuit Court's decision "a cure without an ailment," arguing that, because "references to the Almighty have long been an integral part of everyday American life," - e.g., in oaths, on money, in Presidential inaugurations, and in "God Bless America," - that they must be all right. But certainly you're not claiming that just because something's a tradition - or is voted upon by Congress - that it is automatically right, or constitutional. American history is rife with examples of traditions that were both unconstitutional and wrong - slavery, segregation, denying women the vote, prayer in schools, and many others, including, of course, the inclusion of "In God We Trust" on currency in 1864. If this last one doesn't seem so bad, imagine if the words were "In Allah We Trust" and you'll better understand what it feels like to be constantly bombarded with unwelcome religious messages, even when your country is supposedly based on religious neutrality.

The rise of religion in government is not only an ailment, but a dangerous disease that underlies violence, corruption, oppression, and suffering in dozens of nations around the world, and almost certainly contributed to the tragedies of Sept. 11.

God belongs in church and at home. Not in public schools, courtrooms, inaugurations, Presidential speeches, Congress, money, or my tax dollars. For Heaven's sake, please, let's leave theocracy to Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and others, and remember that the Founding Fathers formed America as One Nation under the Constitutional - not God, Allah, L. Ron Hubbard, or Congress.<<

Direct comments, insults, or threats to: EmailGrady@aol.com




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