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Christian Coalition Critique

The front-page article ''The Kingdom and the Clout of the Christian Coalition,'' Sept. 8, carefully steered clear of the alarming characteristics of this growing movement.

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While the group has softened its rhetoric in order to broaden its appeal, it has at its theological core ''Christian Reconstruction'' and ''Dominion Theology.''

By blending its political beliefs with its personal interpretation of Scripture, the Christian Coalition portrays any opposing group as the work of Satan. From this platform it can justify vitriolic attacks on human rights groups, homosexuals, and the National Organization for Women. We need to watch carefully any group that designs its messages to appeal to our base fears - especially when those fears develop into anger and hate directed at certain types or classes of people.

Todd Herzer Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed wants us to ''turn around the moral decay and the coarsening of culture that has afflicted our country for the last 30 years.''

So, what was the country before that? There was formal segregation in the South and lynching for the horrible crime of encouraging black citizens to vote. Surely the last 30 years of the 19th century were a paragon of upright living and family values. Surely the society of the Founding Fathers met Mr. Reed's criteria.

Well, not quite. There was slavery, with blacks tortured and executed for the great crime of trying to escape to freedom, and families separated by greedy owners.

And I wouldn't call young children laboring for excessive hours under dangerous conditions particularly consistent with family values.

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We should acknowledge our successes and seek real solutions to today's problems without simply looking back with rose-tinted glasses.

Stuart Tyson Smith Los Angeles

Those in government positions who are influenced by the Christian Coalition impose exclusion upon many individuals within our country. The 34 percent drop in scientific research funding over the next six years projected by Congress's budget resolution is just one example of how an imposed belief system can place a limitation on rational discussion.

It is cause for concern when global economic issues and international policy issues become cloaked in the rhetoric of moral values. Philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset said ''liberal democracy is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded this planet.''

He also said it is too difficult to attain. As a nation we should try to attain the difficult rather than cover our eyes to the changing realities of our globe.

Lynn M. Helfrich Cary, N.C.

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