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Social Issues: Letters

May 9, 1998
American Academy of Pediatrics News
PO Box 927
Elk Grove IL 60009-0927

Dear Editor,

I find it incredible that an article dealing with the emotional turmoil of children affected by the tragic Jonesboro shootings ("Disasters Demand Psychological Triage," May 1998) included absolutely no mention of religion, prayer or God (except that "AAP Resources" listed Diane Komp's book A Window to Heaven: When Children See Life in Death).

About 96% of Americans believe in God and about 66% state that religious faith is important in their life, even though the numbers for people in the mental health professions are much lower. It is only natural for people to turn to God in times of disaster, and prayer is quite common. In fact, the picture on page one of the article looks a lot like the group is praying, although the caption only says "students comfort one another."

Psychiatry has long devalued and even pathologized religion, and thus put itself outside the American mainstream. The data are now clear that religious faith is beneficial. Let us break the grip of political correctness and let God back into medicine.


Ross S.Olson MD
Minneapolis MN

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