By citing Mikhail Gorbachev’s mention of “God on High,” and calling on Ronald Reagan to call his bluff at the summit, Father Regis Combs (Letters, Sept. 13) has given us a graphic example of the awful gap of misunderstanding that exists between our two countries.
The members of the Soviet political hierarchy have always been completely candid about their atheism. We might recall the U-2 spy plane flap when Nikita Khrushchev stated “Before God, my hands are clean.” His staff made it quite clear at that time that the use of God’s name in an ethical statement was merely a figure of speech in the modern Russian idiom. A holdover from pre-Revolution days, it is never intended to be taken literally.
To take Father Combs’ judgment seriously would be tantamount to claiming that old Roman gods are still worshipped in Britain because one sometimes hears the phrase, “By Jove.”
EDWARD B. KEELEY