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Reasons for Soviet Leader’s Use of Religious Imagery Suggested

Associated Press

Analyzing some religious usages of Soviet Communist party chief Mikhail Gorbachev, the National Catholic Reporter suggests several possible explanations, including:

--That his phrases, such as “God on high,” were Slavic cultural usages rather than reflecting any personal belief and were directed at U.S. believers.

--That his phrasing may also have been directed to home consumption because of increased religious belief there, according to Prof. Gerald Michaelson of the University of Kansas Slavic languages department. “There is a resurgence of religious belief within the Soviet Union and an increased respect for belief----even by those of no belief-- as part of the venerable Russian past and the religious underpinning of the country,” he said.

Gorbachev, in an interview with Time magazine, said, “God on high has not refused to give us enough wisdom to find ways to bring improvement. . . in the relations of the two great nations on earth, nations on whom depends the very destiny of civilization.”

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He also referred to “mortal sin,” ascribing to the United States “every mortal sin, from unleashing the arms race to aggression in the Middle East.”


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