A confession: I read my news out of order. Yesterday, I read the letter that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent to President George W. Bush. What with all its talk of monotheism, I did not like it:

Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.
We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point - that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is : Do you not want to join them?

No, I certainly do not. Ahmadinejad seems to be suggesting that the United States and countries of the world become religious states on the Iranian model. This idea seems especially scary after today's reading of Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi's article in April 9's New York Times Magazine, Reading a Death Warrant in Tehran. She describe reading evidence in a case where "rogue" members of an Iranian intelligence agency killed intellectual critics of the regime.
I had reached a page more detailed, and more narrative, than any previous section, and I slowed down to focus. It was the transcript of a conversation between a government minister and a member of the death squad during the worst wave of killings. When my eyes first fell on the sentence that would haunt me for years to come, I thought I had misread. I blinked once, but it stared back at me from the page: "The next person to be killed is Shirin Ebadi." Me.

She goes on to describe how the minister and the assassin decide that it is permissible to kill Ebadi during Ramadan because she has "abandoned" God. While it is true that the Iranian government would probably be just as authoritarian and disrespectful of human rights if it was secular, its religious nature just gives it additional justification for its actions.