Jean Helen Mason (Letters, March 19) has a very quaint view of Christianity if she thinks it is, or ever has been, a peaceful religion.

It is precisely because George W Bush and Tony Blair are devout Christians we find ourselves at war.

The White House has been almost entirely overrun by representatives of the religious Right.

It's not uncommon to see White House functionaries hurrying down corridors carrying bibles.

George W Bush, famously "born again" at the age of 40 (though one cannot help but wish he had never been born at all), is entirely convinced Providence is on his side and, in this respect, is no better than the New England Puritans who regarded themselves the new chosen people, successors to the biblical Israelites.

In Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford recounts how Providence empowered 50 pilgrims to dispatch 400 Pequot Indians by setting fire to the fort in which they were sleeping: "It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."

On March 17, the US daily newspaper the Star Tribune carried an article by Freethinker correspondent Gary Sloan, who wrote: "President Bush often sounds like a Puritan theocrat he envisions the world as a moral battleground between Good and Evil, the powers of Light pitted against the powers of Darkness

"When militant nationalism is bolstered by religious fervour, the world has reason to be leery. When heads of state view themselves as instruments of the divine will, they tend to be oblivious to mere human opinion, particularly when it differs from their own, since those who have God on their side always (as Henry David Thoreau said) constitute a majority of one.

To the anointed, wars are holy crusades. Supporters become saints, protesters reprobates... To squash the foreign devil, collateral damage of cataclysmic magnitude becomes justifiable - devastation of infrastructures, wrecking of world markets, maiming and killing of the innocent.

"To the soldier of the Lord, every war seems winnable. With God as ally, how can one fail? Ask Richard the Lionheart."

I suggest Ms Mason brushes up on her Bible before making claims for Christianity that have absolutely no foundation.

-Barry Duke, editor, The Freethinker, Viaduct Road, Brighton