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We are all following the heartbreaking story of the young women and children who have been removed from the Texas compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. It seems at least some of them have been subjected to unfathomable emotional and physical abuse, all in the name of God and religion.

You know I write and speak often about the nature of Islamic fundamentalism and the urgent obligation of the human family to speak with one voice against this perversion of religion. How can I not speak out today against the fundamentalism in this polygamous commune in Texas! It is an abomination of the name of God!

Today my new book, "The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for When Life Hurts," is released in bookstores and on the Internet. I have no desire to promote sales for financial gain (proceeds go to charity), but as I see so much suffering and watch the abuse of God’s name in these ways, I do feel the responsibility of making known the book’s message.

I believe confusion about the nature of God makes it impossible for us to see with clarity what he might have to say about why we suffer and how we can move forward and find peace and joy in the midst of our pain.

Fundamentalist views of all types distort God’s face and voice and are often the very cause for the tragic manipulation of the weak. Likewise, many modern depictions of God as distant and uninterested in our lives keep us from tapping into the natural and spiritual mechanisms we have within us to come through suffering as better people and not bitter people.

Since I am traveling in these days before the pope’s arrival, I don’t have time to write much more, but I couldn’t refuse expressing my concern for the victims of the fundamentalist sect in Texas and every other misuse of religion for selfish purposes.

The good news is that many people find great comfort and solace in the presence and action of a loving and powerful God who does care about our human affairs.

Now that the book is out, please write to me and tell me what you think. I wrote it for you.

God bless, Father Jonathan
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