A hot topic in the Thom Hartmann forums has been "What's the matter with supernaturalism," and it has generated pages and pages of enjoyable, and sometimes daft, comments. People like to comment, I believe, because supernaturalism dovetails with spiritualism, which dovetails with religion, which dovetails with culture, which dovetails with politics, and eventually dovetails with government. Therein lies the matter with spiritualism, i.e. its connection with government. The U.S. Constitution allows for separation of church and state, or at least the prohibition against establishing a state sanctioned religion, but of course there is a strong religious connection in many parts of this country which makes the boundary between church and state ill-defined. In other countries, such as The Islamic Republic of Iran, there is virtually no such boundary. Thus, the establishing of a tenuous communication between the U.S. and Iran is quite an important advance, especially in the field of nuclear arms. During the Cold War, the principle of MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction based on reciprocal nuclear holocaust, was a major operating principal. Despite the United States' religious bent, our leaders, both civilian and military, could be informed by our church/state separation, and Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan never struck me as terribly religious, despite Ronald Reagan's cynical campaign statement that he had "a born again experience." The Soviet Union was by principle atheistic. The end result was a lack in the belief in an afterlife, and thus nuclear annihilation was a literal dead end street. What makes me worried is that the leaders in Iran may have no compunction in sending themselves and their citizens to the afterlife, with promises of a martyr's reward, and the MAD principle will not have as much clout.