Amen to Fritz Ritsch's commentary "Of God, and Man, in the Oval Office" [Outlook, March 2]. I have no problem with a president who brings humble religious sensibilities to the job. Religion has played a crucial role in our history and in world affairs. What bothers me is the way the White House remains cocksure and aloof while the rest of us grapple with some thorny political, diplomatic, military and, yes, religious issues.

How do we combat terrorists and rogue dictators without igniting a wider conflict?

How can America leverage its superpower status for the good of the world without appearing arrogant -- and while seeing to its national interests?

How do we demonstrate our commitment to the ideals of liberty, peace and brotherly love while protecting ourselves from those who would break the peace at home and abroad?

I know that other countries are led by small groups of men who claim to know all the answers, who show disdain for legislative bodies and act contrary to their own appointed experts, and who spurn international opinion. They may even try to stifle opposition by claiming divine sanction for their actions. But this is not what I expect in America.

Where religion is concerned, it should inform and enrich, but not be confused with, civil and political discourse. It should not be a substitute for persuasive and responsive democratic leadership. Before conceding the president the moral high ground, every one of us should stop to ask whether he has earned it.

MATTHEW MacARTHUR

Springfield