Micheal Powell of the New York Times needs to get out his dictionary.
"China seems inclined to tighten its grip and wait out the aging leader, insisting, a bit improbably for a government that is officially atheist, that it has the legal right to designate the Dalai Lama’s next reincarnation." - January 31, 2009.
Reincarnation not tied to theism. Just one of those little things that I find amusing when Western (read: non-Buddhist) commentators try to express opinions about Buddhist traditions. Everything is seen through a theistic lens.
I caught a bit of The King and I on television last night, in which Yule Brenner's King was singing about confusion "Buddha in Heaven show the way!" This strikes me as a very Christian thing to do, to get down on one's knees and pray for divine guidance. Maybe that's what it looked like to Westerners visiting Siam a couple centuries ago.
We never can escape our preconceived notions, huh?