In the story "By the Waters of Babylon" he says he came upon something that said "ASHING"  he said it was a god.  What was it really?

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What this thing really was was a statue of George Washington.  All that was left of the name is the letters you mention.  You can see this because he says that it is the statue of a man with the hair of a woman (because they wore their hair long in Revolutionary times).

This is important because it (along with some other clues) shows us that John is really not in the past or in some other world.  Instead, he is in the future.  It shows us that the Place of the Gods is New York City and that the city has been destroyed in some terrible war.

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