Just to cleanse the spiritual palate, brethren, I invoke Brother Tull to share with us a musical interlude.
This song has been running through my head a good bit lately. (Seeing “all the bishops” — or at least, all the Anglican clergy — lined up and harmonizing at Jason’s ordination the other day was but one instance in which it has come to mind.) You may find that interesting, in connection with my outrage at the tawdry way Rick Perry is trying to wind God up and make him toddle across the room, beating a toy drum that says “Perry for President.”
Perry’s message, considered most charitably, is after all that God has a place in the public square. He’s not supposed to be kept in a steepled ghetto. God is for every day, not an hour on Sunday.
I agree with that with all my heart and soul. God, properly considered, is for every day, every moment. (For that matter, it’s not for us to say what God’s for; it’s up to us to figure out what WE’RE intended for.) That’s one reason I like this song.
But I would submit that that includes the moments in which you try to exploit God to your own ends. You don’t wind him up then, either. Rather, you endeavor to alter yourself to fit His expectations.
This is a tough thing to talk about because we’re not supposed to judge, either — are we? So people get away with some really horrific stuff, because who are we to say? If another man testifies that this is how he experiences God, who are we to condemn?
And so people get away with all sorts of stuff, and if we protest, we are painted as being one of those who wants to keep God in a box.
And there are such people. Good, well-meaning people, quite often — although they are confused. They confuse the First Amendment with Jefferson’s views (when he wasn’t involved with it), and then go the further step of assuming that a ban on establishment of religion by Congress implies that we individual citizens (and that includes officeholders) are not supposed to talk about religion in the public sphere.
They are wrong. And their wrongness is all the more wrong because they create a space in which someone like Perry can construct a lie about a “war on religion.” And everything just gets worse. They are wrong, and he is wrong, and I suppose I’m wrong, too, for judging both.
But I feel better when I listen to the music. Don’t think you have to turn up your speakers when it starts out so soft. It builds.