Monday, April 17, 2006

Sermon from an Irreverent Reverend

CrossWalk America is a nationwide trek from Phoenix to D.C. that started on Easter Sunday. Its purpose is to show the world that not all Christian-Americans are neocon fanatics. Quite understandably, this walk will avoid about 95 percent of the South. CrossWalk America will be peppered with concurrent activities such as services and speeches. While reading about this, I wondered what kind of speech I would make were I to somehow get involved in this. So once again, I favor you with a piece of writing about something in which I have no business getting involved:

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s a real honor and privilege to be here today to share in these festivities. I am very happy to see an event such as CrossWalk America, and wish we could have lots more of these. Nothing says social change like reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and working off America’s obesity problem, all in one fell swoop!

“In all honesty, I don’t know if I’m qualified to talk about religion. I’m no practitioner. I don’t align myself with any denomination, don’t attend church and don’t follow any specific rituals. I do occasionally engage in a form of prayer, though it usually involves pacing around and talking to myself. If I did the same thing on the streets of New York City, they’d have me locked up. But then again, the religious right seems just as unqualified as I do to talk about this stuff, so why not?

"Believe it or not, I do agree with the far right in one respect: religion is definitely under attack in the United States. The so-called 'culture war' is threatening to tear apart our moral fabric. Our legislators seek to suppress moral standards, and judicial activism threatens to dismantle the moral apparatus of our system of law.

"What the religious right fails to see, however, is that they are the ones causing this division in society. The 'culture war' came about only when the far right clashed with the mainstream. The current administration and Congress has done all it can to erode the wedge between church and state. Our president claims to invoke God's will.

"For all of their pontificating in the name of God, what do we have to show for it? Warfare all over the world. Rapid erosion of the middle class in society. Massive cuts in programs to help the poor, meek and infirm. The return of federal executions. Executive arrogance. If these are principles culled from the Bible, then it must be from some obscure book I haven't read. This scares me, as it should anyone who prefers their deepest beliefs to be personal and not used for partisan political gain.

"This perverse interpretation of Christianity is especially prevalent among the Bush White House. They can barely go a few minutes without working in some sort of divine justification for their actions. But what philosophies really drive their acts? Guilt, fear, repression, pressure to conform and moral certitude. These traits all arise from the dark side of religion, seen in shameful efforts such as the Inquisition and the Crusades. Historically, the peaceful teachings of the world's religions were inevitably corrupted by centuries of successors who wrestled for control of the people. It’s a struggle that continues today, and yet has done nothing to promote the basic tenets of that for which they fight so hard.

"You need concern yourself with none of this. Your beliefs should always arise from within, not from what others tell you to believe. No two people are exactly alike, and most people are nothing alike. So how can something as infinite as a relationship with the universe and/or higher powers have exactly one avenue?

“No one knows the real answer to life’s mystery. No one. And we will probably never know on this plane. All anyone needs to do is embrace such virtues as peace, humility, sacrifice, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and love. Live every day with those qualities in your life and everything else will fall into place.

“As we walk today, let us all remember that one man who took on a similar journey, uniting a people in the process. He was a meek man who saw much in his lifetime but who never let up. His existence and his actions have been an inspiration to all of America and the world.

“But enough about Forrest Gump. Jesus, God, Buddha and Mohammed have inspired billions to be merciful. It’s time to reclaim the world from those who emptily claim piety for their own destructive purposes. For those of you who feel that times are growing increasingly bleak, I quote my favorite proverb: ‘This too shall pass.’

“It’s our turn.”


Speechie said...

Mr. Reporter...excuse me...Mr. Columnissssssst have done something today that has not been done in a long time.

You have very deeply and very truly inspired me. Of course, you have inspired me several times to write fiery blogs and the like, but I mean emotionally and spiritually.

Your words were truthful and full of a spiritual (not religious, mind you) fervor that I was surprised (pleasantly) to find coming from you. It's not that I was unaware that you had it in you. I just didn't think you would ever shout it from the rooftops. So here's your pat on the back *pat on the back*

And of course, since you made the religious post, I get to say the all-high lines of meaning to my life and my spiritual choices which I will someday explain in a blog so people will stop confusing what the Buddha meant :)...

"But if you find truth in any religion or philosophy then accept that truth without prejudice."

Phillip said...

to amuse myself i read your sermon with a fire-and-brimstone jonathan edwards bent in my mind, very drole.

did you know w. didn't go to church sunday? for true.

also, the 1.4 million pound bomb they're going to detonate in nevada on june 2 has been dubbed "divine strake." from what i've heard there are numerous "divine"-named defense programs in the works, including "divine hate." i don't know the details of that one though.

armageddon anyone?

T-Mac said...

Good call, nicely put. :-)