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In The Near Distant Future, A Christian Looks Back With Regret

Remember the days when “Majority rules!”
Was the rallying cry in our town halls and schools?
We’d meet by the hundreds and kick up a fuss—
The majority, then, were the People Like Us.
The People Like Us (or for short, PLU’s)
Were the people believing in similar views;
PLU’s making up the majority there,
We wanted our meetings begun with a prayer
It would always be Christian, or often enough
We could simply ignore the minority stuff;
At most, we’d be waiting for maybe a week
Till the time when a Christian had our turn to speak.

We wanted the prayer to be part of the law
The majority view was the way that we saw!
Town meetings that open by praying to Jesus
Are all that we wanted… and all that would please us.
So we voted. Of course, when the vote went our way,
We were happy, cos all PLU’s had their say
Because we had the power to get something done
And minority groups held but little or none
And everyone listened, when we gave the word,
And no one complained… at least, no one we heard.
The majority’s right; the majority’s strong;
The majority voted… so what could go wrong?

We’d never considered… the thought was too strange…
But the fact is that, sometimes, majorities… change.
We were once the majority—my, we were proud;
We demanded our way! We were brash! We were loud!
How I wish we’d thought then, because now is too late,
Of the dangerous mixing between church and state,
And I wish we’d considered some sort of a wall
So the church and the state couldn’t mingle at all
Because government prayer is a thing we condemn,
Now the voting majority’s People Like Them
We got what we wanted, so we hold the blame…
It’s majority rules! What a shame! What a shame!

So a recent new follower of mine on twitter is the communications director for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. These folks are looking at Greece, NY, as a landmark case that will help to codify government-led prayer. The above verse is my thinking–I cannot imagine why any religious person would ever willingly choose to give the government the power to back a specific religious view (or even a general one). History is full of the waxing and waning of faith communities; a “majority rules” that favors your religion today is the same law that confers second-class status on you tomorrow. Giving up your independence to hitch yourself to power seems like a good idea when the power goes your way… but the success of religions in the US comes from their independence from government, not from their close ties.

Comments

  1. Pen says

    This is a slightly tangential observation about church state links and the increased multiculturalism of European societies. On the one hand you have determinedly secular France and on the other, Britain, with the state sponsored C of E and compulsory religious education / prayer in schools. Which should fare best?

    Paradoxically, it’s been Britain – these rules were in place but there was no real appetite to force Christianity on people so Islam, Hinduism, etc were integrated into the system. Rabbis speak on the state channel’s religious broadcasts, schools visit gurdwaras and the prayers morphed into ‘morally uplifting’ talks, based, perhaps, on Aesop’s fables. My daughter is currently being taught Descartes by a buddhist teacher in RE. I suppose they may touch on Christianity eventually. France had no way (and no motivation?) to integrate it’s mostly muslim newcomers as muslims and I can understand them feeling horribly frozen out. Britain is not perfect but I think anyone who’s tried both will agree that it’s faring better as a multicultural society than France.

    This doesn’t apply in any strict sense to the US which started off, at least officially, with separation of church and state and has seemed constantly threatened with exclusively minded Christian takeovers in my lifetime. No doubt the solution is to insist on equal representation for pagans, muslims, atheists, et al.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    If you can imagine people with little knowledge of history, and most of that systematically skewed, you can imagine why the hyperchristians act the way they do.

    Besides, Jesus will come back and destroy the world (in order to Save it) before People Like Them can take over – and his friends will put some special voting requirements in to keep it like that just in case he dawdles along the way.

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