The Ballad Of Bryan Griem

Once, a low, disgusting man
Who believed he knew God’s plan
And whose prejudice was nothing less than sinister;
Gave his honest Christian views
To the people in the news
He’s the Reverend Bryan Griem—and he’s a minister.

(rest of the ballad–and a bit of a rant–after the jump)

From the high and lofty perch
Of the reverend in his church
Comes the truth inside what passes for his heart
Oh, he loves his fellow man
In the way a preacher can
Ah, but atheists, in mankind, play no part.

With no faith in God above
They’re not worthy of His love
So it’s “atheists be damned”, and so they will!
Bryan doesn’t really care
How an atheist might fare
If they die, at least the worms will eat their fill!

If it’s “what would Jesus do?”
That informs your point of view
Take a good look at the minister, and see—
“Love thy neighbor as thyself”
Keep that book up on the shelf
Come on, Christians, slog the atheists with me!

In the sermon on the mount
Christ said atheists don’t count
Undeserving of our mercy, love, and light
If the godless try to speak
Don’t you turn the other cheek!
Judge them now, cos it’s your holy Christian right!

Lord, it really makes me sick
When some godless heathen prick
Claims he’s fighting for the constitution’s sake
And could lose his life one day
In defense of what I say
Because thanking him is more than I can take

It could happen—it may well,
That he’ll die and go to Hell
For my right to call him evil, weak, and small
He’ll be dead, cold, and alone,
With no cross upon his stone
Cos he never knew that Jesus loves us all

Go here. Read this. When the steam stops coming out of your ears, in a week or two, come back.

One of my all-time favorite students is currently in Afghanistan. He calls me his “atheist friend”. They don’t make people better than this soldier. He is risking his life, in part, to defend our (his and my) right to disagree with one another on The Big Questions. He knows this, and the only payment he will accept is that I won’t ever let him buy a round of drinks. He’s currently in his 5th or 6th tour. I really love this guy; he’s the only one of my former students I have on speed-dial.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be. People are people–we have friends whose beliefs are different from ours, and so the fuck what? I even have friends (ok, one–no, two, including a relative) who are Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

This Bryan Griem is an utter ass. He is the worst possible advertisement for religion that I can think of (and yeah, there is some steep competition there!). Every preacher I have known in person has been… human. Griem fails that test.

And yet… would I wish him harm? No! Of course not! What sort of human being does that? Ah. Well.. Yeah. That kind. Bryan Griem.

Y’know? So what? So he’s an ass. My student, my friend is defending his right to be an ass. As are more atheists that Griem would be comfortable admitting exist.

Not that it matters… my student? My friend? Yeah, well, he’s a Muslim. I wonder if that is better or worse in Griem’s eyes.

Actually, no, I don’t wonder. I don’t give a flying fuck whether Griem approves of my friend, or of me, or of anything at all. I wish him a long, long life, and with it, the perspective of seeing himself through others’ eyes.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    I wish him a long, long life, and with it, the perspective of seeing himself through others’ eyes.

    Damn, you’re mean!

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Pierce–do you recall Dunbar, in Catch-22?

    “What else is there?”

    If Griem has the choice between nothingness and a life spent seeing himself through others’ eyes… isn’t it a blessing to wish him the more agonizing of the two?

    I mean… what else is there?

    And thank you, F, though I didn’t say anything that anyone reading the minister’s words didn’t already think.

  3. otrame says

    This ….

    I try really hard not to hate. It’s bad for you. But when I think of all the atheist soldiers out there fighting…

    If there is a god and there is justice, it won’t be my atheist son (two tours in Iraq) who will be frowned on.

    But though I wouldn’t even wish Griem into hell, I like the idea of him being able to know, in the depths of his heart, what I think of him. What any decent human being thinks of him.

  4. John Hodges says

    Assume for the sake of argument that everything he says about atheists is correct. They still might be better soldiers than Christians. With Christians, you have the risk that they might actually read the gospels and discover that Jesus told his followers to not resist one who is evil, but instead turn the other cheek, give him your cloak also, go with him a second mile, love your enemies, and so forth; basically to practice nonviolent pacifism.

  5. Timberwoof says

    I Googled “Bryan Griem”. The first eight entries are LinkedIn, Faithbook, and his church and semenary … but the ninth! Oh, the ninth Google hit on Bryan Griem is this page. I think Bryan Griem is going to have a bit of a Google Problem.

  6. echidna says

    Timberwoof, I was inspired by you to google “Bryan Griem”. The fourth hit on Bryan Griem was this page! I think you are on the money about the Rev Bryan Griem’s google problem.

  7. grumpyoldfart says

    The church deacons will be ringing around the flock, explaining that the pastor is copping some flak and they should all come to church next Sunday, just to demonstrate their solidarity.

    That will result in the biggest collection since last Easter and Griem will say to himself, “I’ll have to do this more often…”

  8. Justin Griffith says

    Well done! I liked the rant too. I kept ‘singing it’ with the poem, as if you tried to rapidly spit it all out in one breath hitting the right notes.

    Somewhere between a song and an auction.

  9. Bruce Gorton says


    Hate is good for you if done right
    It is the fire in the night
    Flames that injustice’s shadow scatters
    Crackle it cackles to darkness shatter
    And consumes the fuel it is fed
    Up into shades of gold and red

    But without reason and compassion’s taming
    To ash the curtains fall flaming
    It becomes deadly blaze filled with smoke
    Crackles, cackles it can blind and choke
    Consumes those who have it overfed
    Down to embers once gold now dead

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