May 6, 2010

Let us pray, or, like, whatever.

Dudes, it is the National Day of Prayer here in the good old U S of A, despite what some fuddy-duddy judge dude says.  Our founding fathers had the good sense to set up a system of government that separates church from state, and which leaves enough wiggle room for the state to cozy up to the church when it wants.  Cozying up is good.  I like cozying up, given the right cozy-up partner (that cozy photo there's me and Carrie Underwood).  And wiggle room is good, especially with that same cozy-up partner.  And really you can cozy up almost anywhere, especially if... sorry, lost my train of thought there.  What day is it?

Oh, right.  National Day of Prayer, which causes much angst and gnashing of teeth.  Did you know there's a group called Freedom from Religion Foundation?  I like the concept because, really, isn't freedom what this country's all about?  The pilgrims left Europe because the church didn't like the way they worshipped the old white-haired dude in the sky with the big beard and the magic finger.  Which is weird because all of them worshipped that same dude, from the same book.

But the Freedom from Religion Foundation has a really funky acronym.  FfRF.  Sounds like something a dog says when its got a tennis ball in its mouth, or the sound that comes out when you get latte foam up your nose by accident.  I think it's because of this funky sounding acronym that they are so wound up and tense over religion.  They think people are making fun of them, saying "FfRF" and giggling, so they feel like they have to prove themselves or something by being as militantly devoted to their cause as Franklin Graham is to his.

Here's what I think:  We don't need a National Day of Prayer.  Congress, back in the ancient days of the 50s or whenever, solved a problem that didn't exist and didn't need solving.  People who pray have like fifty-two days of prayer already.  Some people pray every day.  They really need another one where the government tells everyone who doesn't pray that we should all be praying?  On a Thursday in May?  This is necessary?

No, it's not necessary.  It doesn't help the spirituality of those who are already spiritual.  It doesn't create spirituality in those who aren't.  It's not like National Day of Prayer raises awareness of God.  National Day of Eating Fewer Trans-Fats, now that I could get behind.  It's practical, and there's a public health aspect to it.  But there's only one purpose a National Day of Prayer can serve, and that purpose involves solidifying the political power of the religious over the non-religious.

But instead of joining in that battle, I think I'll quote from two very wise men.
“Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.”
--The Dude
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”
--Abraham Lincoln
And, with one final thought from Mr. Lincoln, I say, "Happy National Day of Prayer."  Take it easy.


Ello - Ellen Oh said...

I am in the, like, whatever category. So let us all go and uh... abide.


Sarah Laurenson said...

Can we have a National Pagan Day? Or a National Chanting Day? Should be fair, you know.

My word ver is not FfRF. Hmph.

PJD said...

Ello, I can't imagine you being in any category but the abiding type, taking it easy. I've read your posts about your mom and about your daughters. You're the coolest cucumber around, I'm guessing.

Sarah, I think a National Day of Chanting could get really ugly. Some would chant "om" while others chant "U! S! A!" and others chant "Drill, baby drill!" And others still would chant "Grapes off campus!" Really and truly, I heard that chant from a protest march of about 80 people back in the late 1980s. I think I would opt for National Day of Hugs. Or National Day of Bowling.

Sarah Laurenson said...

You haven't experienced chanting until you've sat through a ceremony with everyone chanting rapidly in Japanese. At least I think it was Japanese.

Grapes? Really? Seems like I remember something about grapes from back then - vaguely.

PJD said...

Cesar Chavez. I think he did a hunger strike around then about the treatment of migrant farm workers in California in the grape industry.

My brother and some of his friends had come up to Berkeley for the afternoon, and we were hanging out on the green between Bancroft Library and the Campanile, and we hear chanting. The group comes up the hill, and we are trying to figure out what they're saying. My brother says, "I think they're saying, 'Eat more okra.'" My sister-in-law says, "No, they're saying 'Grapes off campus.'"

We all had a good laugh at that one, for sure.

Then the protest walked by, and sure enough they were chanting, "Grapes off campus!"

I love Berkeley.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

I don't know if I ever posted about his but maybe I should. My Mom is a devout Catholic. But growing up my Dad was a devout Buddhist. He converted to Catholism finally after 20 years of marriage after my Mom basically nagged the whole family into it. I was the last hold out. I waited until I had kids and decided that giving them one religion was a good idea because I was so confused growing up. My Mom dragged me to church for the first 6 years and then my Dad dragged me to Buddhist temple for the next 6 years. Both were terribly boring to me and I ran away from religion for a very long time. I'm at peace with my God but am still ambivalent at times about religion. It might be why I tend to be very tolerant in general because I find that religion can really constrict people's views of life.

Anyway - this was a long post in answer to Sarah and you on the chanting thing because man I endured 6 years of Buddhist chants and it was agony. I actually prefer mass. Short and sweet. In and out. Stand, kneel and sit. Chanting for 30 minutes sitting on the floor with your back straight was brutal.

NorthL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pacatrue said...

I just needed to say that Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is most excellent, surpassed only by their bogus journey.

I also wonder why you hate America.

JaneyV said...

It's a funny thing but I gave up religion a couple of years ago. The Bullcrap quotient just got way too much for me. Also it bore no resemblance to what I'd come to understand.

I'm all for abiding coz basically that's what it's all about!