Sunday, December 18, 2022

The Christian Conundrum: The Constitution of the United States

I couldn’t help but count the number of times we praised the King. Everyone who sang the Christmas carols at our recent Symphony Orchestra concert repeated the childhood-ingrained lyrics by rote, without conscious thought. It was Christmas and we were singing the familiar and comforting family carols most of us European descendants were brought up with. Everyone bowed their heads to the King.

We automatically change demeanor when we hear the majestic, melodious harmonies coming from mere mortals and their self-made instruments. Political divisions dissolve and animosity toward others is temporarily suspended. The music does exactly what it was designed to do: subdue the masses. The overwhelming emotions induce a euphoric state where we hopefully envision qualifying for our next superior, everlasting plateau of existence. Basically, the music suspends logic with awe and wonderment, much to the delight of those smart enough to control the religion that controls you. We were praising a monarch, or more correctly the carefully crafted image of an absolute monarch, and we all did it without a second thought.

All religious leaders are absolute monarchs, even the Pope of the Catholic church although he is elected to the position by his peers. [According to Wikipedia: “In older times, and in some modern countries, the head of state has absolute power, this called an absolute monarchy which the Pope in the Vatican has.”] Therein lies the conflict with Christians: The Constitution was meticulously crafted to prevent a Monarch from ever being the Head of State in the United States of America.

The Lord and King who Christians enthusiastically and publicly celebrate twice a year, first at Easter and then again at Christmas, is prohibited from residing in the White House. So are his earth-bound, self-anointed representatives. The fact there would be a bloody war to see which dogma-enforcing mortals would represent the King in Washington DC is lost on most devoted followers, but the need for such a battle was carefully prevented by the thirty-nine members of the Constitution Convention who ratified the new Constitution on September 17, 1787. America was designed to be King-less.

We celebrate without conscious thought and belittle those who question either the intelligence of the ceremonies or even the economics of such an industry as religion. Yes, like it or not, religion is now an industry. A tax-free industry. There are many masters of the mighty religions who don’t have the slightest inclination to follow the dogmas they demand their followers adhere to. They know where the money and the power is and they know how to use mass psychology to induce blind worship to their product. Americans alone donated over 125 Billion dollars to churches in 2018. The riches of the Vatican places it as the 18th wealthiest country on earth1. Originally conceived by smart men to outwit strong men, the successful practitioners of religion mastered the science of mass communication and control and have only recently felt the sting of failing popularity.

The founding fathers of our country felt exactly as I feel now, that everyone is free to practice what ever form of religion they see fit and they specifically designed our country to be governed by us, by our own laws, and not by any religious deity. Religious deities are always run by monarchs, some of them cruel enough to burn other human beings alive as was done in New England, or to systematically hang other human beings as was done in the American South.

In my lifetime, a Christian Nation, steeped in a history of Christmas traditions and carols, killed and then incinerated over six million Jews. Even today, those born with traits or colors, deformities or abnormalities that disgust, or expose the hollowness of the thought of pious perfection, are persecuted by religious leaders of all types around the world, even in the United States of America where we gather annually to sing praise to a King we have carefully, meticulously, and most importantly, unanimously prevented from being our Head of State.

Random Notes:
Away in A Manger, first published in May 1884 in the “The Myrtle,” praises Lord or Lord Jesus is five times in just one stanza2.

The First Noel, Lord or King, five times3
Joy to the World,4 Lord or King, four times

Deck the Halls, originally a Welsh song celebrating New Years, has no reference to religion5

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!
'Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!
Don we now our gay apparel, Fa la la la la la la la!
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol, Fa la la la la la la la!

1- Kuznetsova, 2018

2 Away in a Manger is also known as Luther’s Cradle Hymn. For many years it was thought that the song was written by Martin Luther and sung by him to his children. It is now known that the song was written as part of a collection for Martin Luther's 400th anniversary. There is even speculation that the song was credited to Luther as a marketing gimmick to promote sales. The original form of the song was a two-stanza version and appeared to originate among German Lutherans in Pennsylvania in the early to mid 1880's.

3 The First Noel The melody is unusual among English folk melodies in that it consists of one musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a refrain which is a variation on that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. Writing in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society in 1915 Anne Gilchrist notes it was not recorded prior to Sandys' publication. She speculated based on a set of church gallery parts discovered in Westmorland that the tune may have had its origin as a treble part to another carol "Hark, hark what news the angels bring"; her suggestion was that the treble part was passed down orally and was later remembered as the melody rather than a harmony.A conjectural reconstruction of this earlier version can be found in the New Oxford Book of Carols.

4 Since 1719, “Joy to the World” has been a Christmas staple. Its lyrics were crafted by Isaac Watts, and to date, it remains one of the most-published

hymns in Northern America. However, the fun fact is, the song wasn’t even intended to be a Christmas carol, as its original version had no such link with Christmas. It wasn’t even supposed to be a song!

5 The popular "Deck the Halls" song is a Christmas carol that dates back to the sixteenth century. It wasn't always associated with Christmas, however; the melody comes from a Welsh winter song called "Nos Galan," which is actually about New Year's Eve.

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