Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Welfare Religion

I wrote this song after my experiences working with people who bragged about being "born again". It didn't keep them from being mean dishonest liars. I started asking them how being "born again" had changed how they treated other people. Not a single one said it had any effect. They ALL looked puzzled at the idea. They admitted it hadn't, but said it made them feel so good.

The on-line book "The Authoritarians" refers to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's coining of the phrase "cheap grace", in chapter 4:
"Cheap Grace. Unfortunately, fundamentalist Protestantism may directly promote hypocrisy among its members through one of its major theological principles: that if one accepts Jesus as a personal savior and asks for the forgiveness of one’s sins, one will be saved. But a lot depends on what “accepts” means. Is one’s life transformed? Do good works increase? Is the born-again person more like Jesus, holier? That would be all to the good. But because of some evangelist preachers, the interpretation has grown that all “accepts” means is a one-time verbal commitment. You say the magic words and you go to heaven, no matter what kind of life you lead afterwards. Many have thought that a pretty sweet deal. You’ve conned a free pass through the Pearly Gates from the Almighty and you can sin and debauch all you want for the rest of your life. "

A nifty phrase. It describes what my poem/song "Welfare Religion" is about. And I have incorporated it into the song.
If you read the Bible, you know that is not what Jesus said. Eg., Matthew 25.

When sung, the last verse is the chorus.

Welfare Religion
copyright Patricia M. Shannon 1996

What would Jesus think if He came to earth today?
Do you think He would be happy with all the folks who say:
"I am saved, alleluia, and I'll live forever more".
But they would never think of giving comfort to the poor.

They say they believe in Jesus and the Bible is all true,
but they ignore what He did say in Chapter 25 of Matthew:
What you do for the less fortunate, you've done it unto Me,
and where you go after you're dead depends upon your deeds.

They say "I feel so good because I have been born again.
And what's that got to do with how I treat my fellow men?
Jesus loves me, this I know, He loves only myself;
it's true, because He doesn't care how I treat anybody else.

I believe in Jesus, no need to change my ways,
just massage His ego once or twice a day.
I believe in Jesus, all it takes is that cheap grace,
to get me into heaven, the perfect welfare state.

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