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Homegrown Democrat quote 15

What bewilders me about Republicans is the coalition of the corporate Bourbon wing of the party and the Bible wing, two groups with little in common, but the Bible wing supplies the votes and the Bourbons take most of the booty. The Bourbons get tax cuts and deregulation and the Bibleists get a few vague gestures on symbolic issues such as gay marriage and school prayer. Like the Pharisees, the Bibleists enjoy public displays of religion. A roomful of movers and shakers gathered for a prayer breakfast that is all about bonding, backslapping, hobnobbing, and the prayers are read off 3X5 index cards, and there is a complete lack of heartfelt witnessing as you'd find among people of faith. At the prayer break fast, if the Holy Spirit speaks, it is always in favor of tax cuts and less government regulation and preemptive military action. The Holy Spirit never comes out in favor of anything without clearing it with the Republican Party. The Bibleists vow to put God back in the public schools, as if He were a small plaster icon and not the Creator of the universe. Evidently, when they hear public prayer, they sense the Spirit's presence. I don't. The public invocation (0 Thou Who didst turn water into wine, bless, we beseech Thee, this conference of the Water Sanitation Engineers of the North Central District. . .) is a piece of sanctimonious boilerplate with the spiritual weight of a postage stamp. It has no connection to true prayer, the throwing of myself down in the presence of the Creator: Lord have mercy, Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world have mercy upon us. Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Saying the names of loved ones, putting myself wordlessly under God's wing. That is true prayer. Pharisee prayer is simply a political speech that is addressed to God, as if He needed instruction, Why are the Pharisees so willing to exploit the Christian faith for political mileage? They will have to answer that; I can't. But God is not mocked and does not find political cynicism appealing in any way. Faith is private. It demonstrates itself in good works and love of neighbors but it doesn't need to puff up and blow a horn and bang on kitchen pans. Everyone must look in his own heart and ask, Do I really believe or do I not? Jews do this in the fall and Christians in early spring, during Lent. Most people do not believe. They have tried to believe and they wish they did believe and are sorry they don't, because they like to be around people who do, so they come to church, and enjoy the music and decor and the hallowedness of it all, but the faith is not in them. They don't need to tell me about it - they only need to answer to God on this matter. He will understand if the answer is no. He already knew that. The tragedy is when people who don't believe are so tortured by their unbelief that they set out to scourge their fellow unbelievers. When you try to find the love of Christ at work in the Republican Party, it may take you awhile. The Christian Coalition was a Republican front with about as much to do with the Christian faith as the Elks Club has to do with large hoofed animals."

That's a quote from p. 207-209 of Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts From the Heart of America by Garrison Keillor.  I read it during our get-away trip to the UP.  Get yourself a copy or ask to borrow mine.

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