Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It is as generic and universal a prayer as can be crafted

[Originally posted at Slacktivist.]

Inspired by the goings on in Sussex County: Delaware:

The county has argued that the Lord’s Prayer is not an exclusively Christian prayer, and its themes are universal; thus, its public recitation by a government body is legal.
In a recent court filing, an attorney defending the county wrote: “It is as generic and universal a prayer as can be crafted, inoffensive in its non-denominational textual statements of supplication and belief, and as all-inclusive as a prayer may reasonably be.”

Our Father, who may be female or generdless or polygendered or just plain multiple and who may or may not have a relationship with us and might not even exist at all, who art in heaven, by which we mean whereever her/she/it/they happens to be, or indeed not be since we've established that he/she/it/they might not exist in the first place.

hallowed be thy name, if you have a name and you're into that sort of thing.

Thy kingdom queendom, monarchy, polyarchy, autocracy, democracy, thalassocracy, communal cooperative of equals, anarchy, whatever come or go, or stay, or stay away, or move in a path that is neither coming nor going, or be entirely hypothetical, or do things that cannot be described by simple verbs of motion.

Thy will be done unless you're evil, or nonexistent, or you don't have a will, or you're good but I'm evil, or your will is contradictory, or you're actually having a bad day and you want things that you wouldn't actually want if you were in a healthy state of mind (do you need a hug?) or maybe you... ok, you know what, we're moving onto the next line whether you will it or not.

on earth or elsewhere, I hear mars is nice this time of year, as it is in heaven for the value of heaven described earlier, assuming things are going well there, if it exists which, as previously established, it might not just as you might not, plus maybe we should get a look at how that worked out in heaven first, are you even in charge in heaven? I'm not sure we can assume that. If in heaven your will is constantly thwarted perhaps we want it to be done on earth as it isn't heaven, unless we don't want your will done in the first place, and ... Moving On:

Give us this day our daily bread, respecting our deitary concerns which might not allow for bread, also not all of us like bread, and maybe you don't have a lot of bread to give and we really don't want to impose, unless we do, and what if you're out of bread, and what if we're fasting today, and what if we're convinced that you have nothing to do with us getting bread, and really I think what we're saying here is that we want food, except when we don't, and that might not really have all that much to do with you who might not care about feeding us and indeed might not exist. Though I hope you're eating well, but that's just me and I don't speak for everyone.

and forgive us our trespasses, unless we don't think we ought to be forgiven or we think that you're not the one to do it, or any number of other things.

as we forgive those who trespass against us, except when we don't,

and lead us not into temptation, unless we want to be tempted, a little temptation might be a good thing now and then, and I'm not convinced that all of us really want to follow where you lead, you might be evil, or mindless, or nonexistent, and some of us have had bad experiences with GPS, and I want to know a little bit more about your track record, are you a good trip leader? do you have references?

but deliver us from evil unless we're into that sort of thing. Perhaps we like peril. Peril can be fun. Plus not all of us are convinced of your delivery prowess or indeed your ability to tell good from evil. And maybe we're not particularly interested in being delivered today regardless. I think that this is probably something to be decided on a case by case basis, so ask first. Unless the person told you not to I mean. You should have a pretty good idea, unless you don't, which you might not, so omit the word "should" from the previous and replace it with "might".

[Parenthetical begins]
For thine is possibly but not necessarily the kingdom, or queendom, or democracy, or ... have we done this before? I think we've done this before. So perhaps you should think back to that, but I will add that it's possible that it's just a [thingy] and not the [thingy] since some of us heard that they come in six packs, if they come at all, there are rumors on the internets that it might not even exist.

and the power, or lack of power, or willful decision not to use power, or state of being overpowered, or whatchamacallit. Probably whatchamacallit but there is a lack of agreement on this point so just go with it, and the glory, or not, it might not be glory, some of us don't think you're all that glorious, others think you're as glorious as can be, and it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out some of us think you're named Gloria

for ever and ever while supplies last, void where prohibited, and all that jazz. Do you like Jazz? Opinions vary. We're really not sure, the point is that the whole "thine is the [thingy] and whatchamacallit and disputed glory," thing is for a certain amount of time, we're not sure what, ranging anywhere from no time at all to all of eternity.

[Parenthetical ends]

Amen Or not. Perhaps not. What does "Amen" even mean? Someone will no doubt pop up to tell me but I think we can be quite sure that not everyone knows.


  1. wikipedia says amen means "so be it truly" in hebrew

  2. "respecting our deitary concerns"

    If this wasn't intentional, I'm at least giving credit to your subconscious.

  3. Like one word currency the credit has to go to the parts of me of which I am unaware. For some reason whenever I try to write "one word currency" I end up writing "one word religion" on the first try. Would it be the same word? Would that word be fnord?

  4. I thought I had read this when you originally wrote it, but I must have not got all the way through it, probably because I was laughing too hard. I also laughed to hard this time, and had a huge coughing fit. It reminds me of Terry Prachett and I love it.

  5. "I hope you're eating well" made me burst out laughing, as did your request for references. This is quite probably my favourite prayer ever.

  6. and you're into that sort of thing

    I love the respect for the perhaps/maybe you exist but maybe not diety.

    or move in a path that is neither coming nor going, or be entirely hypothetical, or do things that cannot be described by simple verbs of motion.

    And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom. (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Simpsons/Season_8)

    The request for references is very, very good indeed.

    Although I personally end the Lord's Prayer with "For yours is the love that binds us together." Got that from an awesome pair of Catholic nuns that run a semi-commune / social justice community in rural Maine. But you know, that's just me.

  7. I'm now imagining two people on stage reading this out. It could go down well.

    It reminded a friend of mine of the rather excellent Unitarian Jihad. I think yours is actually better, but I could be biased.


  8. This is fantastic.

  9. (Wandering by belatedly because I am reading All The Ana Mardoll.)

    Every so often I run into someone who wants me to agree to "God bless America", and, speaking as a polytheist with a particularly ... difficult ... patron, I sometimes find it hard to resist responding "I have a horrible suspicion he already has."

    1. I am quite curious, who is your patron?

      If you don't mind sharing that information, of course. Wouldn't want to pressure you or anything.

    2. And then I feel silly for asking when I see that your name means worshiper of Hathor.

    3. And it gets worse when I notice you said, "he." which Hathor is not. But having taken the time to look around at your blog, I think I now understand who your patron is.

    4. Woop, sorry, the email address attached here isn't one I'm reliable about checking. ;)

      In that context, I was referring to Big Red, the Cosmic Asshole, more commonly known as Set or Sutekh.

  10. Entertaining - but I think it would be better if it wasn't reaching at times. And I was always told Amen means so be it. Wiki gives verily or truly as more common translations.

    1. Entertaining


      but I think it would be better if it wasn't reaching at times.

      How so? I'm really not sure exactly what you're talking about.