OK, so I've been whistling R.E.M.'s classic "Losing My Religion" a heck of a lot more lately than "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." It's been that kind of an election cycle. And, yes, I know Michael Stipe really wasn't singing about religion per se back there in 1991 --- just channeling a colloquialism related more to losing one's patience or approaching the end of one's rope than to jumping the ship of faith.
But I'm wondering if, after all the lists of winners and losers have been compiled on Tuesday, the church isn't going to be among the big losers. The shift in my thinking has been --- yeah, not a bad thing.
Who can forget poor old Billy Graham, who did more to promote warm and fuzzy feelings about the born-again brigade than any other guy before or since, turned into a Republican campaign poster by his evil spawn, Franklin? Darned if I'll ever feel quite the same about "Just As I am."
And then how about those whacked out bishops? My maternal granddaddy, who like most protestants back in the day didn't care much for Catholics, is probably out there somewhere saying, "see, I told ya so."
The prize this week goes to Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria who has ordered priests in all parishes under his jurisdiction to read a letter at weekend Mass more or less saying, "vote Democrat and I'll see to it that you roast in hell."
I know, I know. Those who make the most noise get the most attention --- and we shouldn't hold the excesses of the loudest against the silent majority. But that's one of the perils of silence.
I'm trying. Honest. But darn it --- if I ever do win the grand prize in that endless series of Sacred Heart Church quilt raffles I'm giving that sucker to Planned Parenthood.