Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America

Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America by Robert S. McElvaine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Not a whole lot of new material in this book, although it is nice to have it all in one place. Since it’s a pretty new book, it’s also tied more into recent current events, such as the 2008 election. My only complaint is that the author tries too hard for “fun” in his word play. It was somewhat distracting at times. Still, overall it’s a very good book.

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I Hear America Singing (Walt Whitman): Sunday Poetry

Continuing our celebration of Independence Day, here’s a great poem by America’s most famous poet.


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morming, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

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Frottage (Dean Young): Sunday Poetry

How goofy and horrible is life. Just
look into the faces of the lovers
as they near their drastic destinations,
the horses lathered and fagged. Just
look at them handling the vase
priced beyond the rational beneath
the sign stating the store’s breakage
policy, and what is the rational but
a thing we must always break? I am not
the only one composed of fractious murmurs.
From the point of view of the clouds,
it is all inevitable and dispersed—
they vanish over the lands to reconstitute
over the seas, themselves again
but no longer themselves, what they wanted
they no longer want, daylight fidgets
across the frothy waves. Most days
you can’t even rub a piece of charcoal
across paper laid on some rough wood
without a lion appearing, a fish’s umbrella
skeleton. Once we believed it told us
something of ourselves. Once we even believed
in the diagnostic power of ants. Upon
the eyelids of the touched and suffering,
they’d exchange their secretive packets
like notes folded smaller than chemicals.
They told us nearly nothing, which
may have been enough now that we know
so much more. From the point of view
of the ant, the entire planet is a dream
quivering beneath an eyelid, and who’s to say
the planet isn’t. From the point of view
of the sufferer, it seems everything will
be taken from us except the sensation
of being crawled over. I believe everything
will be taken from us. Then given back
when it’s no longer what we want. We
are clouds, and terrible things happen
in clouds. The wolf’s mouth is full
of strawberries, the morning’s a phantom
hum of glories, morning glories.

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Sunday Poetry #1

When I Heard at the Close of the Day

When I heard at the close of day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d,

And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy,

But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,

When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,

When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,

And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,

O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,

And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,

And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,

I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,

For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,

In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me,

And his arm lay lightly around my breast—and that night I was happy.

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