Engrained in my mind is a childhood memory that grows fonder, and more relatable, as I grow older.
I can count on one hand the number of Sundays in the Suddeath household where we didn’t make it to church that weren’t the result of sickness. Going to Sunday morning service wasn’t enough. We were at Sunday school, the regular service and then we were back to church again that evening.
Sundays were as predictable as an August drought. My parents woke up my brother and me early, usually requiring several attempts as we do love our sleep, and we sluggishly made our way down to the kitchen table to eat breakfast.
While staring at a piece of toast through heavy eyes, I’d hear the radio on, and it was always tuned to the same station for the same program. It was one of those gospel hour shows that have somewhat disappeared over the years. I don’t recall a lot of the preaching or the messages that were passed along during that show, but I firmly recall a popular Bluegrass song that was played at least a few times during the hour, typically as a transition into a commercial break.
“You’ve Got to Live Your Religion Every Day” is the song, and it’s been stuck in my head for over three decades.
“Some people go to church on Sunday, and stand up there and shout, and then they go to work on Monday, and leave the Savior out.”
Obviously the point of the song is that going to church is only part of what’s expected to be a devout follower of a religion. What we do when we’re not sitting on a church pew is what counts the most.
Here in the Bible Belt, religion has a major influence on our way of life, but we don’t always practice what we preach.
A law was passed in March by the Kentucky legislature, which is somewhat of a miracle in and of itself, requiring the slogan “In God We Trust” to be displayed in a prominent position inside public school buildings.
It would be nice if students could trust that they’re not going to be shot while going to school, but solving that issue has proven to be beyond the willpower of elected officials.
There are people who are strongly opposed to this, but “In God We Trust” is our country’s official motto. Early settlers came here in many instances seeking religious freedom, so it’s difficult to deny the influence of religion on our nation.
As long as students aren’t being forced to study or adhere to a religion, such a display shouldn’t be a problem.
But if we’re going to push for religious displays and putting “God back in our schools”, though I’m not sure He ever left, then we should follow those principles in other ways of life.
It seems hypocritical to say “In God We Trust” and to then chant “build the wall”, or “send her back.”
Many places in Kentucky are entrenched in poverty. Some of our counties have been ranked among the worst to live in, based on economic conditions, in the entire country. But we seem to be more focused on blaming the poor than in holding the rich accountable.
We mock social aid programs and insult those on welfare. We criticize immigrants and our Congressional delegates refuse to hold the President responsible for racist remarks. In fact, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul doubled down on such comments, offering to fly U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar back to Somalia so she can learn to “appreciate America more.”
Though ugly and wrong, no doubt this scored Paul political points in Kentucky.
For those religions that follow biblical teachings, it should be obvious that Jesus was crucified because he was viewed as a threat to the existing government. Jesus wasn’t killed because he was just too nice of a man — he challenged societal norms, called out the ills of powerful leaders and told us that we all fall short of deserving the kingdom.
Now Omar certainly has made some outlandish statements, but the overall rhetoric in this country is getting out of hand. Excusing comments that are divisive at best and racist at worst as being OK because the person is saying what they believe is not a good line of reasoning. It’s certainly not how the God we allegedly trust would want us to interact with each other.
And it’s not a partisan issue. Personal insults towards our president are also wrong. We’ve lost the ability in this country to attack issues instead of people, and it’s fearfully moving toward a breaking point.
Let’s take off our Republican and Democratic hats and focus more on right and wrong.
The slogan “In God We Trust” isn’t hurting anyone, despite what some may argue, but the motto is nothing more than four words with no meaning if those who believe in God only get vehement about touting their religion when it serves a political purpose.
You’ve got to live your religion every day.
— Suddeath is the editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DsuddeathGDT.