The Dude’s Prayer
I’ve been doing a lot of local radio shows around the country in support of the paperback edition of my book, The Family. This morning I was a guest on a program down south that maybe didn’t go so well. The host asked, “Do you have a website you want to us know about?” And before I could say “KillingTheBuddha.com,” the morning drive guy answered himself with “JeffCharlatan.com?” Heh. Thanks for having me, Dude. (I’m not being flippant — that was his radio handle, “Dude.”)
There’s always some skepticism in response to the news that the group that organizes the seemingly bland National Prayer Breakfast — and governor’s prayer breakfasts around the country, in pursuit of government sanction for its form of civil religion — is actually a hard right movement. So, for the Dude, I thought I’d post this little prayer that popped up in my email box this morning, originally delivered at the 1995 Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and more recently at the Kansas state house:
“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.
We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state.
Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.”
Jeff Sharlet is a founding editor of Killing the Buddha, coauthor with Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware (2009). Sharlet is also the author of Sweet Heaven When I Die, (2011), C Street, (2010), and the New York Times bestseller The Family (2008).