New Religion

by Heide McAlister-Bates

I was once lost
But then was found
I prefer being lost.

Way back in the 90’s,
in a state of confusion called Texas
someone tried to convince me
that Jesus could save me –
he could wash my sins away
and make my life worth living again.

(I thought I was doing pretty well, actually,
but they seemed to know better)

The problem was, they had no proof to show me
cuz I would see the same faces at church on Sunday
that I saw at my job at the local bar on Friday and Saturday night
pissing away their paycheques on cheap booze
and the dream of walking out the door with
that blonde, or that brunette, or that redhead
on their arm, while the wife or the husband waited
at home with their 2.5 kids and the dog.
The club was their real church –
The Church of What’s Happening Now.
Sin on Saturday,
repent on Sunday – much easier to do whilst hung over.
Do unto others – then run like hell.
Love thy neighbour – just don’t let her husband catch you.
All part of the doctrine spat out of the mouths
of practitioners of their new religion –

The reality of the Bible Belt – them that have, get,
them that don’t, get fucked.
No surprise, then,
that the highest office in the land
is held by the biggest purveyor of these
Pseudeo-christian values.
He lays hands on the country, and everywhere
else he can get them, like a televangelical
faith healer.
Drawing in the masses with his God-infused
snake oil and biblical inaccuracies -
Raising an altar to capitalism -
Worshipping the almighty dollar,
and damning any who will not conform.
No longer separating church and state,
but weaving them immutably into
the fabric of the nation.
Trying to make the people believe his false
prophecy and his promises of freedom and salvation.
But baby, if you think he’s doing any good at all,
then you’ve got more faith
than sense.

Me? After not too much
consideration, I decided to stay on the side
of my own angels, doing what I know is right
without branding myself by denomination
or selling my soul to the highest bidder.

I’ll find heaven, but it will be
right here with my lovers and my friends.
I’ll touch hearts and be touched,
without the aid of a congregation or
an agenda,
and I will know paradise long before I die.


Author's Note: I wrote this to perform as my first spoken word piece - ever. There will be some who agree with what I've written, and some who will disagree, but one thing I feel we can all agree on is that we should always be allowed to speak our minds without fear of retribution.

Posted on 09/26/2005
Copyright © 2020 Heide McAlister-Bates

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Bradd Howard on 09/26/05 at 10:12 PM

wow I love the voice of this piece. the beginning drew me in and I didn't get out until I reached the end. Hypochristianity... love that. kicks butt my friend. Cheers

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 09/29/05 at 02:25 PM

'Hypochristianity'.Well,This is applicable to all the religions and to them who propounds that any experience can be an objective reality. Religion has to be a personal experience and can't be institutionalized. religion, when institutionalized, turns into a long term politics as politics has turned into a short term religion full of dishonesty, untruths and myths. The history of any religion is full of blood baths. We dont need any Instituionalized religion to become good. people use religion to hide their badness. am happy to hear a voice against this nonsensical common belief system, who would kill a knowledgible person and put him on a high pedestal and play their power game in his name.

Posted by Rula Shin on 09/30/05 at 01:07 AM

Truly an amazing voice you have here, this piece is so well written, and bold and yes, I would have to agree 100% with all the subject's sentiments. So many of us live in a fool's paradise, hiding behind the rhetoric of instititionalized definitions of "goodness". As Ashok points out, how paradoxical is this man-made world of religions claiming rights to what is 'good' or 'bad', such subjective terms constantly changing in practical application with the times but yet dictated and enforced on behalf of what they claim is an objective truth. What earthly power is to be had by those mediocres dishing out 'absolute truths' from a position of such subjective inferiority, claiming for themselves a seat in the Kingdom of Heaven, using the beauty and grace of Christ to create their own ordinances and further their own agendas. Kudos to you and I wish this could be POTD. I will vote for it though I think the explicit prevents it from being so. Physical death of the body should not be what we wait for to experience the joy and beauty of paradise, rather, it is from within ourselves that we have the ability to convene with the God and to touch him and let him touch us. High marks.

Posted by Jersey D Gibson on 10/01/05 at 11:00 PM

I loved this! definately getting gold stars on this one! +fav

yer pal


Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 01/01/06 at 05:25 AM

Amen, sister! This is fantastic.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/27/06 at 11:02 PM

I wrote a slightly similar piece many years ago when I first delved into poetry, titled, Tell Me Why. Here's a link to the poem (copy and paste): http://ca.geocities.com/tomcat7@rogers.com/tellmewhy.htm This poem aptly captures the cynicism many of us feel towards organized religion now, and why so many of us have turned to practising our faith away frow church, in the security of our own homes.

Posted by Deborah S Regan on 06/07/06 at 08:59 PM

umm......I am a registered Democrat who didn't vote for Bush ever from BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA. And I love the South and I love the church not because they are perfect but because they are imperfect and their imperfection reflects the hand of God. and I think the drunkards and the adulterers who go to church are beautiful and I will hold their hand and say "peace be with you" while you are at home sleeping because I am here and accountable to my God

Posted by Junemarie Roldan on 07/13/06 at 11:30 AM

Ahhh, an intelligent voice in the wilderness. She knows whereof she speaks, and quite eloquently too. For those who don't like it, the exit is in the upper left hand corner of your PC.

Posted by Mara Meade on 07/31/06 at 09:13 PM

Such acute observations... I can only say amen. Nail 'em, Heidi. I'm so tired of their fat and judgemental carcasses or pelts hanging over my personal oxygen....

Posted by Genevieve Sturrock on 02/27/07 at 12:48 PM

i don't agree with the theology...but that's what makes living here so great, we have the right to our opinions. i do agree with your politics, however and i say, speak on!

Posted by Richard Vince on 03/04/07 at 12:05 AM

superbly done. if only it were not true.

Posted by Joe Cramer on 03/06/07 at 10:08 PM

Your work... as ever is always quite exceptional....

Posted by Jared Fladeland on 02/14/10 at 06:24 PM

this was so true.

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