Attended church today, had been a while,
Place almost familiar, on my face a smile.
Saw polished wood pews in metric rows,
Shiny new, how costly, only God knows.
Mahogany organ, piped to top of the wall,
Auto keys dimpling in soulful, somber call,
Alter boys prepping ecclesiastic setting,
Eucharist table with fancy lace netting.
Stained glass windows, rainbow bright,
Arched teak ceiling, beam show of light,
Pulpit ornate, very large, impressive.
Everything new, gleamingly obsessive.
Thumbed new hymnal, as quiet instilled.
A surprise, seats grossly under filled.
Pastor strode to dais, and organ wall
Tempo and volume rose to dramatic fall.
He led off with prayer, customary all right,
But tenor strange I thought, and up tight.
Said amen, started sermon he’d prepared.
By the tone of his voice he really cared
For people. Yet, how they’d deserted,
Wouldn’t attend church, he asserted,
Due to request to help pay Federal taxes,
Fill out government forms and send faxes,
Quarterly reports on participation percents
Of church related activity to secular events.
Angered some folks, and drove in a wedge,
They’ve all reneged on a solemn pledge
To apply for more funds, a Federal loan.
These folks excuse was that it was unknown,
The major role Feds would claim as theirs
In day-to-day operation of church affairs.
Would never have taken the too sweet bait
Of unholy partnership of church and state,
And they’d ever and always rue the day
They consented to take money that way,
And deeply resented the partnership role
That made them a part of the Federal dole.
With some bitterness, Pastor went on to say,
As the congregation couldn’t raise his pay,
He was forced to resign and accept a calling
To pastor where enrollment was not falling,
And folks were more willing to take grants,
And play along with the government dance.
Moreover, he advised, Feds’re so involved,
You’re hooked, your problem’s not solved,
Government debt has mortgaged the church.
I loathe it, but now I leave you, and in a lurch.
With that, he said a prayer like the first,
Out the back door he moved with a burst,
I left through the front almost as fast,
Not my first time there, it was my last.
If I ever go again it’ll be to a place
That pays its way and turns its face
From the government to the people,
Nothing from Feds, floor to steeple.
Church no longer special in our nation,
For each member is taxed on a donation,
All church property is taxed as well,
They even tax us for ringing the bell.
Before, the U.S. left our churches alone,
But now and forever, that good is gone.