They Sat in the Cathedral

They sat in the cathedral,
those who occupy the high-
est places in American
politics, and some spoke

serious and humorous
words of the deceased,
one of their own. They
had gathered to show

collective respect. It
was shrouded in the rubric
of ecclesiastical blessing.
It was high church civil

religion. It was the im-
plicit blessing of mili-
tarism by Christianity.
It was the “Battle Hymn

of the Republic.” There
was no one in that place
of piety and prayer to
say, stern, prophetic

words of judgment on
the gathered powerful
— to call them to ac-
count, who like Esau

sold their birthright
for the proverbial pot
of porridge. There was
no one to utter words

about white washed
sepulchres and to state,
“Let the dead bury the
dead.” Of course, it was

the wrong place for John
the Baptist and Jesus,
even as Jesus’ name was
invoked. This wasn’t a

town hall meeting. Of
course, it was the wrong
time and place but when
will that place and time

come? Thank God for the
beautiful music and most
of all the grieving,
plaintive voice of love

in Danny Boy. Even during
the magnificent organ
postlude, the glad-hand-
ing and back slapping

began and it was back
to “business as usual,”
presumably, all with the
church’s blessing.

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