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Thank You, Bob (or, That Flag Pin Won’t Get You Into Heaven Any More)

April 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Culture, Journalism, Meta, Music, Politics, Religion, Video

Bob Schieffer attempts to explain it slowly and clearly for George Stephanopoulos. It probably won’t do any good, but I love him for trying.

And seriously — it’s beyond tragic that this sort of thing even needs to be said, but clearly it does.


Via this diary.

I like the parallel Mr. Schieffer draws here between public displays of religiosity and public displays of patriotism. And I’m thinking, didn’t Jesus say something about people who make big show-offy public displays of how pious they are, versus those who practice their religion sincerely in private?

I don’t exactly have the complete bible memorized, so I looked it up, and here’s the relevant passage. Matthew 6:5-6, King James version:

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
Lk. 11.2-4
5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Lk. 18.10-14 Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Right before that he says pretty much the same thing about the giving of alms:

Jesus’ Teaching on Almsgiving
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: Mt. 23.5 otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 ¶ Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

In other words, showing off about something in public is a reason to question a person’s sincerity about it, rather than a reason to find them credible.

I think Jesus had a pretty good point there. And I think the same principle applies to people who think wearing a show-offy pin on their lapel is the essence of patriotism.

And of course there’s John Prine’s classic take on it:


But your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.
They’re already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don’t like killin’
No matter what the reason’s for,
And your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.




One Comment so far ↓

  • Aaron

    John Prine’s gift: simplicity and sincerity, which still kicks us right in the heart! I still cry when I hear Bette Midler sing “Hello In There” sometimes…

    “Jesus’ Teaching on Almsgiving”

    Boy, I wish Oprah would read that…