According to One News Now (

A conservative Idaho lawmaker believes America’s founding fathers would not have wanted a Muslim elected to Congress or a Hindu prayer delivered in the U.S. Senate.

Last month, the U.S. Senate was opened for the first time ever with a Hindu prayer. Although the event generated little outrage on Capitol Hill, Representative Bill Sali (R-Idaho) is one member of Congress who believes the prayer should have never been allowed.

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali. [emphasis mine]

Wow. What is the real fear in this statement? Sali went on to talk about how the only way the United States can survive is under the protective hand of God. But is it Muslims and Hindus he fears – or just change?

Anyone who has read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver will know that the character of Nathan Price would not leave the Congo (where the book is primarily set) despite the danger to himself, his wife, and his four daughters. He was determined to convert the village where they came as missionaries come hell or high water, and both did. And in the end, the narrator realizes, his refusal to accept that things were changing is his undoing. She says of him:

But his kind will always lose in the end. I know this, and now I know why. Whether it’s wife or nation they occupy, their mistake is the same: they stand still, and their stake moves underneath them. …Even a language won’t stand still. A territory is only possessed for a moment in time. They stake everything on that moment, posing for photographs while planting the flag, casting themselves in bronze. Washington crossing the Delaware. The capture of Okinawa. They’re desperate to hang on.

In a world where the only consistent thing is change, it makes you wonder whether insisting that God wants nothing at all to change is really sensible.

This isn’t exclusive to Christianity, either. You could argue that Ayn Rand grew to worship unfettered capitalism because she saw how the totalitarian regimes of Communism wanted to freeze everything, prevent change so that control was easier. You could argue that the Taliban wanted to roll back the horrific changes inflicted by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and chose to try with an extreme form of Islam that they believed was typical of the golden past of the Muslim empire. You could even argue that the Puritans ended up in America because they felt Christianity was being twisted out of its true form and they wanted to go somewhere where they could keep that from happening, at least among themselves.

I guess it’s an age-old question, wrestled with by far better minds than that of this little agnostic: In a world where change is constant and unrelenting, how do you preserve tradition without becoming ossified or betraying your core beliefs?


1 Response to “Ch-ch-ch-changes”

  1. 1 tobeme August 14, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    I really enjoyed your thoughts on this. We must be open to change or get out of the way for we will be trampled where we stand. It is sad that one could be so arrogant about what the intentions of the founding fathers were and to expect that they would not have changed. I suppose this man would still have slavery and women barefoot and pregnant. Ugh!

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