It’s almost as guaranteed as death and taxes: religion is controversial; a topic wrought with pitfalls and clearly prone to a wide range of misunderstandings and disagreements. I’m not religious by nature. As a child, I spent 90% of my Sunday mornings in arenas playing youth hockey. There was an occasional trip to the Greek Orthodox Church in Clinton, MA, but that fell off around age 10 and we were never regular attendees. That was as close to religion as I ever got. The fact that I’m not of any religious affiliation doesn’t mean much to me. It could mean that I haven’t found something worth latching onto yet, right? Could be. It could also be that I’ll never start looking.

In thinking about it, sometimes I actually find myself a little envious when I see people who are so convinced in their spiritual beliefs and have given themselves wholeheartedly to something. Some of them seem so truly at peace and so generous and giving that I end up wishing I could believe in something so….grand (I don’t mean just religion, either. You could easily make the argument that the Grateful Dead were as much of a religion as Catholicism, etc).

It’s when the believers start judging you when things go wrong. Terribly wrong. I have no problem with any religion, but when someone starts judging others because they don’t believe in the same elements, that’s where I throw up my hands and convince myself that I’ll never get involved in religion of any kind.

When I posted my top albums of 2006 last week, I wrote this about the Tim Easton show I attended this summer:

“…..he would then turn on a dime and unleash the acoustic and controversial “Jesus, Protect Me From Your Followers.” The room got so silent that you could hear everyone breathing. It screamed with silence. That song deserves a separate post anyway – and it will get one soon.”

I don’t think I’m particularly good with words. For a long time, I’ve been looking for something or somebody to sum up my feelings about religion and this song, penned by Tim Easton, is as close as anyone’s ever gotten to articulating it right for me. It’s a very quiet song and for whatever reason, that song performed on that Sunday night in Cambridge is one I’m going to remember for a long, long time, because it really sums it up for me. It also showcases what a terrific songwriter Easton really is.

Listen to the song here and the lyrics are below. If you’ve never taken the time to read any lyrics I’ve ever posted, do it this one time and think about these words.

“Jesus, Protect Me From Your Followers” (Tim Easton, 2006)

Jesus, protect me……Jesus, protect me
From your followers
Not all of them
Just the ones
Who turn love into fear and hatred
And the ones who say they are above me
And then point their fingers down at me
And the ones who judge me when I’m troubled
And they tell me on the street that I am lost
And they tell me on my doorstep that I will burn in hell

Jesus, protect me…..Jesus, protect me
From your followers
Like the ones who only speak with anger
They’re screaming from my television
While stealing from the hand that feeds them
And demanding that you are the only way
While spitting in the face of love
With the one hand on the bible and the other in the purse

Jesus, protect me……Jesus, protect me
From your followers
Like the ones who turn their back on the dying
And laugh in the face of pain and suffering
They would kill in the name of freedom
Or the ones who would manipulate the Constitution
And try to make laws of their opinions
While walking shoulder-to-shoulder with greed and violence
To the ones who would start wars in your name
To the ones who would attack me for this song
I sing

Jesus, protect me…….Jesus, protect me
From your followers
Not all of them
Just the ones
Who turn love into fear and hatred
Yes, they turn love into fear and hatred