It may be difficult for you who live in a more peaceful and rational world such as ours to understand what can appear to us as an ambivalent attitude of composer of the Arrogant Prophecies towards established religion.
We know from his own notes and commentaries that the unknown poet was well versed in the sacred texts of the Peeler religion and that, at least in a cultural sense was a Peeler. In any case he often quotes chapter and verse from the Book of the Idaho as well as the Book of Chocolate and other texts and legends as well as any of the fundamentalists he despises and rakes with satire, irony and dripping sarcasm.
In today's poem one might be puzzled that writes about "empty pews" when the church is supposedly filled with a congregation that groans. Perhaps he was familiar with a story similar to that of Israel ben Eliezer, aka the Baal Shem Tov, of whom it is told that, after services he greeted the people as they left the synagogue in a manner one usually used when people were returning from a long journey. The people were of course puzzled, but the Baal Shem told them, "You were away on business and you were working on your farm and you were preparing dinner for the coming holiday season..."
The fact is, when you get down to it, the people of the Third Galaxy are not all that different from us!
The congregation sits and groans,___________________________________
while the sermon spews into the restless, empty pews.
The church is full of saintly bones,
but no one, no one at all remembers what to do.
Idaho must have had some doubts
about it being worth the trouble of hanging out
with all those fishy friends of his
who take and take and take -- but rarely ever give.
If it was just a question of
Power, Fame and Glory, all that historical stuff...
Perhaps...perhaps -- indeed, perhaps!
But this kind of story somehow snaps the dreadful traps
of history, and cracks the stones
beneath the feet of snotty little kings and queens.
The grass roots and saintly bones
crush and cleanse all monuments of broken dreams!
When I was a young lad in Poosah City, the bench by the bus stop asked in letters six inches high "Did you go to church last Sunday?"
That was a loaded rhetorical question designed to make the reader feel guilty in the same way as if they had forgotten to brush their teeth , cream the underarm area with deodorant or had flakes of dandruff on their shoulder pads. That is to say, whose business was it to be in your face with this advertising ploy? It was the business of the church across the street which had made the bench available to the public waiting for public transportation -- that is to say, it was business -- GODBIZ
However, when all is said and done, that which inspires the feelings common to all humanity, that which makes it possible for the churches to run a business in the first place -- that cannot be completely covered or hidden by all the shenanigans, rigmarole and bamboozlement of the churches and religious charlatans in general.
People make many claims about the Idaho. All I will say is that he is an expression of our common humanity.