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13 December 2004

♪♫♭ ''I DIG THEE, LORD JESUS, LOOK DOWN FROM THE SKY...''♪♫♭ sings the uncannily convincing Bobby Darin sound-alike Bob Francis in this week's Xmas Diskoteka selection, "That Swingin' Manger." If you think these lyrics are irreverent:

The cows, they go "moo-moo"
And woke the poor kid
But that little trooper
Never flipped his lid

...then be glad you aren't a parochial-school nun from back in the prehistoric days before Vatican II, because you would've had an instant stroke. See, there are apparently two hymns called "Away in a Manger" -- and according to my mother, Catholic schoolchildren were, once upon a time, strongly discouraged from singing the version that's popularly attributed to Mr. Here-Comes-Protestantism himself, Martin Luther.

UPDATE: Aisha comments from the Land Down Under:

All this talk of Martin Luther and Catholics reminds me of Andrew Sullivan's "Daily Dish" of 23 October 2004:
NO SHIT: Archaeologists think they have found the toilet whereon Martin Luther figured out that you could be saved by faith alone. Yep, the first protestant was seriously constipated, thereby beginning a noble tradition.
Aisha remembers being told that Martin Luther used to punctuate his sermons with farts (as if this really mattered). Aisha's only in her 20s.
If one is going to criticize Luther for something, his anti-semitism might be a better place to start.

I'd say it's a toss-up between his anti-semitism and "Reason is the devil's whore," if you want to talk about Luther's toxic legacies to European Christendom.

On the other hand, while it's easy to trace a line from the Holocaust back to Luther's overt Judenhass, the man must be deemed a benefactor to the entire Western world -- Jews included -- to the extent that he can be credited with inventing Protestantism.(Just for starters, the world-changing idea that the State should not tell the Individual how to worship came as a response to centuries of political strife among Christian denominations.)

posted by Throbert | 12/13/2004 01:13:00 AM |
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