Sunday, February 8, 2015


Recently a visiting minister refused to use our standard chalice-lighting song - because she deemed it racist.  The words in question?
Let there be light to drive away the darkness.
Let there be wisdom to shine on the unknown.
Let there be love to heal our aloneness.
Let each of us be a light for one another.
-- Max Landau Moss, UU minister
Can you play "spot the racism?"

The answer:  the first line - "drive away the darkness."   She asserted this to be derogatory to people of color.  Yes.  Really.

This is not my first encounter with such re-readings that place the interpreter in a privileged state of advanced moral sensibility.  We need a word for it, like Stephen Colbert's truthiness.

Humpty Dumpty (in Through the Looking Glass) said, "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."  The current practitioners have taken it an Orwellian step further:  "When you use a word it means just what I choose it to mean."

I close with a thought on light and darkness from a different (apparently unenlightened) source:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
-- Rev. Martin Luther King, in the collected sermons Strength To Love.