Is the Sh’Ma the New Universal Prayer?

El Yenta Man and I celebrated twelve years of marriage on Sunday, and because we’re kind of weird, rather than throw down for a spendy dinner and champagne, we elected for snacks at Parker’s Market then coffee at the Sentient Bean, where Dan Merchant’s documentary Lord Save Us From Your Followers was showing in honor of World Homeless Day.

Maybe that doesn’t sound terribly romantic, but we did make out for a few minutes in the minivan.

The film itself was interesting–the premise is that Merchant, a Christian, attempts to address America’s “culture wars” by traversing the country wearing a suit of religiously-themed bumper stickers and interviewing folks about their views. He’s honest, fairly objective and downright apologetic for other Christians who have perverted Jesus’ message of “love one another” into their own bloated political agendas, and though I didn’t agree with everything Merchant was selling, it was enlightening to hear a reasonable voice touting the idea that freedom of religion does not actually mean the founders of the Constitution intended this to be a Christian country. The Conservatives Vs. The Media Elite Trivia Challenge was entertaining–though it was no real surprise that the liberals were far more educated about the conservative viewpoint than vice versa.

Senator Al Franken makes a few appearances, notably to say that he is still very much opposed to prayer in schools, but if there had to be one prayer that was acceptable to everyone (except the athiests and the Hindus and many others, which is WHY there shouldn’t be prayer in schools, hello) it would be the Sh’ma: The Lord is Our God, the Lord Is One.

Of course, Franken is Jewish, so that makes sense. The Sh’ma is a nice, general prayer that no monothiest could argue with, right?

Well, whaddya know, it’s even catching on with the non-Jews: Rabbi Jason Miller reported last week on his blog that cotton candy crooner Justin Bieber recites the Sh’ma before he goes onstage for a show. Here’s a ten-second shot of the Swoop-haired One, with Jayden Smith and Usher, in a prayer circle and ensuing high five slapfest:

Special. But when we lay down and when we rise up is plenty–pray at home, pray at shul, pray before you go dance like a bunny in front of ten thousand screaming 12 year-old girls, but even if the Sh’ma were said at public school, it would be still be unconstitutional, and therefore, wrong.

2 thoughts on “Is the Sh’Ma the New Universal Prayer?

  1. I saw Justin’s mother interviewed (I do NOT have too much time on my hands!) and she said she was suspicious when his manager called to represent him b/c he was Jewish. Now he’s saying the prayers? Yo!

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