Goosey Goosey Gander where shall I wander,
Upstairs, downstairs and in my lady’s chamber
There I met an old man who wouldn’t say his prayers,
I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs. (1)
Contrary to what one might think, this seemingly simple and nonsensical nursery rhyme [above] was a coded religious-political commentary about the witch hunts for non-conforming Catholic Priests during the days of Henry VIII in 16th Century England
Henry VIII, at age 18, became the the wildly popular new King of England and reigned from 1509-1547. History records that he was at once as charming as he was hot tempered. I wonder how many people trusted Henry, only later to be exiled, imprisoned or beheaded? You see, at first, Henry was a staunch Catholic and called Defender of the Faith by the Pope for his writings against the early Reformers. Later, he broke from the Faith so he could obtain a divorce and marry Anne Boleyn [wife number two of six]. This divorce and subsequent Excommunication resulted in Henry’s de facto banishment of Catholicism from England and the formation of the Church of England with Henry as its Head and See. Still, the King remained popular.
Even such a luminary and devout Christian as Thomas More was at first taken in by Henry VIII. Thomas More, a devout Catholic and personal friend of Henry, served as Henry’s Lord Chancellor from 1529-1535. The “King’s good servant,” Thomas More was eventually beheaded by his “friend” King Henry, because Thomas would not renounce his conscience and his Lord, Jesus Christ in order to swear fealty to Henry VIII. It is reported by some sources that as Thomas More approached the block he said to the Axeman, “I pray you, I pray you, Mr. Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming, down let me shift for myself, ” and alternately by other sources as “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” More’s death presaged a ghastly, deadly purge of non-submissive Catholic Priests and Laymen and a confiscation of all Catholic Church Properties and Treasury in England.
All of this makes me wonder if Henry too used to skip worship whenever he felt like doing so? As I recall, Henry VIII also had a somewhat impressive “workout pad” in his own bed chambers. Even more importantly, I wonder what kind of man chops his friends’ heads off? One wonders what level of [Dante’s] hell was reserved for Henry VIII. Indeed, Henry’s own daughter Elizabeth I didn’t fall too far from the tree. “Good Queen Bess” was an equal opportunity persecutor and beheader of Christians. She chopped the heads off of Catholics and Protestans alike! Bess called it “Religious Tolerance.” Recall that Catholics, Puritans and other Protestant Pilgrims came to America and died in great numbers for religious freedom. Elizabeth I encouraged emmigration to the Colonies as a way to get rid of those pesky Christians.
I guess that it really is just a matter of priorities. In contemporary America, the President-elect has his priorities. Worship is apparently not on his short list (2). But then, this is a pattern. He will likely not start withdrawing Brigades from Iraq on Day One of his presidency like he promised. I have yet to see a strong Republican pop up as a Cabinet choice. The “Community Organizer” knows no high-rollers in Washington, so his Cabinet will look more like Bill Clinton’s than the one he promised. We have yet to see any numbers on the Bail-Out or numbers for his “Middle Class Tax Cut.” For all of his talk about being one of us, he and Michelle have elected to send their two girls to private schools; who can blame him? Yet, somehow, he still opposes vouchers for us commoners.
To my mind, and to the mind of many other serious Christians is the certain knowledge that it is easier to say that I am a Christian than to be one. And Obama? He attends church seldom and does not participate in the Gospel Life, the Communion of Saints, and Sacramental living. This is quite different than that public persona who carried his Bible to church services, or made grandiose speeches from a pulpit during the campaign. What cheek! What chutzpah! What sacrilege! Invoking the name of Jesus does not make one a Christian anymore than honking makes one a goose
Barak Obama, it seems to me, neither talks the talk nor walks the walk. Anyone with his speaking/social gifts can talk and act the part. Oh, his message will always be upbeat. The arts of rhetoric, sophistry and demagoguery demand that. Barak Obama also has a lot of advisors to throw under the bus. So don’t expect him to ever take anything but credit for good fortune, or to be dismissive with the bad. I have watched the Liberal Left degrade, bully, libel, slander and smear their political and personal opponents my entire adult life. That is solely the purview of the Progressive Left. This man Obama is more of the same tired old Liberal Socialism. I am still waiting for him to talk about new ideas and a bold new vision for America.
I am not buying the Obama “schtick.” Obama can talk about Jesus, act like FDR, give lip service to Reagan, and even think that he is JFK reincarnated; but it won’t work. He was elected by progressives and a whole boatload of deluded, gullible, and naive “moderates.” Post election interviews of Obama voters displayed an appalling level of ignorance, and yes, stupidity. Obama is a secular socialist. That’s why 52% of Americans, all of the Europeans and atheists worldwide love Obama. Don’t expect anything but perfunctory performances regarding Christianity from this guy and his family. But I’ll wager that Obama will go out of his way to embrace all other religions in America. Still all Christians must ardently pray for Obama’s conversion and redemption.
In the meantime, gird your loins. There are no Presidential Loyalty Oaths in America, but be prepared to defend your faith. If you have been watching the news at all, you can’t help but have seen the radical homosexual movement brow-beating and physically brutalizing Christian Missionaries in the Castro District of San Francisco. Where were the Police arrests? [Oh… I forgot… the RICO Statutes only apply to the Mafia and to Christian Abortion Clinic Protestors!] Secular Progressives are already moving to further legislate an emboldened agenda for abortion and euthanasia, imposing free speech restrictions like the “Fairness Doctrine” and the diminishment of the Faith and religious freedom. There’s your true diversity.
There’s your change, There’s your “Yes we can.” Obama has said nothing about the growing, rowdy infringements by the Left. He has demonstrated nothing in his personal life recently, such as attending worship, that would make a strong statement to calm the growing cultural tempest. These groups have Obama’s tacit agreement and his permission. He doesn’t care. Don’t bother him. He’s at the gym. At least on this last point Obama is consistent. Recall that Obama also chose to workout rather than visit wounded soldiers during the campaign.
I would be happy to be mistaken about Mr. Obama. This is not judgmentalism folks. I see it as a clear call for “discernment.” I do not intend to roll over, sign a loyalty oath, or drink the Kool-Aid. When all is said and done I would rather be like St. Thomas More than Henry VIII.
(1) “The ‘lady’s chamber’ was a room that once upon a time a high born lady would have her own chamber, (also referred to as a solar). The origins of the nursery rhyme are believed to date back to the 16th century and refer to necessity for Catholic priests to hide in ‘Priest Holes’ ( very small secret rooms once found in many great houses in England) to avoid persecution from zealous Protestants who were totally against the old Catholic religion. If caught both the priest and members of any family found harbouring them were executed. The moral in Goosey Goosey Gander’s lyrics imply that something unpleasant would surely happen to anyone failing to say their prayers correctly - meaning the Protestant Prayers, said in English as opposed to Catholic prayers which were said in Latin!” Source: http://www.rhymes.uk.org
copyright 2008, William R. Mann
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