It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Leonard Cohen, Democracy
Criminology in the United States has been obsessed since its inception with the question of what causes crime, particularly violent crime. Research studies have examined almost every possible variable the human mind can imagine in its compulsive search for the “magic bullet.” Broken homes, alcohol consumption, levels of attachment to conventional social institutions, sugar consumption, body type and the slope of one’s forehead have been multiply regressed into irrelevance.
This is, of course, the most irrelevant kind of alchemy. There is no cause of crime. Crime is such a complex social phenomena that any and all explanations fade into obscurity when the scope of possibilities is examined. Personal attributes of victims and offenders, geographical and spatial considerations, the climate, the movement of time through the universe, and the shape of political and economic institutions all contribute to the commission of any single criminal act. In the end millions of possible variables are found to be relevant for any criminal event, making all of them irrelevant. But what is amazing about this search for the “Holy Grail” of crime is that very few inquiries into causation have examined one of the major social institutions of western civilization–religion. We know religion has a violent side (e.g., the Crusades or the Thirty Years War), but most criminological research simply looks the other way and prays for a correlation that will blame the poor and dispossessed for the problem of violent crime.
Religion is a vital element of any society’s superstructure. Religion legitimates the established order of society, but in doing so also legitimates the domination and exploitation of women, minority racial and ethnic groups, and the poor and working class. Religion legitimates the present distribution of power and resources, which teaches people not only to accept, but also to celebrate their subordination and exploitation. It teaches people that their place is correct and proper, whether owner or worker. Religion teaches people how to bear their burdens in life, but not how to change them.
In fairness, it would be absurd to postulate that such a broad social category as religion causes violent crime. It is very hard to imagine Mother Teresa pulling an armed robbery. On the other hand, if we define our category of analysis a little better and narrow our field of vision perhaps we can identify specific religious tendencies and beliefs that contribute to larger social influences that predispose social groups to violent crime. For example, we know that poverty does not cause crime. But pervasive feelings of relative deprivation and social marginalization do create social pressures that increase both the amount and intensity of crime.
The following critical essay explores a particular “brand” of religion and its role in creating and maintaining some of those social influences, such as authoritarianism, patriarchy, sexism, racism and aggressive intolerance in American society. The role of Protestant fundamentalism in creating a climate in which violence can flourish will be examined, with particular emphasis on sexual violence, battering, child abuse, homicide and domestic terrorism. There is no claim that Protestant fundamentalism causes any of these acts. Rather, the question to be considered is whether Protestant fundamentalism creates a hegemonic ideology that justifies and encourages them.
The important construct for the purposes of this research is Protestant fundamentalism. Ellison and Sherkat (1993) emphasize the ideological orientations of the fundamentalist Protestant denominations include a belief in biblical literalism, a view of human nature as sinful and prone to egoism, and a heightened sensitivity to issues of sin and punishment. Protestant fundamentalists believe in biblical literalness and infallibility (Ellison, Burr, & McCall, 2003), and it is these characteristics which set this “brand” of religious dogma apart from others.
Protestant fundamentalism is an important focal point because of its pervasive influence in American society. A recent study found that the extent of fundamentalist religious beliefs in America is astounding, with about three-fourths of Americans believing in miracles, clear majorities believe in the devil, and less than 10% believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Furthermore, almost half of respondents believe the world was created six thousand years ago. The percentage of adults who believe that “the Bible is the actual word of God and it is to be taken literally, word for word” is five times higher in America than in Britain. Also, church attendance is about four times higher in America than in Britain. As Zoll (2005) reported, “religious devotion sets the United States apart from some of its closest allies. Americans profess unquestioning belief in God and are far more willing to mix faith and politics than people in other countries.” In comparisons with Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and Spain, almost all American respondents “said faith is important to them and only 2 percent said they do not believe in God. Almost 40 percent said religious leaders should try to sway policymakers, notably higher than in other countries” (Zoll, 2005).
Fundamentalists and Patriarchy
Religion in general, without reference to specific religions or denominations, has been discussed as an impediment to reducing sexual and domestic violence. This point of view is articulated by Reverend Marie Fortune and Rabbi Cindy Enger. Fortune and Enger note that the three major religions in the world (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) all advocate the preservation of traditional forms of marriage and family, which has become commonly known as a “traditional value.” However, the advocacy of this religious value is actually aimed at preserving male control of women and children. Traditional patriarchal families, whether religious or not, increase the vulnerability of children and women to acts of violence in all three major religions (Fortune and Enger, 2005).
In general, it is fair to say that writings from all the major religious texts have been used—and misused—within patriarchal systems to maintain the power and authority of men, and to keep women and children in subordinate positions, by force if necessary. Organized religions frequently provide justification for coercion by men—for example, in promulgating the notion that men are “entitled” to sex with their wives whether their wives want to engage in sex or not. Fundamentalist religious leaders, however, almost universally claim divine authority for supporting a hierarchical social structure with clearly delineated gender roles, and power resting firmly in the hands of men (Ammerman, 1987; Roberts, Koch and Johnson, 2001).
Of course, it is well understood that some religions and denominations, particular fundamentalist Protestant denominations, not only advocate traditional and hierarchical structure for marriage and the family, but also emphasize the importance of submission by wives to the rule of their husbands in those relationships. For example:
The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and an increasingly conservative force among American religious organizations, amended its essential statement of beliefs today to include a declaration that a woman should ”submit herself graciously” to her husband’s leadership and that a husband should ”provide for, protect and lead his family”(Niebuhr, 1998).
While religious leaders may claim that such a belief is consistent with biblical scripture, it is important to remember that patriarchal religious groups like the Southern Baptist Convention are governed by rules and biblical interpretations that were initially created by males for the male population within their churches (Levitt and Ware, 2006). The idea of submission by wives within marriage can easily become a religious justification for violence by those same men.
Battering and Rape: It’s Fundamental, Blame the Victim
A major issue related to spousal abuse is the question of why women stay in abusive relationships and endure continual episodes of battering and rape. While there are many obvious reasons for women to stay with their batterer, including children, economic needs, and lack of alternatives, for some women religion serves as a shackle which subjects them to continued abuse. Research on spousal abuse shows a pattern of Christian women using religion to both justify their abuse and to formulate coping strategies that keep them in abusive relationships. Christian women who have been victims of battering and spousal rape explain their victimization by pointing to biblical narratives emphasizing suffering and the testing of one’s faith. They use biblical references and stories which emphasize desirable and rewarding outcomes for those whose faith is tested but remain steadfast in the face of humiliation and pain. Abused Christian women also maintain a strong belief in an ultimate, miraculous resolution to the problem. Because they view marriage as a sacred commitment, they believe that God is a constant ally who will ultimately change their husbands’ violent conduct. Religion becomes both a coping strategy and a sacred mandate to stay in the marriage and suffer continued acts of violence (Nash, 2009).
In another study of battered women, 54% of the religious victims and 38% of the nonreligious victims sought help and/or guidance from clergy (Horton et al, 1988). Among these respondents, 30% viewed the contact as satisfactory or very satisfactory, 29% said it was dissatisfactory, and 42% said it was very unsatisfactory. The dissatisfied respondents indicated that their clerics had told them things such as, “try harder not to provoke him,” and, “Hope for the best. God will change him” (Horton, Wilkins, & Wright,1988, p. 242). Overall, the victims’ criticisms of the clerical responses revealed five major themes: (1) making the victims feel trapped within a dangerous relationship; (2) showing a lack of understanding and validation of the women’s experience and minimizing the abuse; (3) providing no alternatives or practical suggestions; (4) blaming the victims for their victimization or making them feel responsible for the abuse; and (5) leaving them feeling helpless with no way to escape.
Not only does religion apparently play a role in learned helplessness among victims of battering and spousal rape, it also plays a significant role in reinforcing rape and battering myths in blaming the victim for violence. This is important because in surveys, 75% of clergymen in the United States report that they have experience counseling victims of rape and sexual assault among members of their congregations. Research on clerical attitudes toward rape revealed widespread support for common rape myths. Clergy who practiced in fundamentalist Protestant denominations revealed strong sexist ideologies, and had much higher levels of acceptance of rape myths, with responsibility and blame for the rape placed squarely on the victim (Sheldon and Parent, 2002). These hyper-masculine and misogynist attitudes among fundamentalist Protestant pastors are important in two ways. First, it constitutes a second victimization of women who have been raped by telling them they are either deserving of rape or precipitators of the rape. Second, it supports and reinforces violent attitudes and actions among male members of the congregation by clearly telling them that violence is an acceptable means of subjugating women to their will. In fact, in a major study at a Texas university, Koch and Ramirez (2009) found a positive association between both approval of violence as a way of solving personal problems and intimate partner violence with Protestant fundamentalism.
Protestant Fundamentalism and Child Abuse
It is generally understood that child abuse refers to a combination of any three criminal behaviors: (1) physical abuse of children; (2) child neglect and (3) child sexual abuse. What constitutes “religion-related” cases of child abuse? Sexual abuse by priests? Ritualistic abuse? Withholding of medical care? All of these cases were identified as child abuse by a sample of over 2,000 mental health professionals from across the United States (Bottoms, Shaver, Goodman, & Qin, 1995). Among the examples given were withholding medical care, abuse perpetrated by persons with religious authority, and attempts to rid a child of evil. One clinician reported, “The aunt truly believed she could beat the devil out of the children” (Bottoms, et al., 1995, p. 93). In almost all of these abuse cases, the perpetrators were Protestant fundamentalists.
Child Sexual Abuse
There is a dearth of research on child sexual abuse in general, but much less on the role of religion in the abuse. The research literature is especially thin in the United States, but even the limited research raises serious concerns about fundamentalist Protestantism and crimes against children. For example, in a sample of 1,000 women, 43% of those who had been raised in fundamentalist Protestant families had been victims of intra-familial sexual abuse (Bolen, 1998). Moreover, one study on incest in conservative Protestant homes found similar levels of sexual abuse (Gil, 1988). In addition, the same study found the mean age of the girls when the incest began was just under six years, with a range from 2 to 16 years; 37% of the women had been preschoolers when the sexual abuse started. The abusers were fathers in 66% of the cases and stepfathers in 34% of the cases. Finally, the natural fathers were more likely to perpetrate the more serious forms of sexual abuse (e.g., involving penetration) than the stepfathers. So, while the research is thin, it seems safe to conclude that child sexual abuse is associated strongly with fundamentalist Protestant religious values.
Child Physical Abuse
Much of the research on cultural values concerning child rearing and child discipline within different religions has focused on the values and beliefs of conservative Protestants as compared with other groups. Conservative Protestants have a distinct set of cultural values supportive of corporal punishment encapsulated in many of their child-rearing manuals. An analysis of best-selling conservative and mainstream Protestant child-rearing manuals revealed that mainstream Protestant manuals emphasized democratic parent-child relationships and open communication between parents and children, while conservative Protestant manuals emphasized obedience and submission (Bartkowski & Ellison, 1995). Whereas mainstream manuals emphasized the parental use of reasoning tactics, conservative manuals emphasized corporal punishment. In particular, the conservative manuals recommended that parents use a rod to administer physical punishment to children whenever children show willful defiance to parental authority.
It is difficult to obtain a clear picture of differences between religious groups in frequency of child abuse reports for several reasons: (1) various investigators have classified religions differently and grouped them together in different ways; (2) lumping together different Protestant denominations in order to compare Protestants and Catholics ignores the wide range of values characterizing the different Protestant denominations; (3) measures of constructs such as religiosity and religious conservatism have varied considerably across studies; and (4) variables such as geography, ethnicity, and social class tend to be confounded with affiliation.
Despite these limitations, some important findings have emerged. National survey data support the propositions that there are differences between religions in support for corporal punishment, and the endorsement of particular religious beliefs (e.g., that the Bible is the literal word of God) is positively associated with convictions concerning corporal punishment. For example, the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) revealed that fundamentalist Protestant parents were far more likely than other parents to use corporal punishment (Xu, Tung, & Dunaway, 2000). Gershoff, Miller, and Holden (1999) found that conservative Protestant parents spanked their children more often than mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, and unaffiliated parents. Moreover, 29% of the conservative Protestant parents said they spanked their children three or more times a week, as compared to only 3% of Roman Catholic and none of the unaffiliated parents. Whereas the conservative Protestants emphasized the instrumental benefits of spanking, the mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics anticipated more negative effects of spanking. Mainline Protestant and unaffiliated parents were more likely to indicate they would try to reason with their children about misbehavior than conservative Protestants.
The espousal of particular religious beliefs is a more important predictor of aggression in families than simple religious affiliation. In the NSFH, degree of endorsement on items such as, “I regard myself as a religious fundamentalist,” was significantly positively correlated with parents’ likelihood of using corporal punishment (Xu et al., 2000). An analysis of parents’ reported use of physical punishment to discipline preschool and elementary school-aged children showed that parents who believed the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and provides answers to all human problems, used corporal punishment more frequently than parents with less conservative theological views (Ellison, Bartkowski, & Segal, 1996). Furthermore, the General Social Survey of 1988 had similar findings: Conservative Protestants were significantly more supportive of corporal punishment than members of other religious groups. The strongest predictor of tolerance for corporal punishment was endorsement of the items “Human nature is fundamentally perverse and corrupt” and “Those who violate God’s rules must be punished” (Ellison & Sherkat, 1993).
Other studies confirm that a literal interpretation of the Bible contributes more to approval of corporal punishment than simple religiosity. In research using a random sampling strategy it was found that belief in the literalness of the Bible accounted for almost all of the differences between religious groups in degree of advocacy of corporal punishment, even after accounting for socioeconomic and demographic variables (Grasmick, Bursik, & Kimpel, 1991). Similarly, among Protestants from five central and southern states, both males and females who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible showed greater endorsement of statements such as, “Children should always be spanked when they misbehave” and “Parents spoil their children by picking them up and comforting them when they cry” (Wiehe, 1990, p. 178–179).
A major form of religion-related child abuse identified by a national sample of mental health professionals is the withholding of medical care for religious reasons (Bottoms et al., 1995). Approximately 10% of neglect cases identified by professionals involved this form of neglect. Most of the parents in these cases were classified as “fundamentalist.”
The debate over parental failure to obtain medical care for their children for religious reasons has generally been one of balancing the children’s medical needs with parental rights to rear children in accordance with their religious beliefs. The issue becomes more complex when we consider childhood immunizations, which involve not just the well-being of the individual child but the well-being of the community. If fundamentalist families objecting to immunizations are concentrated in fairly large communities, any refusal to allow immunizations has the potential for creating a rather serious public health risk (Ross and Aspinwall, 1997). The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken the position that, “Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion do not permit children to be harmed through religious practices, nor do they allow religion to be a valid legal defense when an individual harms or neglects a child” (Ross and Aspinwall, 1997, p. 202–203).
Research on outcomes of religion-based child maltreatment has typically focused on mortality and psychological effects. One nationwide study of child fatalities between 1975 and 1995 revealed 140 cases where children died because parents withheld medical care for conditions whose survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90%; in an additional 18 cases, survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 50% (Asser & Swan, 1998). These children had a wide range of treatable medical conditions at the time of their deaths—for example, dehydration, diabetes, burns, measles, meningitis, pneumonia, and appendicitis. When one two-year-old choked on a bite of banana, her parents frantically called members of their religious circle for prayer during the hour she still showed signs of life. The father of a five-month-old son reported that after four days of fever, his son started having apneic (cessation of breathing) spells. During each spell, the father “rebuked the spirit of death” and his son perked up and began to breathe again. The next day he died from bacterial meningitis (Asser & Swan, 1998). A teenage girl asked teachers for help getting medical care refused by her parents for fainting spells. She ran away from home, but was returned to the custody of her father by law enforcement officials. She died three days later from a ruptured appendix. Of a total of 172 religion-based child mortality cases, the breakdown by religion was as follows: 23 Church of the First Born; 12 End Time Ministries; 64 Faith Assemblies; 16 Faith Tabernacles; 28 Christian Science; and 29 other denominations or unaffiliated.
Among the cases of religion-based child maltreatment reported by mental health professionals (Bottoms et al., 1995), one third of the victims who had been abused to rid them of evil admitted in adulthood that they had considered suicide. Dissociative disorders were also fairly high in both the ridding evil and medical neglect groups. Reports from professionals also reveal that victims of multiple forms of religion-based family maltreatment have significantly more depression, insomnia, somatic problems, fearfulness and phobias, substance abuse, social withdrawal, and inappropriate aggressiveness than victims experiencing sexual abuse only (Bottoms, et al. 1995).
Protestant Fundamentalism and Homicide
Some criminologists have postulated that religion may have a positive impact on violent crime by creating a strong social bond. This argument, which is congruent with Hirschi’s version of social control theory, asserts that religious attachment, commitment and belief create a social bond which increases conventional commitments and involvements, therefore mitigating deviant and criminal behavior. Empirical research testing this proposition finds that religion plays no role in reducing violent crime or violent behavior at any developmental stage. Delinquent acts are not more common among adolescents with little or no religious attachments, commitments or beliefs. Conversely, the occurrence of delinquent acts is not reduced among adolescents with strong religious attachments, commitments or beliefs, even if they are held by both parents and juveniles in the same family. Simply put, there is no evidence that religion produces a social bond which helps avert violent crime (Cretaci, 2003).
One of the most persistent questions in criminology related to violence, particularly homicide, concerns the number of homicides in southern states. These states historically have consistently higher rates of homicide, and have not experienced the trend of dramatic declines in other states. The debate about southern state homicide, and the perception of a southern culture of violence, has raged for the last five decades. Scholars have pointed to a variety of possible explanations, including high levels of gun ownership, concentrated pockets of extreme rural poverty, and lack of social and support services in rural areas. However, researchers have consistently ignored one variable that could have strong explanatory power—the dominant role of conservative Protestantism in the southern states. Only recently have scholars addressed the thorny issue of religion and murder. One research study explored whether standard metropolitan statistical areas (SMSA) in the southern states would (1) have higher homicide rates that SMSAs in other regions of the United States, and (2) that the number of residents in SMSAs who identified themselves as members of conservative Protestant denominations would show a strong correlation with homicide rates. The researchers found strong positive relationships for both hypotheses, with the strongest correlations to homicide found in those SMSAs which were both located in Southern states and had the largest numbers of conservative Protestant residents. While religious attachment may be only one of several explanations for high rates of violence and homicide in the American south, it clearly demonstrates a strong and salient relationship which cannot be ignored (Ellison, Burr and McCall, 2003).
Additional research exploring authoritarianism and violence in southern states also considered the role of religion in a “southern subculture of punitiveness.” The researchers asked whether there was a relationship between strong support for capital punishment in the southern states and the suggestion that there is a southern subculture of violence. The research drew upon a large body of previous work demonstrating a strong positive link between racial prejudice, support for the death penalty, and high levels of aggressive and violent crime in the south. The study found that racial prejudice did have a significant impact on both issues, and found a strong correlation between approval of aggressive acts of violence and death penalty support with religious fundamentalism. These findings led to the conclusion that racism and religious fundamentalism act in concert to create both punitive and violent attitudes in the southern states (Borg, 1997).
Protestant Fundamentalism and Domestic Terrorism
One area in which there is little disagreement about the role of religion as a stimulus toward violent behavior is in the case of white supremacist gangs. Research has clearly demonstrated that religion is used both as an ideological tool to buttress white supremacist beliefs and as a justification for acts of violence targeting victims because of their race, ethnicity, sexual preference and religious affiliation. This relationship is evident in the Christian Identity movement and the World Church of the Creator, both of which adhere to a belief that an apocalyptic war between true believers and nonbelievers is inevitable (Etter, 2002).
That same view of apocalyptic violence is a direct cause of many domestic terrorism incidents like the Oklahoma City bombing. In fact, research has shown that fundamentalism combined with eschatological (end-of-time apocalyptic theory) encourages violence by demonizing other religions and producing an ethnocentric theology which posits ethnic, racial and moral superiority for “true believers.” This religious doctrine is the cornerstone of a mythology of hate, an ideology of the religious warrior, and the divine approval of violence leading to Armageddon (White, 2001).
For Christian fundamentalists, the daily battles over particular issues are only instances of a much larger battle between ultimate good and ultimate evil on a cosmic scale. No compromise is ever possible or desirable—the true believer must be forever willing to do anything to defeat ultimate evil. For fundamentalists, the enemy takes many forms. The conflict rages eternally. Protestant fundamentalists realize they cannot win their war in real time, so they fight in cosmic time. At any moment, real people, practices, organizations, governments, or lifestyles—nearly anything—can acquire the status of Enemy. When this happens, all available means must be applied to defeat it with no exceptions. Fundamentalists are not insane; rather, they willfully choose a substitute reality—one measured in cosmic time, and one in which acts in this world are really measured by their contribution to the eternal struggle of good versus evil, and not in terms of their ability to achieve measurable political or cultural goals.
The Protestant fundamentalist obsession with science is a good example. Learning creationism rather than evolution does not prepare a person for a career in the global economy, but it might make a person feel more existentially secure, and certainly provides the authority of self-righteousness. The increasing popularity of fundamentalism arises from personal insecurity, which results from social decline—both economic and status decline. Fundamentalist movements, especially at the grassroots level (creationism in schools, for example), has nothing to do with facts or logic, but with power. The believer willfully disregards logic and evidence, and instead embraces a belief, which he or she then attempts to force on the school board. The believer receives emotional gratification from this because it feels good to force the school board and the intelligentsia more generally to submit. It provides emotional gratification in place of real personal and social improvement. Creationism in science classes will not improve education, but it will make some parents feel more important.
Perception of the world based on the extraordinary allows people to abandon reason in favor of emotional gratification. The solutions to violent crime, for example, are complex and require careful study. Comparatively, the extraordinary event has a simple solution—attack and destroy the enemy. Above all, then, the transcendent worldview requires an enemy that embodies all that threatens the perfection of the dream. A world created by the designs of an extraordinary authority (namely, God) requires an extraordinary enemy—a Great Evil. Today, fundamentalists conjure terrorists, homosexuals, feminists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Arabs, and science as among the great chimerical evils.
Today’s globalized world requires advanced education, broad knowledge, and critical thinking skills to advance beyond low-wage slavery, frequent job changes, and layoffs. Yet much of the United States, especially the American South since the Civil War, has experienced uncertain opportunity. Especially in the South, society provides only the bare minimum levels of institutional support in health and education. The only consistent opportunity is ideological and faith-based, not economically based. The illusion of charisma and authoritarianism cannot long endure without real accomplishment, but it can inflict significant social harm in the meantime.
Protestant fundamentalism is really a last stand, a final attempt to retain the familiar and strict traditional worldview. This is the last attempt of true-believers to institutionalize anti-intellectual simplicity. Rejection of scientific cosmology, especially regarding the origin of the universe and subsequently the origin of species, seeks to replace evolution with creationism. Now in its early stages, this anti-scientism will expand to challenge such basic theories as plate tectonics and glaciation with creationist beliefs that the continents do not move, and assert instead that large geological change occurred only during Noah’s flood. Ultimately, if it’s not in the Bible then you don’t need to know it.
Authoritarian submission to charismatic figures is one way to address insecurity, but an ultimately futile way because it cannot produce real material changes or reinstate values that have already lost their meaning. Other ways exist, but American culture includes a powerful dislike and distrust of intellectualism and reason, which are arguably necessary prerequisites to realistically address today’s social problems. Modernity has failed to produce a new system of meaning. Although not a solution to the problems of American society, religious intolerance and violence are certainly harbingers of the violent future yet to come.
Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it’s lonely here,
there’s no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every other living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that’s an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother:
it is murder.
You don’t know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I was the little Jew
who wrote the Bible
I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
but love’s the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It’s over, it ain’t going
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil’s RIDING crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder.
Leonard Cohen, The Future
Gary Potter, PhD
Professor, School of Justice Studies
Eastern Kentucky University
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