World Cafe Interview: Inside Neil's Faith
Last week on NPR's World Cafe, Neil Young was interviewed on the new "Prairie Wind" CD. In the interview with World Cafe's David Dye, Neil revealed some rather personal observations on faith and politics.
And long time readers of Thrasher's Wheat know that we have a particular fondness for the collision of politics and religion.
The question was a lead-in to "Prairie Wind"'s "When God Made Me", a song with lyrics that have provoked a wide range of reaction.
Here's a partial transcript:
YOUNG: "I think religion and freedom of religion and people’s relationship with God is something that should not be hijacked by any certain political party.
The Founding Fathers of this country, there were only a couple of them that were religiously-based or were God-fearing. And now, in the Bush cabinet, you have almost, like, a hundred percent Christian. I just think it’s out of balance. I respect their religion, I respect the way they feel, I respect everything about the way they want to worship, I respect their right to do whatever they want.
But, I just want to be respected for my right and have my relationship with God, and I don’t want any political party to be accused of not being faith-based or to be anti-faith because they don’t happen to agree with some Christian ethics or some Christian ways of life.
Christianity can be respected just like Muslim religions, like Jewish religion, just like any other religion. Your relationship with God is about your relationship with God. When you go to Heaven, or wherever you go, you... it’s between you and God. It’s not between, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t, you know, I could be called a pagan, I suppose, but if you go back far enough, you’ll find that pagans really are people who believe in the Earth, they’re people who believe in the harmony of nature. They’re like the Indians, they’re like the Great Spirit, they believe in the Great Spirit, and it was the insecurity of Christianity that turned paganism into a negative term.
And, if you go back to the roots of these things, and see where they came from, you know, I respect everyone’s right to do whatever they want to do, but I think that, this particular administration, and in the country this time, and it’s only a temporary thing – I have faith in that – but, ah, I think they’ve just hijacked people’s right for freedom of religion and, they’ve confused the separation of church and state. Prayer meetings in the White House, um, all the time, you know, all of these things.
There’s nothing wrong with having a prayer meeting, but, and obviously there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a prayer meeting, I wouldn’t, you know, be against that under any circumstances, but it’s a little bit too focused in one place, and it seems to be that, that, you know, Christianity has taken a turn here, attendance is down in churches, there’s a disbelief, it, it’s been hijacked, I feel like something is totally out of whack, and I think we’re going to get it back, I think there’s going to be a rebound, it’s a pendulum, and but the way it’s going right now, there’s just too much of it, you know, I’d like my kids to grow up free, to live the way they want to live and to worship their own, worship the way they want to worship without pressure in the United States of America."
The interview took place shortly after the Nashville concerts in August 2005.
More interviews with Neil Young.