Thursday, April 2, 2009

Don Wagner's "Hopi prayer for peace"

Last week, I reported that, for the March meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, board president Don Wagner provided an unusual “invocation.” Don first noted the controversy that these invocations have inspired. He then explained that he has been studying various religious traditions and he has been "surprised" by the similarities in Deity-invoking prayers among them.

To illustrate—that all faiths, from Hopi to Popee, seem to be singing pretty much the same tune—he read what he described as a “Hopi prayer for peace.”

This seems to me to be a step in the right direction, although I am sure it will be viewed as inadequate by most critics of prayer at public institutions. Critics will no doubt remind us that religion-unspecific or "generic" prayers—and tidied-up Hopi prayers, too—are nevertheless prayers, i.e., alleged squawkage to the great spirit in the sky.

To view Don's invocation, simply go to the district site that provides ARCHIVED VIDEOS. Then click on “video” for the March 24, 2009 meeting.

Don’s prayer occurs about 3 minutes into the video.

For what appears to be a standard version of this Hopi prayer, go to Hopi prayer for peace. I've reproduced that version below. I've also colored RED the verbiage that Don chose to delete and I've colored BLUE the verbiage Don chose to insert.

A Hopi Prayer for Peace

Great Spirit and all unseen, [Heavenly Father,] this day we pray and ask you for guidance, humbly we ask you to help us and fellow men to have recourse to peaceful ways of life, because of uncontrolled deceitfulness by humankind.


Help us all to love, not hate one another. We ask You to be seen in an image of Love and Peace. Let us be seen in beauty, the colors of the rainbows. We respect our Mother, the planet & our corn fields, with our loving care, from Her breast we receive our nourishment.

Let us not listen to the voices of the two[hard]-hearted, the destroyers of mind, the haters of self-made leaders, whose lusts for power and wealth [who] will lead us into confusion and darkness. Seek visions always of world beauty, not violence not battlefields.



Pray for the House of Glass, (United Nations) Pray for within it are minds clear and pure as ice and mountain streams. Pray for the great leaders of nations in the House of Mica who in their own quiet ways help the earth in balance.

We pray the Great Sprit that one day our Mother Earth will be purified into a healthy peaceful one.

Let us Sing [pray] for strength of wisdom with all nations for the good of all people…. It is our duty to pray always for harmony between man and earth, so that the earth will bloom once more. Let us show our emblem of love and goodwill for all life and land.



Our hope is not yet lost, purification must be to restore the health of our Mother Earth for lasting peace and happiness, Techqua Ikachi — for Land and Life!

[Amen.]

It seems that Don got this Hopi prayer to sound "similar" to Judeo-Christian prayers by, um, really changing it. Doncha think?

But at least the boy's trying. Amen.



I was going to catechism class when this song came along in the late 60s. As I recall, all of us thought it was dopey and yet very cool-sounding. Still sounds cool to these old impious ears.

Cooler still: the Kinks, "Big Sky"


Big sky looked down on all the people looking up at the big sky.
Everybody pushing one another around
Big sky feels sad when he sees the children scream and cry
But the big sky's too big to let it get him down.

Mr. Fuentes prays

15 comments:

  1. Man, Ward Churchill has nothing on this guy. Not only does he plagiarize Indian mythology, he gets to be among the Trustees to say it's okay to do it. Let's see, is it protected speech if it's a lie? Do plagiarism and other academic transgressions constitute grounds for dismissal. What a hack.

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  2. It's hard to see the plagerism, since Wagner credited his source. The fact that the thing was edited and the earth-first crap cut so that it wasn't a five minute long bit of mumbo-jumbo like Milchiker spouts also hardly seems a flaw. Looks to me like Wagner's essential point is valid. Looks to me also like the anti-invocation yahoos aren't going to be satisfied with anything but browbeating their opponents into silence. I love the tolerance of the left.

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  3. Oh baloney. It's not "plagiarism", but it is a total misrepresentation of the Hopi prayer. By removing at least fifty percent of the original and then inserting terms borrowed from another religion, he's completely changed the meaning, mood, intent, etc. of this prayer. It is in effect just a Christian prayer in this form. Call it what it is.

    ES

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  4. Who says the left is tolerant, 6:06? For example, we don't tolerate raving assholes like you, yet here you are, stinking up the place.

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  5. Wagner's Hopi Prayer for Peace.

    Hmmm...so when a trustee modifies a Judeo-Christian prayer, it isn't plagiarism? Chunk can you conjure up Fuentes "prayers" over the years and see how closely they align with the biblical versions, assuming you can identify the one official bibical version? Could you please put Fuentes' modifications in red and the "orginal" in blue font for us once you've identified the true version?

    Although some may object to the prayer thing, shouldn't we hold Fuentes to the same standard? I've never seen Fuentes' revisions in red and the "true biblical" version in blue. Or is it only when a trustee steps over into a Hopi village? By the way, if you visit the website, you will see that there are many versions of the Hopi Prayer for Peace...which one is the "true version"?

    Despite the rhetoric, I think Wagner's message was clear whether it is couched in a modified Hopi prayer or in the form of any prayer. It is a message of peace. Folks may need to lay down their arms and listen.

    Good thing there is a First Amendment, don't you think?

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  6. Right on, 12:00 a.m. There are a lot of native american prayers on the web and there's alot of stuff about earth and grasshoppers and animals and walking around but in all, they seem to share the sentiment Wagner was expressing, and that the Judeo-Christian prayers express.

    So it doesn't seem like a misrepresentation at all. As an earlier commentator said, Wagner only cut out the earth first stuff and cut it down for length. The other changes you went to so much trouble to identify, Chunk, are just not that big a deal. "Great Spirit" to "Heavenly father"? "Sing" to "pray"? "Two" to "hard"? No fair observer can find that objectionable.

    Of course, you don't have a lot of fair observers on this blog, do you, Chunk? And it starts at the top with you. For example, just look at your screed against right wingers. You grossly over react, but say nothing about a poster on this thread and his namecalling. What's good for the left doesn't apply to the right? Or did you find that post a model of decorum and logic? What's that again:

    REASON => POSITION

    Not,

    SNEER, WHOOP, RASPBERRY then EXCLAMATION POINT

    Yes, Chunkster, you're all REASON => POSITION . . . not

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  7. Doesn't anyone understand what plagiarism is?? Using biblical prayers and passing them off as your own original material would be plagiarism. That would be nearly impossible to convincingly do with any from the Bible, of course.

    Biblical prayers are meant to be used, and there is no instruction against modification, as far as I know. Most people do not modify The Lord's Prayer intentionally, however.

    I don't think that Wagner's modification itself is the issue. BUT, he subtracted more than seventy percent of the prayer, AND then ADDED elements from Christian religion, but still offered it as the "Hopi Prayer for Peace"; it clearly was not even close to the same prayer.

    That's not plagiarism; it's just ridiculous.

    ES

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  8. I need clarification. I've heard a rumor that star reporter, Chunk, took a major towser at the March Board meeting in front of the Great Spirit, God Almighty, and the Board of Trustees as well as the rest of the crowd. I didn't see any mention of the towser in Tracy Daly's Highlights or in the Blog Board Report. Did Chunk take a towser?

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  9. Yep, the Chunkster fell flat on his kiester during the middle of the board meeting. It was hysterical and oddly went unremarked upon by the big clumsy oaf in his own report of the event.

    But let a Lee Walker have a pants problem, or Sherry Miller-White have a bad fair day and Chuky can't wait to post the pic or make fun.

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  10. Good grief. What happened was this: in order to take pictures, I quietly walked to the side of the dais--where the accordian-like divider is folded and stored. I thought it was a solid wall, and so, when I leaned against it, I lost my balance, though I did not actually fall on my derrière. I did consider "reporting" this quasi-pratfall--it would not have been the first time I described my own folly--but, in the end, the fleeting incident just struck me as uninteresting. I did, however, take the pictures I wanted to take. Then I sat down. There is much that occurs at these meetings that I do not report. There is much that is embarrassing about my "opponents" in the district that I have never reported. But if it is important to you to know when someone loses his balance or trips, I guess I can create a special "pratfall" sidebar. The original reporter of the Lee Walker incident was a witness to that event--Red Emma--not me. As I recall, the always-clever Red used the infamous dropping-drawers as a metaphor for much else. Whether he was merely reporting a notorious simpleton's drawer-droppage, I can't really say, though I doubt it. Red is usually up to more than just that.

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  11. "The other changes you went to so much trouble to identify, Chunk, are just not that big a deal. "Great Spirit" to "Heavenly father"? "Sing" to "pray"?"

    This is part of the great disingenuousness of the right wing. "Heavenly Father" is vastly different from "Great spirit", obviosly. And if you don't get the difference between singing and praying, you're just being deliberately thick.

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  12. "Great Spirit" and "Heavenly Father" are hardly "vastly different," if different at all. News flash: "God" and "Allah" are the same, too. And while the difference between singing and praying are significant when one compares prayers to songs, this was a prayer Wagner was spouting, not a song. Sing was used in the worship sense. Consider the Psalms of David or the Song of Solomon. (Ask someone with a Bible if you don't recognize the references.) Thus, in a flippin' prayer, the change of "sing" to "pray" changes nothing. Obviously.

    Geez. Be honest at least!

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  13. Great Spirit connotes some sort of universal energy force or other new age claptrap that nonetheless would seem to apply to all living things. Heavenly Father is a paternal, authoritarian term that provides a vision of a large man sitting in his heavenly den, providing wisdom from his point of view and the occasional slap on the head as he sees fit.

    Singing is also something universally done, without a necessary reference to some sort of religion. Praying, is, well, praying.

    Sorry this was too difficult for you to grasp.

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  14. Really, 11:16, how non-sensical. Sing is something everyone does? Singing for "wisdom"? That's what the prayer says: "Sing for strength of wisdom." Ooops, 11:16, but those are the words of prayers. Too bad you can't grasp that concept. Maybe if you were familiar with and dealt with my examples of the Psalms or Song of Solomon you would have a better argument. But you didn't and you don't.

    And Great Spirit is not some universal new age energy field according to the Native American religions. You're thinking of Star Wars or Deepak Chopra. You've got to read a bit more widely in the subject. I suggest a Cultural Anthro class at IVC. The Native Americans all had specific creation myths (as do most, if not all religions), with a creator god. That's the Great Spirit or God, not the Force.

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  15. I appreciate your ability to completely ignore the point made earlier. It's nice and all that there is the Song of Solomon, and that your favorite book talks about singing for wisdom, but then that's a pretty sepcific use of the word sing. How about "pray" for strength of wisdom? See? A distinction without a difference. And Wagner sure wan't singing at his faux little invocation.

    The great spirit terminology is also nice, but you didn't answer the concern about the father/paternal issues. Maybe you like an authoritarian supreme being, but it's pretty unpleasant.

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