“Sexuality, and sexual orientation – regardless of orientation – is just natural. An act of sex is one of the most human things. But an organization like the church, say, through its doctrine, would undermine humanity by successfully teaching shame about sexual orientation – that it is sinful, or that it offends God. The song is about asserting yourself and reclaiming your humanity through an act of love.” (“Q&A: Hozier on Gay Rights, Sexuality, and Good Hair”. NY Magazine. 11 March 2014.)
I’ll admit, we chose the picture that reminds me of this song for today partly because of the obvious connection between church and Sunday, but also because it is one of those instances where the picture came long before the song. The photo was taken in 2010 and Hozier’s song wasn’t released until 2013. However, that’s just how strongly the connection is in my head. The instant I first heard the song, which I quite like, I thought of this photo.
Not that the song actually has anything to do with the act of going to church in the traditional sense. Hozier wrote the song after a bad breakup, which isn’t all that uncommon in the music field. Comparing a lover to religion is a little more unique, but in making that comparison, the young Irishman takes on centuries of Catholic dogma in a way I’ve not seen since another young Irish performer, Sinead O’Conner.
Hypocrisy, bending truth to fit convenience, attempting to exert control over someone else’s life, tarnish the symbol of the cross that holds one’s attention in this picture. That the cross is blurred speaks to the less-than-clear meaning it holds in contemporary society. I find it humorous that many who wear it see no actual religious connotation to the symbol at all, but find it merely a pretty decoration. Do they feel the same way about love; is that just a pretty decoration as well? Or is the cross a warning that the person, like the Church, will attempt to diminish one’s own humanity? Perhaps it has no meaning at all.
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
Religion and love are both inescapable. Both have the ability to do good, but too often they both leave us wondering who we are versus who they want us to be. So we ponder.
Take a listen to the song. Enjoy the picture. This is going to be a fun week.
Take Me to Church, a song by Hozier on Spotify