Grace for Freethinkers

As Presented at the November, 2003 Sunday Service of The North Texas Church of Freethought

I heard that some people here don't say grace before meals, as if they're not grateful. But that is so wrong. There is so much to be grateful for on your plate.

Many members of this church are Conservative, Objectivist or Libertarian. If you are of any of these persuasions, you might want to consider saying the following:

For what we are about to eat, may we be truly grateful. Thanks to the farmers who grew the food, the factory workers who made the tractors they used, the mechanics who maintained them and the engineers who designed them in the first place. Thanks to the truck drivers who shipped the food to the supermarket, and the supermarket that made it available to us. A special thanks to our employers or customers who paid us, so we can buy the food. And, of course, let us not forget the free market systems that makes all those people work together to produce this meal. In the name of the cent and the almighty buck, Amen.

One of the reasons we don't often discuss politics in this church is that it could result in a schism. Where about half of us believe in a free market system, the other half believe in government regulation. Here is the Liberal or Social Democrat version of the Atheistic grace.

For what we are about to eat, may we be truly grateful. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for ensuring the food we eat is healthy and safe. Thanks to the Department of Transportation for the roads on which the food is shipped to us, and to the Department of Justice for ensuring nobody makes a food monopoly that would price it out of our reach. And, of course, thanks to the court system and the various election boards that keep the whole system honest. In the name of the president, the veep and the almighty congress, Amen.

The reason that in the Judeo-Christian tradition you say a blessing before a meal is that when those traditions were established food really was something to be grateful for. Until the industrial revolution, most people spent most of their lives close to the brink of starvation. To be fat in the Middle Ages was a sign of great wealth, able to afford conspicuous consumption, much like driving a Hummer is today. Now that we can usually take our food for granted, it might make more sense to say thanks for something which we, in our day and age, cannot.

I would like to express my appreciation for still having a job. To my boss, thanks for putting in a good word for me. To the CEO and board of directors, thanks for not cutting our budgets. And most of all, I'd like to thank our customers, without whose money my pay check would bounce. In the name of all that is profitable, Amen.

Like most of you, I'm happy and grateful to be here today. I think that for closing, this is appropriate:

I would also like to thank all of the drivers using the same highway as me on the way here for not hitting me. Thanks guys! I'm grateful to still be alive, despite what appeared like your best efforts to the contrary. In the name of all that is safe, Amen.

© 2003 by Ori Pomerantz