Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Five - The Church of the Merchants

Riches in Glory

There came recently to Los Angeles a "world-famous evangelist," known as "Gipsy" Smith. There was a shirt-waist strike at the time, and the girls were starving, and they sent a delegation to this evangelist to ask for help. They told him how they were mistreated, exposed to insults, driven to sell their virtue because their wage would not support life; and to their plea he made answer: "Get Jesus in your hearts, and these questions will take care of themselves"!

So we see the most important of the many services which the Churches perform for the merchants - taking the revolutionary hope of Jesus, for a kingdom of heaven upon earth, and perverting it into a dream of a golden harp in an uncertain future. To appreciate the fullness of this betrayal, take the prayer which Jesus dictated - so simple, direct and practical: "Give us this day our dally bread," and put it beside the hymns which the slave-congregations are trained to sing. In my neighborhood is a one-roomed building with a plate glass front, upon which I observe a painter inscribing in red, white and blue letters the sign "Glory Mission." I approach him, and he drops his work and welcomes me with eager cordiality. Am I "living in grace"? I answer that I am. I have to shout the good tidings into his ear, as he is very deaf. He presents me with his card, which shows that he bears the title of "Reverend, also the sobriquet of "Mountain Missionary." I ask him to permit me to examine the hymn-book which he uses in his work, and with touching eagerness he presses upon me a well-worn volume bearing the title "Waves of Glory." I seat myself and note down a few of the baits it sets out for hungry wage slaves:

O, there's a plenty. 0, there's a plenty,
There's a plenty in my Father's bank above!

Riches in glory, riches in glory,
Royal supply our wants exceed!

Feasting, I'm feasting,
I'm feasting with my Lord!

Beautiful robes, beautiful robes,
Beautiful robes we then shall wear!

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest!

Yes, I'll meet you in the city of the New Jerusalem,
I'll be there, I'll be there!

Blest Canaan land, bright canaan land,
I love to be in Canaan land!

Oh, Beulah land, sweet Beulah land,
As on the highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me!

In the sweet bye and bye
We shall meet on that beautiful shore -

I stopped there, being reminded of Joe Hill, poet of the I.W.W. who was executed a few years ago in Utah, and who used this tune in his little red book of revolutionary chants:

You will eat, bye and bye
In the glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die!

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