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The Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Hymnal

A friend passes along a selection of hymns for the religion of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. According to the e-mail:

Selection criteria include (1) minimal references to Jesus, (2) highly sentimental content, (3) emphasis on fulfillment and happiness, and (4) choruses with repeated refrains.

I can’t reproduce the hymns scanned in, but I’ve put in links to the lyrics. The first suggestion: Carry Your Cross With a Smile. Says the author:

Never let being put to death be unpleasant. Instead, try to “beguile others to gladness” by smiling as you think about all the coming rewards.

Another suggestion: There Shall Be Showers of Blessing, chosen because it urges the faithful to:

 Focus on asking God to shower us with blessings that “we need.”

A third suggestion? Help Somebody Today, which makes the MTD hymn canon because it encourages us to:

Live out MTD ethics by finding one person per day to whom to do “a little neighborly deed.”

Finally, there is God Will Take Care Of You, which should inspire the MTD faithful to:

 Be confident that God will take care of you in all your needs:

All of these selections come not from the happy-clappy, Kum-Ba-Yahoos of the 1960s, but from Zondervan’s “Inspiring Hymns” collection published in, get this, 1951, when Truman was president.

You have any MTD Hymnal suggestions? Tell us what, and why you chose it.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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