Sarah McLachlan released a cover of this song on her Rarities, B-sides and Other Stuff album.

Normally, for a cover to be worthwhile, the artist needs to take the song and add their own personal style to it. Otherwise, what's the point? After all, you could just go out and purchase the original. The Bangles' cover of Hazy Shade of Winter an example of a worthwhile cover. Also, Weird Al's polka medleys of popular songs work because the style is so completely different.

McLachlan didn't change the style of this song very much at all, but in this case, it worked extremely well. It starts sparse, quiet, thoughtful, almost pleading tone, but then her anger builds slowly, until it eventually climaxes with a "heretic-screaming-from-the-stake" ferocity. McLachlan manages the emotional range far better than Andy Partridge, and while XTC's original is great, McLachlan's is even better.

Of course no American radio station will ever play it.

Can we talk?

I mean really talk, you know like people. I know you've got this Supreme Being thing going but I think things are going wrong. Not so much with you as with us, you know, your people. We're fucking up, and we both know it.

It's like this: the people who claim to love you the most have become the world's biggest dickwads. Those al-Quaeda guys bend down to pray five times a day and somehow keep coming up with the idea that you really didn't mean that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" bit. It seems simple enough really, but they figure it's okay to kill everyone because they're so damn pious. And it really doesn't stop with them. Baruch Goldstein killed twenty-nine Muslims and wounded 150 more because they prayed to the wrong you, and a whole bunch of Jewish fanatics have tried to turn his grave into a shrine. Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a rabbinical student for daring to try and make a peace treaty. People who say they support life have put out 'wanted posters' featuring the faces of Doctors who perform safe, legal abortions and have killed nine, including two murdered by one of your ministers. And what the hell is it with that Phelps guy and his family of fanatics? The Pope has a history of covering for child molesters and one of your Cardinals compared public criticism of church behavior to the Holocaust. Others have turned the progressive income tax into a religious issue. Sure you have John Spong and Jim Wallis out there, but by and large the good people in your service are a lot less noticeable then the asswipes.

All this is really hurting you. People don't think of believers as the guys who bring over dinner when you're sick: they think of your people as homocidal fanatics. Or self-righteous creeps. Or hypocrites who are excused because they persecute others for doing the same things they do, like self-hatred is supposed to be a virtue. The nicest image of religious people in the world today is Homer Simpson's long suffering neighbor Ned Flanders. Not that Ned's a bad image, he's positive, he cares about people and if he's a weenie he's not very big on judging others. But weenie is what most people see. And they see a whole lot of wars: Muslims vs. Hindus in India and Pakistan, Jews vs Muslims in the Levant, Protestants vs Catholics, and the former Yugoslavia are pure and simple proof that belief in you makes people warlike, intolerant and self-righteous. That religion is not about uplifting the poor, aiding the sick, feeding the hungry or comforting the widow. It's about human beings using their particular sect to make themselves feel better then everyone else. It's about deciding it's Your Way or the Highway even though the hundreds of individual sects inside each of your major religions are proof people just can't agree at all on what You want.

Personally, I think it's your style. It's hands off. You like to whisper in people's ear. And people do need to make their own mistakes if they're going to learn. Free will implies the freedom to screw up. You figure you gave them the good book. Telling people what to do isn't your style. You want prayer to be a time of contemplation. But the problem with belief, strong belief is it has a way of making your thoughts real loud, like in a Rorschach test. Each of us looks at the ink splotches and finds their own meaning. Your Good Books are like that too, full of both peace and war. And each of us picks the bits we like.

What I'm saying is this hands off style isn't cutting it any more. Our disagreements aren't minor any more and while as a political scientist I know there are plenty of secular reasons for each of the conflicts being contested in Your Name the fact is nobody is setting anyone straight. Nobody learns. Everybody believes they know better then anybody else. Sure you'd think the whole ark thing and the killing of Egypt's First born might get the point, but the thing is everybody simply says the other guy will bring down Your Wrath. Some people are even hoping to screw things up in order to get you to come save them. Like Daddy always did when they were five and had a stubbed toe.

Lord, the time has come for you to get your hands dirty again. To let people know who is and is not Full Of It. I'm not suggesting repeating the whole flood thing or triggering a nuclear war. Just a few well-aimed lightning bolts like Zeus used to toss. Something that can't be blamed on the CIA or the liberal media. Maybe a tornado. Or like you did with Paul strike them blind until they Figure it Out. After all, Paul was a fanatic back then. Maybe what worked for Him will work for Osama. Or Fred Phelps. Whatever you decide, let us know which of Your People has it right. Me, I'm betting on the meek, but I'm just a human and I have my own flaws and prejudices. Whatever it is, Your people need to see You act, like you did in the old days.

Better to do it now then later after we've burned our world because I think we both know time is not on humanity's side.

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