Do Republicans Know “Hallelujah” Is About Sex?

Leonard Cohen was a Canadian Jew.

Everett Collection/Shutterstock

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As fireworks lit up the sky over the White House following Donald Trump’s acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination, speakers blasted two separate renditions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” But the song isn’t the Christian hymn Republicans seem to think it is.

A Canadian Jew and practitioner of Zen Buddhism, Leonard Cohen wrote such wholesome tunes as “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On.” If you listen to the lyrics of “Hallelujah,” which Cohen released in 1984 and which Jeff Buckley popularized with an orgiastic rendition 10 years later, you’ll notice that the song is less an exaltation of God than a cynical rumination on more secular matters. Now, tell me this verse isn’t about sex:

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you
and the holy dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was hallelujah.

None of this mattered to Trump fans.

It’s all pretty ironic, given how frigid Republicans tend to be when it comes to sex: no free birth control, no sex ed, no dining with any women other than your wife, no cuckolding. The RNC featured several conservative Christian speakers, so let me reiterate: Leonard Cohen was Jewish.

Cohen conveniently died one day before Trump was elected president in 2016, but I think it’s safe to say he wouldn’t have sported a MAGA hat.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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