‘Sinéad O’Connor Saved Our Marriage’ | Sojourners

‘Sinéad O’Connor Saved Our Marriage’

The timeless wisdom of ‘Universal Mother’ calls us to be gentle.
The image shows a mural of Sinead O'Connor, with the words "Sinead you were right all along. We were wrong. So sorry."
Artwork featuring Sinéad O'Conner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dubin. Niall Carson / Alamy Stock Photo

AS AN INFANT, my son Malachi inserted an “el” sound into his cries. “Ah-La,” he wailed with outstretched arms. My husband Michael scooped up our boy and crooned Sinéad O’Connor’s lyrics, “All babies are born saying God’s name” (from “All Babies,” on the album Universal Mother, 1994).

As church-going Christians, we didn’t call God “Allah,” but we recognized it as the Islamic name for the Most Divine. We heard that name in our baby’s voice. But what strange lullaby was my husband singing to our child? “All babies are born out of great pain / Over and over, all born into great pain / All babies are crying / For no one remembers God’s name.”

I came of age to O’Connor’s 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, belting out every word to the hit “Nothing Compares 2 U.” I stayed up late one night during 9th grade to watch O’Connor on S aturday Night Live. I was confused when she sang a cover of Bob Marley’s “War,” itself a rendition of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s 1963 speech to the U.N., then tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II. I did not know then that she was protesting years of rampant child sexual abuse largely ignored by the church. She wanted us to listen to the cries of children.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $3.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!
for more info