"Peart's words, meanwhile, came from some of the usual, rarefied sources – Richard Dawkins and evolutionary psychology are current inspirations – but also in large part from his experiences touring the back roads of America and Europe by motorcycle during Rush's 30th-anniversary tour in 2004.
It was on his rides through various Bible Belts, chronicled in print in Roadshow, that Peart realized he could no longer "stay neutral" on the topic of religion, he says. Snakes & Arrows addresses some of his conclusions in tunes like "Armor and Sword" and "The Way the Wind Blows," which ponder the perversion of faith into oppression and war, and the telling "Faithless," which rejects adherence to higher powers in favour of a humanist allegiance to one's own "moral compass."
"It came from travelling through all these back roads and small towns and seeing these church signs everywhere," says Peart. "Some of them are amusing, like: `If you give the devil a ride, pretty soon he'll want to drive.' That's fantastic. But other ones were just so presumptuous with these big crosses and scripture. What makes you think that's okay? I tried to imagine going by one with the crescent and star saying, `There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.' Or one with the Star of David saying, `That carpenter wasn't our messiah.' It makes me laugh, in a way, but in another, this is so f--ked up.
"It's so arrogant and that's what I can't get over. So I was trying to weigh all that .... I didn't want to make enemies gratuitously, but I decided I had to say something because if I didn't I was just allowing that to happen. It's worth speaking out despite the vilification and stuff that might come back at you. If you're not speaking for reason, you're speaking for unreason."
The full text of this article is at the Toronto Star: