“I Believe” is an inspirational popular song from the 1950s that managed to express faith without evoking any particular religion. Frankie Laine took it to the top of the U.K. charts for 18 weeks in 1953, and artists as diverse as Mahalia Jackson, Perry Como, Tammy Wynette, and Elvis Presley produced recordings of it in the following years. Based on the number of versions posted on YouTube, I conclude that it is still well known and loved more than sixty years after its first release.
I found myself thinking of this song, even humming it quietly to myself, as I read numerous news articles and commentary about the suits involving Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby which were argued in front of the Supreme Court last week. Clearly the suits are about belief, and how beliefs drive action. But the more I read, the more I realized that “I believe” can have a number of different meanings and different kinds of meaning, both religious and nonreligious.