By David Glenn Cox
The Extreme Court has spoken. Religious people and their beliefs are officially considered superior to the beliefs of those who don’t have imaginary play friends. The court ruled Christians and Jews were exempt from the state of New York’s Covid 19 rules. They can gather to hold their ancient rights and rituals and then refreshed and refilled with God’s love. They can return to the streets of New York as deadly as any gang banger flying colors in the boroughs.
When I was a small boy, I had an imaginary friend. He was someone I could talk to when no one else was around. Someone I could explain my troubles too. Even as a small boy I knew my play friend wasn’t real. He could help me with my troubles but couldn’t help me clean up my room. My mother took us to church for indoctrination but no matter how hard trained professionals tried they just couldn’t get it to stick. I could believe in Santa Claus, but I couldn’t believe in Jesus. Santa brought gifts to children with only the proviso being good behavior. Jesus is the God of love who sentences people to hell for eternity for the crimes he knew they would commit before they were born. A manufactures defect he takes no responsibility for.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. God created the heavens and the universe for just two people. God kept them as pets like Cocker Spaniels Scruffy and Muffy in a big garden. He enjoyed their fraternity “Get the stick!” watching them exist in the paradise he’d built for them. Running naked playing games in the garden, it was an ideal world for beings without goals or ambitions or intellectual curiosity. Then God opened a school and began to teach, oh wait. No wait, that’s bad. God warned Scruffy and Muffy not to eat of the tree of knowledge. You could end up an Art Major with 60K in student loans and few job prospects. God doesn’t want you to eat of the tree. Knowledge and free will are bad because with enough knowledge and free will, you won’t believe in God anymore. Ask that talking snake, he’ll tell you!
I always wondered where the schism between Christians and Jews first began. I assumed it had to do with the paranoid belief that the Jews had killed Jesus. First as a point of law you cannot be convicted of killing someone unless you can prove that that someone actually existed. Secondly the Jews were an occupied people the Romans allowed religious freedom because it served their purposes. If the Jews killed Jesus, it would be because Rome didn’t care. “Who? Never heard of him.”
But here it is Biblical times, and you are a Jew. You follow the laws and study the text. You follow the dietary rules and keep only to your own kind. Then one day, the filthy heathen from across the street calls out to you, “Joseph! Guess what! I’m a Jew now too! That Jewish Rabi Jesus, he said so! I guess we’ll be seeing a lot of each other from now on.”
Wait! You can’t be a Jew look at your haircut. Look at your clothes and you run a pork barbeque stand! “Yeah, Jesus said I didn’t have to sweat any of that. Just believing in him was all I had to do. No muss no fuss one size fits all.” One could only imagine what the parishioners at the First Self-righteous Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart in Notasulga, Alabama, would think when a van load of Hippies from California bought the church across the street and opened, The New First Self-righteous Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart and according to Bob, you can do whatever you want! “Beat it, kid, quit working my side of the street!”
The Pope put a bounty on the head of Henry the Eighth. Henry broke the monopoly and now there is a hamburger stand on every corner. Buy a book, rent a hall and anything goes. Snake handlers, Primitive, Hard Rock (Not the Café) Old timey Gospel. Yee ha! With electric guitars and drums! “Oh, the glory of the lord!” Don’t you want your soul saved? I’ll tell you about the man swallowed by a whale who stayed alive. The belly of a whale is actually like an efficiency apartment with lights and air to breath. “No, no, it’s not.”
I believe in religious freedom to a point. I don’t care if you wanna waltz with monkeys or listen to snakes lecturing. The folly of another’s religion teaches me to question my own. A belief system that demands belief at the expense of common sense is a cult. A belief system which refuses to co-exist with fact and logic might as well throw virgins in the volcano to fix the stock market. It doesn’t make sense that churches and synagogues would want to risk their community, especially since their parishioners tend to be older and besides, you can pray anywhere. But this is the United States, we all know who the one true god is. No service, no collection. No collection, no money. No money, God is not happy get my lawyer on the horn.
If you want to handle snakes that’s cool. If you want to smoke peyote in a sweat lodge that’s cool too. I’m good with that. I’m good with anything people want to do to find peace as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. In this case the right to swing your arm ends at my nose literally. The idea that the laws of the land are interpreted through a book of fables is like hiring a brain surgeon because he’s a regular church goer. The Bible and the buck. The black robed priests, and priestesses declare God is open for business and call it law. Jim Jones say’s, “the Kool Aid is ready!” Where is your faith?