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"The Face of the Enemy"

An item in the evening news riled me badly. A blue-robed pastor of a huge opulent Presbyterian Church in Florida stated that he expected the Acting President to pay back the fundamentalists who were used by God to put him in power, by changing the courts so that he and his children won't have to watch two males showing affection in the stands at a ballgame! I think he was wanting more than he's ever going to get -- but then it got worse.

The reporter asked him if he had any word for all those listeners who may not be Christians. The man smiled sweetly and barked, "Repent!" The reporter then asked him if he wasn't concerned that some viewers might find his position offensive. He replied, "I couldn't care less. I'm not concerned at all about offending doomed unbelievers." He knows the will of God for everyone. He understands the Source of all Power and Truth and Justice and Love in the universe. He grins while he alludes to the eternal conscious torment of billions of people.

He made me ashamed that I had ever been connected to the Presbyterian Church in any way. He clarified for me why I left, and justified entirely that decision, which was difficult at the time, strange as that seems now. "Come out from among them," the Book says, but it isn't as easy as it sounds.

I wish I had caught the name of that blue-robed fundamentalist pastor, so that I could refer to him by name. Somewhere in the world's allegorical literature there is a character named Smaug. In Tolkein's material, maybe. I've taken it to mean, "smug." So, I'll call this fellow the very right reverend Smug, until I learn his real name.

The Rev. Smug's smirk haunts me when I close my eyes. I see that basic fundamentalist meanness glaring out at me and at all who would thwart him in any way. No wonder he likes the Acting President -- they both use that glare as if it conveyed Cosmic Wrath. But it doesn't. There's no such thing. The two of them simply wish there were, and would use it to do harm to the world, if they could.

The Reverend Smug says he couldn't care less, and I believe him. Compassion, fellow-feeling learned from walking in the other person's moccasins, charity, love, pity, mercy -- none of that is in his heart. Shouldn't the saved waste some of their love on the benighted lost? Don't suggest it. These smug ones don't think like that. They are into punishment and maximization of suffering.

The prospect of Armageddon, which if taken literally would make any sensitive person shudder, makes the Rev. Smug drool. I think he may be seriously mentally ill, and we should not be fooled by the robes and titles and adulation of the uninformed. This clergyman is dangerous, and the Acting President, whom he admires so much, is vastly more so, because he has his finger on literally thousands of atomic bomb triggers, and is demanding more.

Caligula, who was certifiably insane by any known method of measure, was once Emperor of the Romans. They had sharp iron swords in those days, and catapults that threw stones and battering rams that knocked down doors and walls. The Praetorian Guard murdered Caligula, before he could bring about a major catastrophe. There's an interesting footnote from history, which the Acting President is proud not to know any of.

"Rachel, Rachel, I've been thinking,
What a great world this would be --"
...if everyone who believed in the rapture would just quit stalling and get the hell off this planet. "Go! Go to Heaven! And the rest of us can get to work repairing all the damage you have done."

I'm trying hard not to be smug.

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Copyright © 2004 Harry Willson

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