Thursday, November 30, 2023

"Dear God..."



        "God the Father," by Ambrogio Bevilacqua (Metropolitan Museum of Art)


     Even writing every goddamn day, some scraps don't get posted. Like this missive to the Supreme Being, drafted at the end of October. I noticed it, scanning back over old material, and felt it could liven up the last day of November.


Dear God:

     I see that, in Your infinite wisdom, You have personally chosen to elevate Mike Johnson, obscure Republican of Louisiana, as the Speaker of the House. That's how he views it anyway:
     "The Bible is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority,” said Johnson, attempting to give his new post a shimmer of the divine. “He raised up each of you, all of us. And I believe that God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific time."
     Does that count for Joe Biden? The president of the United States? Or was he snuck into office while You were busy elsewhere, perhaps molding galaxies. (A process I've always thought of as being similar to making a snowball. You scrape an infinity of cosmic matter in one of Your enormous hands, pat it into a vaguely spherical shape, then set it twirling on Your divine fingertip in one of the further reaches of the universe, then step back to admire Your handiwork for a moment, or a billion years, then proceed to the next one. Thank You for that, Lord, for those spinning galaxies. They're so cool. And for Saturn. That's also very... 
     Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, religion screeching into the United States Congress. And the stunning hypocrisy of conjuring up Your Holy Approval, for people Republicans approve of, generally themselves alone, and Your Divine Scorn, for people they don't like. 
     Not to forget the plain weirdness of it all, the contortions they manage while imagining Your will. Johnson, who is opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, explained his absent wife, Kelly, this way:“She’s spent the last couple of weeks on her knees in prayer to the Lord. And, um, she’s a little worn out.”
     That's the downside of the current trend toward just vomiting forth verbiage and worrying about what kernels of sense can be picked out later. Setting aside the locker room prurience of Kelly on her knees, a man offering up the image of his wife beseeching the Lord for the last "couple of weeks" not only smacks of desperation, but is kinda an insult to the Deity. I mean, you are many things, O mighty God, but slow on the uptake is not one of them, supposedly. 
     And isn't that a contradiction to Johnson's first statement, about government power being foreordained by You according to Your Divine Plan? Either you are looking out for the benefit of your flock by anointing wise and prudent leaders like Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Or you are harkening to the entreaty of politicians' wives (and, of course, husbands), desperate to advance their spouses' fortunes.  It can hardly be both.
     Anyway, You've got better things to do, Mr. Omniscient — I hope reading my letter didn't distract You too much, Lord. (Though it would explain Gaza. Distracted by some obscure politician's wife, groveling in the dirt, demanding advancement for her man, you let all hell break loose in Your promised land). 
     But since I have Your Infallible Attention, I might point out that were a particular but unspecified member of the human race to be suddenly riven by a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky, charred to a cinder on the back nine at some garish golf course, well, that would be more than enough to make this peace-loving non-believer forevermore convinced of Your Divine Majesty. Truly. I'll start lighting candles on Fridays, and preach Your unquestionable existence. Is it a deal? Or do you only slaughter toddlers hiding in basements?

Your humble servant,

Neil Steinberg

28 comments:

  1. Hee hee hee. Images of a funny movie abd that golf course lightning but the priest has orange hair.

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  2. Thanks Neil, important words.

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  3. The image of a scorched orange Jesus will get me through the day. Thanks!

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  4. I am so everlasting tired of religion creeping into every damn thing. Any religion, but right now specifically the Christian Nationalism espoused by radical evangelicals. Religions are intentionally patriarchal, dreamed up by men and inflicted upon woman for the sole purpose of power and control. I don't know why men think they have the divine right to control women when they mostly cannot control themselves.

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    1. Bless your heart.

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    2. I've called it Christian Fascism for years now. because that's what it is. They're trying to force their beliefs on non-believers? F'k that noise. That is something worth fighting against. Not just metaphorically or spiritually...but physically as well.

      Religion is a mind game that some people use to stave off the fear of nothingness, which gets more real as one ages, and the sobering realization that life will continue to proceed, just as it always has, only without you. No snow. No summer. No baseball. No beaches. In heaven, there is no beer. Assuming there even is a heaven or a hell, or a God. Which I do not.

      To walk through a cemetery on a beautiful summer's day, and to realize that all these people once had lives and thoughts like your own, or that a summer will come and that you will not be here to see it....that's saddening, scary, and hard. If religion and a Sky Daddy help someone to deal with all that, fine. Good for you. Whatever gets you through the night. But it's definitely not everyone's glass of tea. It isn't mine, and it never has been. You do you...and you'd damn well better let me be me.

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    3. Amen to you. Grizz, I'm right beside you in the Elder Brigade.

      I don't want to fight, but goddammit, I will.

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    4. I'm 76, probably too old to shoulder a musket. Do you wish you were 21 again, as I was in that wonderful year of 1968? In some ways, I do...so I could fight the good fight, just as I did then. But that's about it. I don't envy kids and young adults. I had my fun, and I had a good run. People under 40 still have to walk down forty miles of bad road. And it's mined. I'm glad I'm not young anymore.

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    5. Whatever else religion is, it is, as its most holy books proclaim, most certainly a mighty sword with which to smite one's enemies. From Moses to Constantine to Hamas and Netanyahu (and of course in an incomprehensible piddling way to Speaker Michael Johnson and his devoutly prurient wife) religion has authorized, even commanded, battle, no quarter battle, against unbelievers. So much for the Golden Rule -- maybe next galaxy, Lord.

      john

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  5. I'd like to comment, but I can't get past Mrs. Johnson on her knees.

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  6. 🚢🏽‍♀️Trans John/Karen 3/22November 30, 2023 at 8:12 AM

    All evidence points to the fact that Mrs. Johnson has been busy tracking down all the internet postings and videos that she and her husband have been creating over the years and trying to make them ‘disappear’. Difficult, exhausting work, as officials of the Third Reich proved in 1945.
    As for the divine creator, She is busy until well into January deliberating over who should prevail in college football bowl games. That might boil down to which team ranks highest on the decibel meter when they start shouting ‘Jesus’ in the locker room. Is high school football finished yet? If they’re still playing, that would probably stress Her out even more. Lots of time spent in Texas, lots of people who will lose their faith when their town’s team doesn’t win. Even if the coach assures them that it was Her will. (Hang the S.O.B. In effigy. Then fire him.). Toughest time of the year for Her.

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    1. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas are probably the biggest states for high school football. Here in Ohio, it's still going on. November and early December are playoff time. High school football a BFD in Ohio, especially in the southernmost half of the state.

      Fewer than one in five Ohioans over 25 attain a college degree. For about a third of the population, high school is as far as they get. They peak early, and it's all downhill from there. So it's rah-rah-rah and sis-boom-bah for the old alma mater down the street, or across town. And each fighting eleven thinks He (or She) is on their side. Good luck with that one.

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    2. Visited an Episcopal cathedral yesterday, to hear the choir doing seasonal carols. In the parking lot, we saw a car that was covered with Bible quotes. One of them read: "Only a fool says there is no God" That one is from Psalm 14:1-3 in the King James Version. The verse reads, in part: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." Okay, fine. Whatever...

      So I said to the wife. "Well, call me a fool then. Call me whatchoowanna. I've been called a lot worse." Didn't say it loudly enough to upset the folks trying to get an elderly lady into that clown car. I wasn't looking for trouble. They looked like decent people. Decent, God-fearing people. People who had guzzled the Kool-Aid.

      They didn't make me feel annoyed or angry.
      More like sorrow and pity.

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  7. Rumors circulating about Liz Cheney's book suggest that some House Republicans used to call Trump "Orange Jesus." Is it possible that Mike Johnson was one of those Republicans? If not, did he denounce those Republicans?

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    1. The one that called the "Orange Jesus" was a guy named Green from Oklahoma.
      And to continue Christo-Fascist Johnson's beliefs, did his god also send George Santos to Congress?
      And Dennis Hastert, the child molester?

      Which is why, I may be culturally an American Jew, but a total Died Again atheist!

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  8. It's the religious warping and contortions that cause me to marvel. Just a few years ago, I'd see bumper stickers that said "WWJD?" No more! Because those same believers now claim Jesus was actually "weak" or "soft". I cant keep up with all the twists.

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  9. Well, I wouldn’t say Hee hee hee, but wise words. Can’t believe they were languishing on the scrap heap.

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  10. Still not sure which part of MAGA Mike scares me the most: The Christo- part or the Fascist- part.

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  11. Neil, Neil, Neil. If you continue to use common sense and logic in your columns I am just going to have to unsubscribe. 😁

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  12. Always such a pleasure to read unbelievers. The thought of faith so repulsive, all mysteries solved. You have to be right.

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    1. See, that's just ignorance talking. Nobody is "repulsed" by religion — don't try to conflate rejection into hate. I habitually find positive things in religion, where I can — Dante, for instance. Agnostics don't "have" to be right. We ARE right. Now stand up — your tears are dampening my knee — blow your nose, and try to act like an adult. Religion blinds you to the fact that fooling yourself is far easier than fooling others.

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    2. I feel it's reasonable to be an intelligent , educated person who believes in god . Many eminent scientists are deists, as well as theists. Having an acknowledgment of a spiritual connection to a power greater than yourself does not make you an ignorant fool. Believing in something that you cannot see or prove does not mean it doesn't exist.

      Not believing in something doesn't mean its not possible. It's possible there is a god. Certainty seems to me an unnecessary position in either case. Im a very skeptical person . Still I believe there might be some sort of god force.

      Now religion is an entirely different matter and religious extremism cause immense problems.

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  13. If The Believers are right, Little Mikey Johnson will one day face his Judgement. How will he convince his Jesus that assault weapons are no worse than automobiles, as both cause many tragic deaths? That he would make such an insane equivalence proves that he doesn't really believe in all that pious bullshit. Rational people know the concept of Judgement Day is only slightly less ridiculous than the Genesis creation story.

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  14. My high school journalism teacher said it best. “Religion was fine until man got involved”.

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  15. Johnson, his wife and their followers, belong in a padded cell.

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