Emanuel Ax canceled his plan to form a trio with Yo-Yo Ma and Anne-Sophie Mutter when he realized that folks would inevitably call it the Lizzie Borden Trio.
There’s a lot of news on the religion front recently, starting with the firestorm over Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s signing a “religious freedom” bill that many felt was a thinly veiled attack on gay rights, and not just because they’d learned that the Governor had signed the bill in a private ceremony to which the press and public were barred and the invitees consisted entirely of members of rabidly anti-gay groups like the American Family Association, Roman Catholic clergy, and Orthodox Jewish rabbis. I’m almost surprised he didn’t throw in some Mormon elders, Westboro Baptist Church members, and a couple of Wahhabi imans to cover the bases.
The firestorm led to some backpedaling in order to clarify that no no, the bill was purely intended to bolster religious freedom rather than to discriminate in any way against gays because of course we just love our gays, which showed that Indiana, like the Roman Catholic Church, is perfectly capable of that divine schizophrenia with which it is possible to totally love someone while burning him at the stake.
In San Francisco, the big religious news is that a hundred major local Catholic figures nailed a bundle of theses to the cathedral door by signing a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle asking the Pope to recall our foam-spewing troglodytical archbishop on the grounds that his brand of aggressive ultra-orthodoxy was incompatible with the City of Love, not to mention the 21st century.
All of which gladdened my little black heart and spurred me to an intellectual breakthrough whereby i offer yet another of my selfless modest proposals for the betterment of mankind – a solution to the religion problem.
Let every religion administer whatever penalties it wishes, including stoning and burning at the stake, for violation of its tenents, but it gets to inflict these penalties only on its own members. Oh, and to keep everything fair, someone condemned to death for heresy would not be allowed to leave his religion after he’d been arrested by the religious police and put on trial. Oh no. If you want to be a member of a religion, you gotta have some skin in the game.
Stoning for adultery? You betcha, but only for Muslims. Ten years in the Church’s gold mines for contraception? Fine, but only for Catholics. Shunned by the temple for eating a shrimp? Great for the Jews. Death by firing squad for saying the American Indians are not descendants of Jews who migrated to this continent around the sixth century BCE? OK, but only for Mormons. Death by drowning for baptism without total immersion? Excellent, but only for Baptists.
As soon as i take control of the country and implement these policies, i’ll require all citizens to go to city hall and fill out a Declaration of Religion, stating their religious choice, with children registering on their 18th birthdays. You’ll have a chance to change your religious preference every year on your birthday. All religious preference information will be forwarded to the appropriate religious authorities so they can keep track of their flocks and dispense justice as required.
One of your choices will of course be Atheist, for which there are no religious authorities, so Atheists will be liable only to secular laws.
No big rush to make your choice, though, as i won’t be inaugurated until January, 2017, after the write-in victory of me and my slate of Congress members in the 2016 election. I figure after our landslide victory, most of the members of Congress who were not up for election will see the light and change their party affiliation to Mattite, so the spring of 2017 will see massive changes in the way this country is run.
Meanwhile, here’s a narrow way with strait gates.