A HARD MONTH FOR GOD
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- God was exhausted. He sat in His huge pearly chair behind the huge pearly gates wiping His huge pearly forehead with a huge pearly handkerchief.
"I don't think I can take much more," He told St. Peter, who was holding a huge pearly book.
"I agree," Peter said. "I'm getting writer's cramp."
"Let's review April," God said.
"Good idea," St. Peter said. "First we had that poor bulimic from America, Terri Schiavo. Half the world is starving and the Americans go in for bingeing and purging."
"Yes, the cruelty of the Americans never ceases to amaze me," God said. "They create a culture that worships physical beauty, the better to gain more of what they really worship, money. Money, by the way, which they know will not buy happiness."
"They don't worship happiness, my Lord," St. Peter said. "They worship power, and money buys power."
"Yes, power. Which makes a mockery of my primary law, which is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. All those politicians posturing to keep Ms. Schiavo alive. Write down their names, Peter. George W. Bush - well, we already have quite a file on that one, don't we? And Delay, and Frist the kitten-killer, all those hypocrites. When they arrive up here, we'll have much to talk about."
"In any case, we sent the poor girl to heaven, where she can eat manna to her heart's content," St. Peter said. "Then, before we had a moment to breathe, we got John Paul II."
"Yes, that one took a lot of time." God said. "The man did so much good in the world. His fight against Hitler and Communism, his support of Solidarity, his travels, his opposition to the useless idea that death is a crime deterrent."
"In many ways, he was a great and holy man, Lord."
"Yes. It was a pleasure to have a decent Pope up here again. They have too many Borgias and too few Roncallis in that church, I'm afraid."
"Still, we had to chastise him, Lord."
"Yes. These group-think religions ignore the fundamental truth that all people are created equal. It's against everything I believe for one gender to dominate another. And even if it made any sense, the women would be dominating, because they carry new life. For a pope - a holy man - to forbid women to serve me in my own church! To deny them worldly achievements by denying them birth control! They have half of the world's intelligence. It just defies common sense."
"And then there was the homosexual issue, my Lord."
"Don't get me started. What do they think, I made all the people on earth and someone else made the homosexuals? Who, if not Me, Myself and I? They're all God's creatures, and those so-called religious nuts better get used to it."
"I guess we told off John Paul good on that one, Lord."
"Yes, we got in our licks. Of course, he was right about abortion. But how much abortion would there be if young people were taught how and why their sex organs work? And how to put on a condom."
"And as far as priests marrying..."
"Good idea!" the Lord said. "Let them live with as many women as they can. Let them have sisters and girlfriends and wives. You can't minister to the whole flock if you are ignorant of the concerns of half of it. Bunch of old men trying to run everybody's lives. Shame on them."
"Still, we gave John Paul a fine room in heaven, Lord."
"Yes, we did. But we made him watch the election of his successor, that hard-line radical Cardinal Ratzinger. The one who hates totalitarianism so much that he fosters right-wing Catholicism, which is about as totalitarian as you can get."
"We had a chance to boogie this month too, Lord."
"Yes," the Lord said, smiling. "We had Johnnie Johnson pass through. Chuck Berry's piano player; the one he wrote 'Johnny B. Goode' about."
"The one whose royalties he ripped off, Lord."
"Yes, but we'll have a chance to rectify that once Berry gets up here," the Lord said. "In the meantime, Johnnie got to play with Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. A good jam can make up for a world of pain."
"And we had a great writer, Saul Bellow."
"Ah! What an ego! How many wives? How many children? How many prizes? But damn it all, the man can write!"
"It's what W.H. Auden said before you installed him in a special suite up here, Lord. 'Time, which is intolerant, of the brave and innocent, worships language and forgives all of those by whom it lives.' Or something like that."
"Bless Wystan," the Lord said. "Who says I don't like homosexuals?"
"And last, Andrea Dworkin. She caused quite a stir with her anti-pornography campaign. But you loved her, Lord."
"Yes, I love the troublemakers and the truth-speakers most of all. And Dworkin was right, in that special way humans have of being wrong when they are right. Sex is a wonderful, God-given thing, but pornography as practiced in America today truly does degrade women. When he arrives, Hugh Heffner will get quite an earful from me."
"Well, it all seems calm down there now, Lord. Care for a beer before Jerry Falwell arrives?"
"A beer! Brilliant!"
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.