One day, while waiting for a client to arrive for a lunch meeting in an upscale Italian restaurant, a man with few teeth came up to me and tried to press a smiley face card into my hand and to tell me all about how Jesus saved his life. Another client who is in the beauty pageant business strutting little girls in skimpy clothing across the stage to win prizes regularly rages about Christianity in its “purest” form and fornication.
Fornication is the favorite F word in the morality rant of the loudly religious conservative. According to them, fornication and President Obama are ruining the world. Fornication, as I think I understand their reference, is when someone other than themselves engages in sexual intimacy for purposes other than procreation – you know – fuckin’ because it feels so good. For the life of me I don’t know why they choose to discuss fornication with me as though it were something wrong. They all know from being my clients and having read all my adventure stories that fornication is to me the greatest thing ever created, next to true love of course and home grown tomatoes.
Several of my more righteous clientele have told me that I need to change my ways, which is strange because the reason I am representing most of them is that they are charged with dishonesty/investment fraud or trying to get out of contracts they signed. The righteous somehow believe that because they are who and what they are, the rules applicable to other people should not bind them as well. I have the odd feeling that if I can save their businesses they would be perfectly willing to look the other way about my lust life over these many years. Living the righteous albeit judgmental life and working hard brought many of them wealth which was then too much temptation for their wives to run off with some other man. As for their daughters, they were already rather promiscuous before I met them, and I don’t want to share fluids with any of them. In a few instances these guys already knew their wives were running around and had come to terms that permitted and enabled that so long as the expense associated with divorce could be avoided. In the end we are all, saint and sinner alike, more concerned about the economics than anything else. Therefore it could be said that a righteous and a sinful preference for sound economics is the common denominator between saint and sinner.
Fornication 26 Righteousness 3 (Final Score)
I have lived near the buckle of the Bible Belt for over 40 years. Although my law and business practice takes me all over the United States, you would be amazed at how pervasive serious poseurs and pretenders to religiosity are. While they may be more densely congregated in the Southland, you meet them on planes and in office buildings and especially in court rooms all over the country. While in law school I was chosen to be a delegate to the Michigan Republican convention that nominated George Romney for governor. My group was rather extremely conservative and populated with the horniest women I had ever seen assembled under one roof. I am certain that I was selected so that they could have convention week in a Detroit hotel with a young law student with whom they could have their way. I am sure that during that week I found myself in bed with at least one grandmother and a few faculty wives. University faculty are far more promiscuous than anyone ever thinks.
I have found a rather reliable indicator of someone being a scoundrel to be his tendency to refer to God or Jesus in the course of conducting his business. Robert Allan Stanford, our local arch thief who scammed billions in an enormous Ponzi racket had emblazoned on the front entrance to the Stanford Financial offices “This company is established for the glory of God”. When people use religion as a shovel they are just about always ready to steal the boogers out of a dead man’s nose. Similar characteristics abound amongst those who like to display eagle pictures and sculptures and other eagle references prominently about their offices.
The reason this seems to work so frequently is that we are taught to revere God and Jesus, that these are the most respectable icons of our civilization and our culture. To be sure, many of us are cynical enough to shun people who use these references in their commercial dealings, but you would be amazed at how often people are taken in by an appearance – albeit entirely phony – of what is called Godliness. In Saint Mark’s Gospel Jesus is said to have admonished us to pray privately and quietly and to have warned that public displays of religiosity are the mark of the hypocrite. When we forget that message we are fair game for religious poseurs out to rob us blind.
On the other hand, one must be well versed in the Bible to deal with the habits of people to use references to Gospel as the basis of authority for their various legal, moral and religious positions that are so openly discussed in so many settings. If you decide to challenge them, you need to be better than they are at it. An opposing counsel once told a jury that I was nailing his client to the cross just like “they did to our savior”. My response to that was “There were three people on the cross that day. Two of them were thieves.”
Just how do you spot them? They are not all obvious heavily panting exhorters.
For one thing there is the pseudo Christian “look”. That assumed expression is adopted whenever they believe they are in the presence of someone who may not see things as they do, and they lack supporting authority for whatever it is they are trying to sell at that moment. That is frequently followed by some uncheckable reference to the Bible or The Lord or to something called Christian values. There really are Christian values, but most who refer to them have skewed notions of what they are.
The look has more than one format. Format one is a smarmy grin of condescending superiority, nose slightly in the air, sometimes with arms crossed or hands clasped as if in prayer – a gesticulation calculated to inform you that they are blessed in some truly special way to which the likes of you would never have access. The grin may morph into a sly smile as they inform you that they understand your limitations and are willing to share with you their monopoly on grace so that you may have the privilege of agreeing with them. Format two is a look of indignation, an amazed impatience that you with your extraordinary limitations seem to have the effrontery to take issue with divinely revealed truths. This is beyond the “Well bless his little heart” look and tsk, tsk sound that they normally reserve for occasions when they see a small child with palsy trying to eat an ice cream cone. Here you may get nothing more than a “Well I never….” comment before being consigned to the darkest regions of social or professional hell.
One must develop special coping skills if he is not to be browbeaten into submission by these folks. Normal folks who seldom encounter utter rejection by their betters react in an aggressive manner and begin stuttering or mumbling incoherently – which is exactly what these folks are trying to get you to do. If they can get you off guard you are toast in this encounter and merely leave in emotional defeat filled with hatred of the righteous as well as the righteous sounding. How do you train yourself to deal with these situations?
Think of it as the Ranger school of social interaction, in which you are regularly confronted with unforeseen dangerous social emergencies and have to have instantaneous effective reaction capability so that your nemesis is himself set back on his heels and it is he who is sent scurrying off in search of cover and escape.
Your instant ability to cross reference distant texts in the Bible that seem upon hearing to provide a veritable fabric of divine will should stultify the asshole. The texts need not even be in the Bible because these folks only pretend to Bible knowledge. They don’t actually have any familiarity with it or recall on the subject beyond the sermon they may have heard last Sunday. One should at first parry with something that sounds like it may have come from proverbs, a collection of sloganistic witticisms useful in the teaching of made up pseudo quotes. It doesn’t actually have to be a quote from proverbs.
You need to be able to visualize the circumstances to which you want to reduce this jerk, a goal you may never actually achieve, but nevertheless something to strive toward. The situation you seek to place him in is similar to that of the phony White House preacher Ted Haggard who was caught with another gentleman inserted into his asshole in a parking garage on L Street just off Connecticut Avenue about a half mile from the White House, or to Jimmy Swaggart, a Dixie preacher caught with a poxed whore in the back of a car on Airport Road in New Orleans. When no one would believe he was trying to save her, he just fell apart and melted into crocodile tears of feigned contrition, or to the Nebraska Congressman caught in the airport men’s room in Minneapolis trying to pick up a police detective. You want to strike them down with a divine thunderbolt of ultimate destructive power.
For this you need the right equipment and it must be ready for instant deployment on a no notice basis, an automatic reaction that you will have difficulty practicing without giving offense to your friends. It will be better if you train using party games in which the winner gets a prize for making up the most outrageous imaginary “quote” from the Bible. That will be excellent drill practice without giving offense. Everyone will think it hilarious and you will gradually build up your own compendium of aggressive retorts that sound like they have just come from the mouth of God her own self. Sidebar fun will come from the fact that in every such group there is some anal compulsive person who desperately tries to find these phony quotes in his pocket Bible that he carries everywhere.
You will get to the point at which you can start your attack with some real quote that some whack job can actually find in his King James. He will announce to all present that you really do know your Bible and from then on everything you say about it will be accepted instantly by everyone in the room.
Questions can also be used to put down some poseur. Christ is said to have delivered a “Sermon On The Mount” consisting mainly of parables coupled with admonitions to go out and do good – blessed are the poor – the meek shall inherit the earth and things like that. When someone gives you that opening you should ask him whether those were all in The Sermon On The Mount or rather just a collections of things attributed to Him said at different times and under various circumstances. He will not know that this is an ongoing theological subject of discussion that seminary students wrestle with in class, and so he will be the one stuttering and getting flustered and ducking for cover. WHACK! That is the reaction you are looking for.
When you become really adept at whacking these frauds you will be able to snow everyone in the room with all sorts of esoteric questions that they will not be able to respond to in any credible manner. For example, asking any phony if he knows what is prefigured by the tree of life from which Eve took fruit that she fed to Adam should enable you to look condescendingly at almost anyone who thought he was going to set himself up as the conversational grand panjandrum of religiosity regarding any secular subject of relevance that day.
You will also be able to establish Jesus as the consummate ecumenist with a single breath by alluding to John’s Gospel. Follow that with how Jesus defined Himself and you will be thought of as some probably defrocked former priest caught fondling little boys at choir practice. Where else would you have acquired such knowledge and spontaneity?
For starters I suggest you look for a chance to look accusingly at the asshole who is pontificating and get him to react to just the look and start justifying himself. Then you whip out the beautiful quip, referring to him, and say “The guilty flee when none pursue”. I learned that one from a friend of mine in Alabama with a wonderful sense of humor. It says to everyone that this guy has just revealed himself to be an intellectual charlatan by trying to justify himself when no one said anything to him that challenged what he said. Learn this expression. You will be able to use it often if you stay alert. Then start making up your own proverbs sounding epithets. Do some homework. Read Proverbs and in your mind rewrite a few to make them funny and appropriate in many social settings. The more you do this the more fun you will have. I guarantee it.
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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