|"Christians, they're horrible."|
In the bright of the day the silhouette of a small unkempt figure in robes stood. The figure stepped forward into the and the congregation observed his stature and his olive complexion, they wondered if he escaped from a mental health facility, some wondered what was up with this homeless bum interrupting their worship, could he be a terrorist.
"Shalom! I have returned to proclaim the word of my father. Hypocrites among you hear my words. You have prayed for my return and I am come." There was anger in his voice and a scowl on his face.
A parishioner in the front row stood to challenge the interloper "Who are you, and why do you interrupt our service so abruptly? Take a seat, quietly and let us worship, or go away and leave us in peace!".
As the figure stepped forward he rose above the floor, "I do not come to worship myself, I am why you say you come to this place, take a seat and hear your lord or be gone from this place."
With that the parishioner return to his seat, and the mood of the congregation changed to awe, but Elder Bergson felt a chill run down his spine.
"Anyone, here working for Inland Revenue, foreign exchange services, Barclay's, HSBC, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers? You should leave now."
As the stranger approached the alter, he turned and seeing no one had moved, the scowl returned to his face, he reached into his robe and pulled out a bull whip. "Don't make me ask again!" Two from the congregation stood and headed for the open doorway. The stranger cracked the whip, and three more parishioners lept from their seats as if they had been poked by a cattle prod. The stranger called to them "Tax Collector! Loans Manager! Rate fixer! Be gone with you." and with that, seven more made their way toward the door way.
"Elder Bergson, Tell me now the ten commandments", Bergson stammered "D-d-d-don't lie, steal, or kill, no adultery, aaah, aaah....".
"And you foolishly call yourself a man of my fathers word! My Papa could not have been clearer, thou shalt not keep graven images, so what the fuck is up with that," the stranger pointed to the stained glass window. "... and that!" he pointed to the a statue of Mary in the corner of the chapel. He turned to face the alter, he trembled, a hint of fear was replaced by rage "In the name of my dad, What the fuck is that" as he pointed to the 8m crucifix with a 6m Jesus. "Who's fucking side are you people on? You call yourself Christians?! Roman-pagan freaks, more like! Three Fucking days, I put myself through that so you would knock that fucking shit off! "He turned to face the congregation "What is wrong with you people, are you all insane?!" Many in the congregation had flicked their crucifixes out from under their shirts and blouses. "Oh for fuck's sake! Why have you forsaken me? You look at images of me on the cross and 'wonder how could a man suffer so much and forgive?' I look at you and wonder how see that and two decades shy of two millennia still be such complete dicks tolerating famine and baying for war and torture?"
"And Bergson, what is your message to today, "tithe and receive", bullpucky! Every week they fill buckets with money and what are you doing with it? A mansion sized home fit for a bankster, Lear jet, summer home in the Bahamas. I have here your church's bank statements, $2 billion in the black. What do you do for the poor? You look down on them call them lazy and drive your politicians to take from them what little they have. Judge not lest ye be judged! I'm judging, you grasping lazy fucks!" He pulls a Check-book from his sleeve and holds flat in his hand and brings down his other hand with a clap the check-book vanishes. "Doctors Without Borders, Charity Water, Responsible Charity, Atheists Helping the Homeless, and the International Humanist Ethical Union would like to thank you all for generously donating $400 million to each of them."
"Listen to this ..." said the stranger. Bergson's voice drifts across the chapel, it is his sermon from the previous week "... Superstorm Sandy is God's judgement for all sexual preversion, with all gays and gay enablers pushing the gay agenda, demanding gay marriage as a human right, and what about God's rights? Leviticus, Judges and Deuteronomy makes it clear God ain't into that he's gonna damn people for their preversion." The stranger spoke "Really?! You people applaud stupid nonsense like that? how stupid can you been you be?!" The stranger takes a moment to calm him self "Eric Richards and Robert Walters, step up to the alter." The two men rise from the seats and step forward and stand before the stranger. The stranger puts away his bull-whip and reaches around Eric's waist, embraces him, bends him backwards and slaps a big kiss on him. The stranger turns to Robert embraces him and gives him a big French kiss. "Hmmm-mmm, Daddy made you boy's just right, lets begin. WE ARE GATHER NOW BEFORE THE SIGHT OF ME, TO JOIN THESE TWO MEN IS HOLY MATRIMONY. IF ANYONE CAN SHOW JUST CAUSE WHY THESE TWO MEN SHOULD NOT BE MARRIED SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE."
Elder Phelps, an octogenarian, rose slowly to his feet and proclaimed "But they are men!". The stranger glared at Phelps, who suddenly felt uncomfortably warm, he started sweating, pulling on his collar, he pulled down his tie. Steam rose from him, his skin turned red and blistered, smoke emanated from his shoes, suddenly the smoke flashed into flames that engulfed Phelps as he screamed like a girl and vanished leaving only a pile of ashes. The stranger addressed the congregation "Next?!" and paused. "Great! We're on the same page." He turned to Eric "Do you, Eric James Richards, freely give yourself to Robert to love, care for and cherish as long as you both shall live?" Eric turns to Robert "I do." The stranger turns to Robert "Do you, Robert Andrew Walters, freely give yourself to Eric to love, care for and cherish as long as you both shall live?" Robert faces Eric, Grins "I do."
The stranger pronounces to the congregation "I now pronounce Eric and Robert man and husband." He claps and between his hands appears a sign marriage licence and certificate which he offers to Robert. "Here boys, you'll be needing these. YOU MAY KISS YOUR HUSBAND!" While they embrace and kiss, the stranger continues "Lets hear it for these two lovely boys", The silence from the congregation is deafening, "Boys, you may return to your seats, or go on honeymoon, either way you go with my blessing. And before dawn, shag six ways from today and have fun! You ain't seen anything until you've seen the hero parades we have back home. but I'd don't want to see you there for sometime yet." Eric and Robert return to the pews. "I want to hear rousing applause!" said the stranger, a timid few clap not too loud, "Really?! Is that the best you have this is a happy moment, two among your family have found love, Celebrate it." Luke warm applause comes from most of the congregation. The stranger is moved to offer a sarcastic "Why do I bother? You people are miserable".
"Jimmy Andre, please step forward", there is a rustling in pews, and a small boy emerges into the centre isle. "Fear not Jimmy, for I know your torment, I am here to fix it for ya." The boy steps up to the alter, the stranger pulls the microphone from the podium, and puts it in the boys hands. "Tell me about the special blessings from Elder Kerridge, you those ones after Sunday school."
The boy bows his head and coughs "Um, er ah. When the other boys and girls go home after Sunday school, Bishop and I go to the rectory for ice cream and biscuits. Sometimes he gives his special blessing, I don't like it tastes funny and kinda salty. I feel so guilty when he takes his belt off, I know a blessing is a good thing but I don't like it." The stranger lays his hand on the boys shoulder "It is OK, Jimmy. You may go to your mama now." Jimmy gives the stranger the microphone then turns and runs to the pews. "DO NOT SPURN HIM FOR HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH" bellowed the stranger, as the boy was embraced by his family.
Senior Elder Edwards "How did the Bishop come to this community?" Edwards squirms in his seat "He was a transfer." The Stranger glared and demanded "What motivated that transfer?" Edwards is now sweating "There were rumours about inappropriate behaviour with children, but it was settled they made counselling available and he was moved away." The strangers face shows rage not yet seen "Does it look settled now?!" Edwards enthusiastically raises his hand and says "We can move him again!" The strangers fury peaks as Edwards feels fevered and sweating, hooking his collar, steam rising, shoes smoking, and flash over leaving only a pile of ashes and tans on his neighbours faces.
The stranger claps, and two police officers appear beside the bishop. "How did we get here?" The stranger answers the sergeant "That is not important what is important is that you now arrest the man seated between you. You will also find his kiddy porn stash in the trunk of your patrol car."
"Senior Elder Browne, your job is to defrock, disconnect, dis-fellowship and report to civil authority all kiddy fuckers, be diligent, see how I dealt with Edwards, don't piss me off!"
Two claps from the stranger and Carl Sagan and Christopher Hitchens appear. "Behold, two of my best friends. Do not vilify them or their friends for their doubt, they had good reason to doubt me, I worked very hard to make sure of it. And now that I've revealed the trick we're all good. They spoke truth as they saw it, they sought out facts as best they could and for their efforts they were rewarded with a greater truth than can be gained from credulously sponging up the ramblings of avaricious fools behind the pulpit." The stranger glares at Elder Bergson. "The universe doesn't give a shit, and after two thousand years of watching you apes fuck things up for each other I don't give a shit any more either. I'm cancelling the second coming, you are all on your own now, fuck the lot of you, hypocrites!" A flash of white light fills the space of the chapel and the stranger has vanished.
Carl looks down at the chapel floor. "Who are you people and what have you done? He's never this pissy." Elder Bergson responds "We are the Episcopal Family Liberty Evangelical Foundation Church of Christ. We support family values and personal responsibility." Carl's quizzical expression gives way to a "I get it, step away from the crazy person" expression "Er yep, that'll do it, he hates it when people take his name in vein. He asked me to give you guys a few pointers, science is your friend, so stop under-funding it. Creationism is the poetry of a primitive culture and your adherence to it would be comical if it did not make you so stupid. Not my words, his. Set theory is no more evil than daisy chains in spring or the smell of a meadow after rain. If you don't screw things up the planet should be habitable for another billion years, so get cracking on exploration." With a wink and a flash of white light, Carl vanishes.
With only Hitchens remaining, Elder Bergson turns to Hitchens "What do we do now?" Hitchens smiles "You should give up the church, the house, and jet, a FEMA trailer will keep you suitably comfortable, others of you should pour your energy into combating carbon fuels and promoting clean energy sources. Some of you should seek to prosecute war criminals among your politicians. Some should donate time to charity. Some should work towards a guaranteed living wage even for those who work not for profit but for the good of society. Remember you're off the hook now he just doesn't care anymore, you have offended him with all you have done in is name you are now accountable only to yourselves and each other. You always were. And that is why he's pissed. He asked me to leave you a new gospel, he's now knows his mistake was that the last book was a bit wordy, so here it is." A flash of white light again fills the room. This time, Hitchens has gone, and four glowing words are burned into the wall of the chapel beside the alter "DON'T BE A DICK".