I have to admit I had a good laugh at Glenn Beck’s freakout the other day over Obama’s recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Obama was apparently asked to recite Lincoln’s original draft, aka the “Nicolay Version,” which did not contain the words “under God” — and predictably the right wing pundits went nuts. Glenn Beck predictably shouted that Obama intentionally left the phrase out because, in Beck’s words, “The man has an issue with God,” and “he is changing our history, he is changing our traditions.”
Ah, well, if only it were true. Imposition of religious belief by one faction on or via the nation’s government is a travesty of huge proportion, and those who do so demand are, indeed, the ones engaged in the apparent never-ending process of “changing our history, . . . changing our traditions.” And yes, it’s a widespread truism that a great many Americans (myself among them) do indeed have “an issue with God,” and would really appreciate it if believers would simply agree to practice their beliefs to their hearts’ content — in their homes, their churches — and graciously allow the rest of us the privilege of practicing that which WE care to believe with similar freedom, all with no dogmatic imposition — via any official permission or authority — of any theological premise on the citizenry entire. Period.
In any case, Beck’s freakout based on his vapid thesis that Obama has “an issue with God,” reminded me of something I wrote many years ago, a poem which essentially defined MY “issue with God” in the context of efforts by so many to impose their narrow view on the expansive view of so many. So. Just for today, I dedicate the following to Glenn Beck and all other right wing nutcases who can’t comprende any potential reality that lies elsewhere than in the (scant!) gray matter implicit between the ears of the insufferably narrow minded! Hi Glenn!
THE GODMAN AND THE SKEPTIC
Dedicated to Creationists everywhere
And their adversaries
A godman and a skeptic met
To promulgate their views,
With godman’s premise, Genesis,
And skeptic’s, more the muse.
“God made the heavens and the Earth!”
The passioned godman says,
“And, furthermore, He did all this,
In only seven days!”
“But whence came God?” the skeptic asked,
With some temerity,
The godman said, “Don’t question that,
For such is blasphemy! “
The skeptic glowered for a time,
Then asked, “How old’s the Earth?”
“Six thousand years!” the godman said,
“Including day of birth!
“With firmaments united, then,
The Earth was paradise,
Where beasts and fields, and finally men,
Enjoyed all without vice!
“And God made Adam first, then Eve,
Who were, as you shall see,
Progenitors of all mankind,
Of all humanity!
“For from their loins came many sons,
Who married, then produced,
Our father’s father’s ancestors,
As, biblically, deduced!
“Thus, all the Earth is born of God!
And man’s the child of Eve!
So, lie thee down in prostrate form
And hail the Lord! Believe!”
Then godman smiled, smug, and secure
His theses were correct,
For Genesis came straight from God,
In veritas, direct.
“Oh, I believe,” the skeptic said,
“Though not the way you think,
From what I’ve heard, the Universe
Arrived in just a wink.
“A coalescing, then a flash,
And galaxies were cleaved
From ether, dust, and energy,
If science be believed.
“Five billion years, or ten, or twelve
Had passed, when life arrived,
And finally men, though not like us,
From lower forms derived.
“And, furthermore, a question, sir,
About the sons of Eve,
Whence came the daughters, for her sons,
Mankind, therefrom, conceived?”
The godman cringed and raised his hand
Toward heaven, in disgust,
“If those are your beliefs, my friend,
You’ll burn in hell, please trust.
“For God, I know, has no rapport
With those who pray to see
The wisdom He withholds from men
For all eternity.”
“Your last remark makes little sense,”
Said skeptic, feigning dread,
“If you are asking we believe
God deems our brains be dead.
“For, if somewhere in endless space
A Creator exists
Who gave us minds to seek out truth,
Then why should we resist?”
The godman’s face showed beads of sweat,
He offered no reply,
He simply stared toward heaven’ s void
As wispy clouds rolled by.
May heathen burn, the godman prayed,
They’re evil, stubborn men,
And Lord, as why you sent them here?
Well, that’s beyond my ken.
Perhaps to try me, for a time,
Before I’m laid to rest?
Convert some souls to heaven’s song?
Yes, likely that’s my test.
But sure it is now’s not the time
To use the Holy See
As evidence, Your true intent,
Thy Word’s inerrancy.
Then godman turned toward skeptic, sad,
This man, his nemesis,
Would not accept such grand design,
God’ s apotheosis.
“We’ll meet again, my wayward friend,
By then, perhaps, you’ll learn,
That only through the Word of God,
In hell’s fire, you won’t burn!”
“I doubt it, sir,” the skeptic said,
“For you’ve confirmed my choice,
That words beyond the biblical
Can speak with reasoned voice.
“And, too, you see, I have no need
To live in metaphor,
I’d rather seek, expand my mind,
Maintain an open door.
“To blindly mimic premises
Is not what God has deemed;
It seems more likely He mandates
That light, from dark, be gleaned,
“And so, my friend, while I suggest
That your beliefs you keep,
Accept your God views men as lambs,
Though not, I think, as sheep.”
Then skeptic turned and walked away,
Face bent as if to smile,
Safe Genesis was put to bed,
If but for just awhile.
OPEN THREAD; DISCUSS, FREAKOUT, WHATEVER