Hello, I’m Pastor Pillow!
First, bless you for your interest in auditioning for this season’s Cubic Zirconium Cathedral Ministries Live Nativity, which, as ever, features live camels and livestock—donkeys, sheep, goats, even a family of wandering hyrax—plus a laid-off construction worker and teen mother, and of course our original Frederick Hart acrylic manger. (Not to brag, but we have this precious artistic relic insured with Sotheby’s for $225,000.)
Just to think, some lucky CZC newbie mother will have the honor of placing her newborn bouncing baby boy in the Hart manger for the entire month of December! Not to worry, we have an entire team of Sunday School wet nurses on standby to provide succor for Baby Jesus. However, I can see by your application and, well, the condition of your, um, glands, that you’re not here to audition as a wet nurse. In fact, it says right here that you want to be either a magi or a shepherd. Is that so?
Well, unfortunately, we’ll have to cross off magi straightaway. Only parishioners who are hedge fund managers and/or NASDAQ Index C-suiters qualify for our annual We Three Kings of Orient Lottery—that is, unless you’ve recently come into a small fortune and are perhaps considering divesting yourself of said funds in order to increase the Prosperity Gospel heavenly bounty on earth.
No? Pity. Shepherd it is, then.
Okay, now that you’ve made it to Round Two, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a series of screening questions that are designed to guarantee the spiritual sanctity and, even more important, the safety of our divine dramatic diorama. We wouldn’t want you going off the hook with your shepherding crook, as it were.
Number one: Do you have any genealogical, cultural or religious ties to Syria, Turkish soccer fans, the Ottoman Empire, the Ptolemaic Dynasty, Assyria, the Hittite Empire, Scythians, Sufism, any ancient or aspiring Caliphates, Babylon, Iberian Islam, whirling dervishes, the Fatimids, Anwar Sadat, Sabra Hummus, King Tut, the Elamites, the Hurrians, Malcolm X, the Qatar Stars League, Donna Shalala, and/or generally any and all Mahommedans?
No? But what’s that? You once watched Lawrence of Arabia? Hmm. We’ll have to take that under consideration. By the way, just how do you explain that olive complexion of yours?
Oh please, like I haven’t heard that a thousand times. Sure, you’re of Latino descent. Isn’t everybody these days? Listen, I know an Arab when I see one. Or maybe you haven’t heard of Desi Arnaz and Sonia Sotomayor?
In the meantime, Question Two: Can you identify this foodstuff? Yes, indeed, it is baklava. Hmm. It would seem your dream of becoming a shepherd living in the fields watching over your flocks by night is dwindling. Your ties to radicalized Islam are rather glaring, don’t you think?
Okay, final question: Let’s say a family of four—husband, wife, young son and daughter—finds itself wedged between a slaughtering, mass-murdering dictator and a maniacal sect of delusional religious fanatics? Do you (a) extend all the courtesies of Civilization toward them and swing wide the doors of refuge, (b) invite the family over for Thanksgiving Dinner because you’re almost positive you can convert them to Evangelical capitalism before they’re finished with their second helpings of mashed potatoes, or (c) place a copy of American Sniper in their hands, bid the Lord bless and keep them, and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide them to a DVD player in some other sucker democratic socialist land?
Your answer is C? Well, there may be a dramatic future for you yet! Now, if you’ll just hold still, one of our wet nurses in-training will hook you up to this electromyography machine so we can test your facial muscle reactions to various still shots from Aladdin. One can never be too sure.
Please open your hymnals to No. 33.5000° N, 36.3000° E.
Listen it don’t really matter to me, baby
You believe what you want to believe
You see you don’t have to live like a refugee
Here are five articles from the Christian Right Media over the past week that remind progressives of the critical need to show up at the polls on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, if ever we are to right the Good Ship Civilization:
5. “Russell Moore Takes on Donald Trump Over Muslim Comments” over at Charisma News
First and foremost, I align with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission about as often as Cancer and Uranus. (Speaking of which, here’s a PSA for colorectal screening.) But Evangelicals everywhere should take heed that even SBC Commission President Russell Moore considers Donald Trump a “saber-rattling,” would-be dictator.
Of course, the reasons why Moore & Co. come to the same conclusions as I do on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and certain anti-terrorism policies are more than a bit skewed. According to Moore, the idea of a government shutting down mosques is “the sort of power that can ultimately shut down evangelical churches.” Also, the Baptists “don’t want to demonize our mission field.”
Hmm. And here I thought we might want to provide refuge to the tired and poor just because that’s what Jesus would do. I didn’t realize it was in order to increase trophy success odds during missionary hunting season.
4. “Why Are There Only 53 Christians Among America’s 2,184 Syrian Refugees?” a la Christianity Today
Morgan Lee, President & CEO of World Relief, could not be plainer:
For 30 years, World Relief has partnered with local churches to resettle over 260,000 refugees to the United States and in addition since 1975, the United States has resettled more than 3 million refugees – three quarters of a million entered the U.S. in 2001 alone. During this time, there have been no recorded terrorists acts in the U.S. by a refugee. In fact, refugees are already the most vetted non-citizens in our country.
Folks, for three years, we have butted heads with the Christian Right Media on theology and social issues A to Z. Yet here is mainstream Evangelicalism twice in one week engaging in progressive commonsense on the Syrian Refugee crisis. (Gee, it almost makes you wonder whether Christianity Today is ready to jump onboard the progressive bandwagon and throw its masthead behind Bernie.)
p.s. Christianity Today, we both know there was no need for the clickbait title.
3. “Former Refugee Helps Teach America’s Thanksgiving Tradition” over at Christian Broadcasting Network
What’s the world coming to? Pat Robertson’s news rag is also promoting holiday outreach to refugees! Wait, what’s that, Gateway of Grace Ministries? You invite refugees to holiday celebrations in order to share the Christian message that accompanies the holiday?
Um, Native Americans everywhere are dying to know: what precisely is the Christian message of Thanksgiving? (Please no one say, “Black Friday.”) Also, Abe Lincoln’s “Proclamation of Thanksgiving” reads pretty universal to me. So how about we all just pig out on meat and mashed potatoes and Stove Top Stuffing and play video games and watch parades and football, and leave religion out of it this year?
2. “5 Questions to Ask About the Refugee Crisis” via The Christian Post
Aha! I knew pure theological ignorance was out there just waiting to be surfed. Pro-life attorney Kristi Burton Brown assures us that if we could only just evangelize the Muslims, they wouldn’t become terrorists in the first place. Also, let’s be sure to contribute funds to bigot Franklin Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse; that’ll do the trick.
Brown also pushes the conservative policy fib (in lockstep with the U.S. House this week) that there isn’t already a secure vetting process in place for refugees to enter the U.S. And here’s a humdinger quote for your Christian Right Media memory album:
If we were to allow Christians and Yazidis to come to the U.S. until we could develop a proper vetting system for Muslims, we would be rescuing the clear victims of genocide … the targeting of fellow Muslims probably does not fall under the international definition of genocide.
The only thing sacred about such misguided, barbaric thinking is “holy crap.”
Just remember, there’s a yummy holiday fruit cake of sticky fundamentalist hypocrisy waiting for us all once the saber-rattling refugee hysteria dies down and everything goes back to the well-oiled process already in place.
That’s a wrap!
And don’t forget! Pastor Pillow now makes national radio guest appearances on The Horn: The Head On Radio Network. Click to hear Pastor Pillow’s October 14 and November 11 tent revival segments with Brother Bob Kincaid. Pastor Pillow’s next Prayer Meetin’ Wednesday is December 9 at 6 p.m. ET. Mark your calendars and tune in!
Also, Human Beings Everywhere: Follow The Golden Rule.
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