Friday, October 21, 2005

Confirm This

I had a dream last night...and told it to my identical cousin, Todd, and he wrote it up as a No Shame piece. I share it with you here.

Confirm This
By Todd Wm. Ristau (Copyright 2005, all rights reserved)

(lights up on GEORGE BUSH, standing at a podium.)

BUSH: There’s been, uh, a lot of chatter…whispering…guessing about my nomination of Harriet…People in congress saying she isn’t smart enough to be a supreme court justice…that she’s promised people things…that she’s just getting nominated because she’s the person who gives me legal advice…Let me put it this way, you think she isn’t qualified and I’m just paying back some favors. You people got a lot of nerve, you know that? I’m the President. I’m an important person and people all over the world recognize that, but you people think you can do better than me. You can’t. But, I prayed on it, and I talked to my closest personal advisor last night, and he urged me to withdraw Harriet Miers, and so, that’s what I’m doing. Not because I’m weak, but because I’m strong. I’m strong enough to know when to just listen to advice and when to actually take it. (pause) And so, I’m nominating someone you all already love. Or, if you don’t love him, you’d better start loving him, because if you don’t love him, you’re going to have a powerful want of air conditioning in the not too long from now. Heh..heh. (pause) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next Supreme Court justice of the United States… My best friend…Jesus.

(GEORGE BUSH walks off stage and JESUS CHRIST enters. A hundred flashbulbs go off. He sits at a long table, wearing a nice suit with a flag lapel pin. He is behind a microphone, pushes his hair to one side and addresses the Senate. Seated in the audience are five SENATORS, who speak without standing.)

JESUS: Thank you. Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished members of the Senate, I am ready for your questions.

SENATOR 1: Mister Christ—

JESUS: Senator, you can call me Jesus.

SENATOR 1: Mister Christ, we haven’t had a lot of time to review your record or your legal paper trail, but you are a public figure…and I have to say that some of what is in the public record is of great concern to some of us in the Senate and to our constituents.

JESUS: I understand. Please, feel free to ask any questions you might have. A lot of what a person says in their youth are but stones on the path which takes them to a mature understanding. I recognize there may be seeming contradictions and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.

SENATOR 1: I’d like to begin by asking you about your devotion to democracy.

JESUS: I’m sorry…is that a question?

SENATOR 1: I’ve looked through your speeches and writings and I can’t find a single mention of democracy or a discussion of individual freedoms in any of them.

JESUS: Senator, I have long used the terms King, King of Kings, and Kingdom of Heaven to illustrate a metaphoric point. If I had the chance to do it again, I believe I would replace that archaic terminology with President, President of Presidents, and Democracy of Heaven.

SENATOR 1: So you do believe in the democratic institutions which make this nation great?

JESUS: I think it is clear that God is in a tight campaign to win the popular vote in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation, and that the granting of free choice to humanity was a tacit affirmation of democratic principles--and the precious right of choice, even if one chooses to make bad choices.

(Jesus smiles, he thinks he scored points with the Senators)

SENATOR 1: So, you are pro-choice?

(Jesus looks nervous, murmurs among senators)

SENATOR 2: If the Senator will yield, I have some questions about the role of the judiciary.

SENATOR 1: I do so yield, but with the proviso that I may return to this important question.

SENATOR 2: Jesus, I have noted in your public speeches several instances of a predisposition toward mercy. If confirmed as a Justice of the Nation’s highest court, would you administer harsh punishment when warranted?

JESUS: The merciful will receive mercy.

SENATOR 2: That’s what you’ve said. My constituents are ardently in favor of the death penalty as both a punishment and a deterrent. We are very concerned about your having taken steps in the past to halt the legal execution of an adulteress.

JESUS: Senator, it is true that I halted that execution, however I’d like to point out that I later submitted to my own execution.

(Murmers of approval from all senators but #2)

SENATOR 2: But you were not guilty of the crime for which you were executed. Not only were you innocent of that crime but of any crime, and yet you paid the ultimate price for the false accusation! Doesn’t your very death therefore stand as an argument against death as a punishment?

(Jesus looks nervous, murmurs from the senators)

SENATOR 3: If the senator will yield—

SENATOR 2: I do so yield, but on the proviso—

SENATOR 3: Yes. Jesus, many of my constituents are hoping for a strict constructionist to sit on the bench. A judge who will interpret the constitution literally, as the founding fathers intended it, as they wrote it, and not legislate from the bench.

JESUS: George mentioned this to me.

SENATOR 3: You’ve said that not one jot of the law can be changed, and yet you have also been sharply criticized for taking a stand against being too strict in the interpretation of law…saying that love of the letter of the law blinds one to the spirit of the law. Which is your current position?

JESUS: Haven’t you read what David did when—

SENATOR 3: (confused) I’m sorry?

JESUS: When David went into the temple and ate the bread which only the priests were allowed—

SENATOR 3: I don’t think a parable is appropriate here. We are interested in specific answers to specific questions, not symbolic evasions. Please answer the question—are you, as a judge, there to interpret the law or to create the law?

JESUS: I am not the creator of the law, I am the fulfillment of the law.

(Senators look nervously at each other.)

SENATOR 4: Senator, if you will yield--

SENATOR 3: I do so yield.

SENATOR 4: I’m concerned about your position on privacy. I see here in one report that you have said “Nothing which is covered up will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Is this accurate?

JESUS: It is.

SENATOR 4: How can a government function—or even a private household—without an expectation of privacy?

JESUS: Where nothing is secret, there is no need of lies.

(Nervous murmurs among senators)

SENATOR 1: Jesus, I notice in your “teachings” that you seem to have a bias against wealth and those who have it. Something about a camel and a needle, and if you would be perfect, sell everything you have, including your home, and give everything to the poor.

JESUS: Well, let me explain about that…

SENATOR 4: Is it your position that the only perfect people are the impoverished and homeless are to be exalted above the owners of property?

JESUS: I was illustrating, perhaps with hyperbole, that the things of this world can blind you to spiritual truths.

SENATOR 3: (with a chuckle) So, you’re saying that if confirmed you will forgo a salary?

JESUS: Is receiving something without sacrifice a satisfactory illustration of justice? Or of value?

SENATOR 4: The senate will ask the questions, Jesus, and you will confine yourself to answers.

SENATOR 5: Jesus, you sound to me like a communist. Frankly, some of us find that very disturbing. America is founded on the principle of a free-market economy and in an era where welfare reform is perhaps the single most import issues facing us, it is alarming that a nominee for the Supreme Court should be on record as having said that everyone should give to anyone who begs of them whatever is asked of them.

JESUS: Poverty issues are very important to me.

SENATOR 5: Yes, that much is clear. Are you, Jesus, anti-wealth?

JESUS: I do not conspire against wealth. It is wealth that conspires against you.

(Murmurs among the senators)

SENATOR 1: Jesus, as you know, this is a nation at war.

JESUS: I’ve talked with the President about that a lot.

SENATOR 1: Yes, and frankly, some of the quotes attributed to you have us very concerned about how you would rule in matters directly pertaining to the execution of that war and the fundamental doctrines of –

JESUS: The senator is talking about Pre-emption.

SENATOR 2: Yes…you’ve said: “Don’t resist one who is evil” and advocated turning the other cheek if struck. You have cautioned against vengeance.

JESUS: (slightly evasive) The whole “love your enemies” thing has been blown out of proportion, and as the President has tried to convince me, the issue of turning your cheek after being struck is only an issue if you allow yourself to be struck in the first place. I would advocate not being struck. Taking steps to avoid being struck before the striking occurs.

SENATOR 3: Is that the same as saying “strike or be stricken”? Or are you talking about appeasement?

(Jesus looks nervous again, fiddles with the flag on his lapel, senators murmur)

SENATOR 2: Jesus, as a nominee to one of three branches of government…I’m concerned about the extent of your personal relationship with the President and how that might compromise the separation of powers. Will you continue to have private conversations with the president if confirmed?

JESUS: Yes. I will talk to anyone who talks to me. I’d talk to you, too, if you called out to me, no matter what time or what subject.

(Murmurs)

SENATOR 4: Could you describe the nature of your conversations with the President? Have you ever discussed matters of policy, the execution of the War on Terror, or matters which might come before the judiciary? Is your role that of an advisor or a confidant?

JESUS: When we talk, he mostly does all the talking. He listens…very selectively. When I advised him that if your enemy hungers, to feed him; that if he thirsts, you should give him drink, and that by doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head….I think he just heard the coals of fire on his head part.

SENATOR 5: I see. You do not believe in pre-emptive acts of warfare, or in taking just retribution for violent acts against the state. You think the rich are imperiled by their wealth and should give it away to anyone too lazy to work but with enough gall to ask for it…You think anyone who asks to be forgiven should be forgiven— no matter what their crime…You are soft on crime because you think its better for your soul to have your wealth stolen from you than it is to “hoard” it….You are a pacifist of the Peace at any Cost school of thought…and you're inconsistent....you say you come not to bring peace on earth but to bring a sword and then you turn around and say blessed are the peacemakers. It's outrageous and insulting.

JESUS: Senator, I think you are misrepresenting—

SENATOR 5: I’m just trying to get a clear picture of your underlying philosophy and I’m not sure I like what I’m hearing.

JESUS: Senator, it boils down to this. I think that if you can help, you should help. I think that loving your enemies includes not killing them. I believe that you cannot over come evil with evil but only with good. And I think that there is no crime which can not be forgiven if forgiveness is honestly sought.

SENATOR 1: Thank you, Jesus…You’ve been very cooperative.

(Long pause…Jesus stares up sorrowfully at the audience.)

JESUS: You think I’m too liberal to be on the Court, don’t you?

SENATORS: (in unison) We’ll be in touch.

(Lights out. End)



For further reading:

14 Comments:

Blogger R said...

Okay can I just tell you how weird it is that we wrote similar (Well, the format and subject matter) blogs? It's in the air. Yours however puts mine to shame. That is exactly how those Pharisees would treat Christ himself. Here is mine:

http://theunitedamerican.blogs.com/bring_it_on/

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Archie and Todd, that was 'effing brilliant - if it's okay, I'd like to pass the link onto others - is that cool?

I've also posted up a new piece on me dojo called "Hey, What's That Guy Doin' In A Dress?" it's about actors and playwrights - check it out when you get a chance -

www.playwrightjoshuajames.com/dailydojo/

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just so off the wall. I think he got a little carried away with this.

I think there's too much overkill with this nonsense. Nobody is forcing religion on anyone.

The fear that people have is alot of this neocon right wing stuff that hasn't affected my life in any way,shape of form. What do you want Catholics to be treated here like they are in the Middle East?
Now there's a spread of hate if I've ever seen it.
VET

1:41 PM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Vet, you missed the point.

It isn't a piece about forcing religion on anyone, it is about the religious hypocrisy of the Radical Right.

They expect to be judged favorably by Jesus when they die, but I'm pretty sure they'd find him to big a liberal to sit in the same room with for 20 minutes.

That's what the piece is about.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but to think t's about that because I hear of it often.
VET

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Actually Vet, I take issue with your comment that religion is being forced upon no one - that's not true, and if you were not a christian you would know.

I'm a buddhist and I can attest that Christianity is forced up me in countless ways, from the pledge of allegence to the President's many speeches about god to the use of a bible in courtrooms everywhere.

On our money it says "In God We Trust".

Non-christians are fed this every day. It's not fair but it is was it is - freedom of religion, true freedom, hasn't yet been fully realized here in the US. I hope someday it will.

It's unfortunate but true that, to hold office, you have to be Christian or at least pretend real good like the guy in office now. On the other hand, he really isn't pretending that well, either, is he?

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,now we're supposed to change our money? I appreciate what you are saying Joshua,but are we supposed to change the history of our country now? How about in countries where Buddism is practiced,do they change their customs to suit all religions?
VET

6:36 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What I find interesting about this country is that many non-Christians are trying to eliminate religion from every aspect public life.

I've seen so many news stories about a non-Christian person trying to ban the Pledge of Allegiance because of the word "God". I've seen news stories about people trying to prevent team prayers before a high school sporting event. I think it's just getting out of hand. No one says that non-Christians have to participate in any of these practices. I would feel the same for any type of organized public prayer or ceremony, Hindu, Jewish, Islam, or Buddhist. Freedom of religion is a wonderful gift in this country.

America was founded on freedom of religion. So why is it now necessary to eliminate any religious practice from the public because some people may be offended?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Melissa,

Have you stopped to consider that "all these stories" are actually only one story about a single case, but are grabbed and repeated ad nauseum by the right wing news sources and talk radio who want to gin up support for their position by trying to scare you into thinking that the only thing Democrats want to do is kill God?

It is as preposterous as the letter sent out in West Virginia saying that if Kerry was elected he would ban the bible.

Or how about the town in Michigan that was outraged by the "call to Prayer" for muslims and wanted to ban it, but didn't see how the ringing of their own church bells was analogous.

Also...Don't you think that prayers at a sporting event are weird anyway? Unless you are praying that no one will get hurt in this competetive sport that encourages people to behave in a non-Christian way...I mean, show me the passages in the bible where Jesus advocated competition, or played any sports at all.

I just think it is really odd the way people don't think open practice of religion in the public arena should offend anyone as much as public practice of liberalism or homosexuality does.

Would you feel the same way about freedom of religion if people wanted to have a satanic blessing before a football game?

Or a druidic blessing with ritual slaughter of a white ox under mistletoe?

Or less hyperbolic, how about a muslim prayer? Remember the lawmakers who walked out of the Washington House of Representives during an Imam's blessing?

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/04/prayer.walkout.ap/

And every day I hear Neal Boortz tell me that the world won't be safe until Islam is eliminated from the face of the earth.

The entire wold would be a lot better off if people practiced their religion instead of trying to legislate it.

But you've got a right to your opinion, and thanks for posting it here. You might not convince me, and I might not convince you...but talking to each other is always better than the other options.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archie-Are you comparing santanism with religion? A little bit reaching if you ask me.

Not that I am against homosexuality but to display with have naked people in a parade is offensive. So they need to express themselves because they've been surpessed? Heterosexual or homosexual,I'd rather not see people slobbering all over each other in public.

I also don't think how publc prayer can be offensive to anyone. It's not for the purpose of forcing it upon anyone. It's a tradition and I am sorry if you disagree with the following statement but why do we have to keep changing to suit others. It never did anyone any harm until a few people started making waves.
VET

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Vet,

Are money changes anyway, we just got new ten dollar bills - you bet, if it's wrong and unconstitutional, we should change it.

You're the one who stated that no one is forcing christianity upon anyone. I disagree.

I'm not saying that we should forget our history - but just because something was done long ago doesn't mean we should do it today - slavery is a part of our history, are you saving that because it is our history we should practice it today (and a lot of folks use that as an excuse to hang a confederate flag, which is a symbol of slavery) and enslave people?

I've been to buddhist countrie and no one who is a non-buddhist is forced to participate in buddhist things - unlike here.

Did you know that the words "Under God" were added to the pledge of allegenicne in the fifties by Ike to differentiate the US from the "godless commies"? the words "under god" were not meant by our forefathers to be a part of the pledge of allegiance - where's are sense of history with that.

Listen, what a person believes is personal and private and it should stay that way, not be legislated by our government, which is is now.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous joshua said...

Public prayer is offensive to me, especially before a game or government function, because it's saying that this is a club we belong to and if you don't believe as we do, you do not belong.

Imagine the same thing being said about skin color. That's how it feels.

Also -

Satanism is a religion, according to many sources, most of them christian - it's just not an acceptable religion. What's your definition of religion? Belief in an afterlife? Satanists believe in that, they even believe in god, they simply choose not to follow that path.

I don't believe in god and don't believe in satan, so it's simple to me. I think both are wrong. But it seems a bit strange to say one is a belief system and the other is not.

What you believe is a belief system. A belief system is a religion. Whether you agree it's right or wrong, that's up to you.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

Greg Saunders posted a similar thread, reprinted on This Mondern World today:

http://thismodernworld.com/2443

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a sense of wonder here. IF expanded without expoundign or exposutlation, it would be a movie or play - a great one. Miracle on 42nd street, Mr. Deeds, and Drinkwater's Lincoln all rolled into one.
Technical: a senator today would refer to terrorists, not communists, as an epithet, now that Thurmond is dead.
Scene: If you had several senators who espoused Jesus' cause in terms of the nomination, but for their own agenda, that would add a lot. Then throw in imitable versions of those lesser than life folks: Byrd with his mock-southern senator routine stole from the fictional Claghorn, Hruska with his sophistries ("even Medocrity needs representation on the Supreme Court), etc.
Great play -- continue.

9:10 AM  

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